Skin Care and the Quest for Eternal Youth

It seems like every day, new skin care products hit the market: lotions, serums, collagen boosters, light therapy, at-home lasers — potions and procedures designed to coax our skin into peeling and healing, plumping and renewing. Their promise: wrinkle-free faces, poreless, dewy skin, and an eternally youthful glow.

But there’s no one magic bullet to flawless skin. And what is this chase really about?

On this episode, we get into the science of skin care, looking at what works, what doesn’t, and what dermatologists have to say about the latest frontiers in our quest for eternal youth. We hear stories about a new treatment that uses stem cells to rejuvenate skin, some shady aspects of the Botox business, and why K-beauty has taken global skin care by storm.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

We talk with Janiene Luke, a dermatologist at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California, about common skin concerns — from wrinkles to dryness to discoloration — along with what actually works (and doesn’t) to treat them. Luke gives skin care advice on her Instagram and TikTok.
When NPR’s Elise Hu first moved to Seoul, she noticed something striking — the faces. Flawless and dewy, they beamed from skyscrapers and subway stations — monuments to one of South Korea’s most popular exports: skin care. Hu explains what exactly “K beauty” is, the cultural factors that have led to its dominance, and what it says about social pressures on women. Hu’s upcoming book is called “Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K Beauty Capital.” We’ll post a longer version of our interview when the book is out — follow our podcast so you won’t miss it!

  • August 4, 2023
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