Snob Essentials

Skin Care Tips for Asians from Skin Care Expert, Renée Rouleau


 Internationally acclaimed film star, Kelly Lin

Guest Blog by Celebrity Skincare Expert Renée Rouleau

Tina and I met in the late 1990’s when she started coming to me for facials to keep her skin clear, smooth and glowing–and after all these years, she hasn’t aged a bit! I’ve worked with many Asian clients throughout the years and the distinctions between Asian skin and Caucasian skin are numerous.

The most notable differences include:

– Excessive melanin contributes to a yellow color

-Increased pigmentation results in age spots, freckles and hyperpigmentation

-Thicker skin makes for fewer lines and wrinkles (Asian women do have beautiful skin!)

But for many Asian women, anti-aging is about transforming skin into a lighter, whiter shade, which is why China, Japan and Korea are big markets for skin whitening products, they also use other treatments such as microneedling. There, a light, fair skin tone is most desirable and is deeply rooted in the culture. Umbrellas are often used on sunny days to protect skin from discoloration, and sunscreen and the use of whitening products (formulated to suppress melanin activity to lighten brown spots) are faithfully applied.

Most Asian American women aren’t as focused on having whiter skin; rather, they want their skin to look its best–especially to avoid developing brown spots.

How to Maintain Even Skin Tone

Avoid Smoking: Smoking causes cells to be starved of oxygen which results in dull, sallow, tired-looking skin. This will only add to the already yellow undertones of Asian skin.

Eat High-Antioxidant Foods: These fruits will give the skin anti-aging–from inside out:

· Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants to slow down the aging process.

· Dark skinned grapes provide more than 20 age-defying antioxidants.

· Citrus Fruits (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits) are all loaded with Vitamin C, the primary defense for anti-aging.

· Cantaloupe supplies as much Vitamin A and C most people need in an entire day when one quarter of this delicious melon is eaten.

Get Regular Facials: Facials offer many benefits, but the three that most help Asian skin is the circulation-boosting effects (to keep the skin glowing), the exfoliation (to discourage brown spots from forming) and the skin brightening (to help lighten and fade skin discoloration).


Wear Sunscreen Daily: Hands down, the best way to prevent premature skin aging and lessen the development of brown spots is to wear a sunscreen moisturizer 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out. Be sure to apply it to the neck and exposed chest too. Look for formulas with micronized Zinc Oxide (like Renée Rouleau Daily Protection SPF 30) so it won’t leave a white-ish cast on the skin like those with Titanium Dioxide can.


Use a Skin Lightening Product: Because the skin is prone to discoloration, using a natural skin-lightening product daily under sunscreen can help prevent and fade stubborn brown spots. Vitamin C, particularly Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (found in Renée Rouleau Vitamin C&E Complex) which is extremely popular in Japan, is excellent for suppressing melanin activity, while being extremely gentle on sensitive Asian skin. Since discoloration comes out from heat and UV light, it’s best used every morning under sunscreen.

Keep the Skin Cool: Over-heated skin, from UV sunlight and even from exercise, will raise the temperature in the skin resulting in increased melanin activity. It’s important to keep the skin cool as much as possible. Post-workout, apply a cooling gel-based mask. This helps to instantly cool and calm the skin and prevent discoloration from forming.

Exfoliate Regularly, but Gently: There’s no better way to keep Asian skin looking smooth, healthy and even-toned than with exfoliation products.

There are several ways to safely and gently exfoliate the skin:

Facial Scrubs – Asian skin can be sensitive so it’s best to avoid using facial scrubs containing apricot kernels, walnut husks or other natural grains. They have sharp edges and can scratch and lacerate the skin causing skin irritation. Instead, look for facial scrubs using polyethylene or micro beadlets that will gently roll across the skin.

Glycolic Acid Serums- These are considered chemical exfoliants because when applied to the skin and left on overnight, they chemically dissolve dry skin cells. These are nice because there is little effort required – you put it on under moisturizer and go to sleep. Note: Glycolic acid products should only be used at night and for seven nights on, seven nights off and repeat. To prevent over-exfoliation and skin sensitivity, they should not be used every night.


At-Home Skin Peels – To give your skin a boost of exfoliation, above and beyond facial scrubs and glycolic acid serums, at-home skin peels are ideal for giving your skin amazing skin-smoothing results. Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel is extremely popular but there are other good ones out there.

Follow these expert skin care tips and you’re sure to keep your skin looking beautiful and glowing!

Renée Rouleau is a trusted skin care expert and celebrity esthetician who has been helping men, women and teens attain healthy, glowing skin for more than 20 years. Her exclusive skin care product line is based on nine skin types and has a loyal following of celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Katie Cassidy and Kara DioGuardi.



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  1. Hi Renee! Thanks for the fabulous tips. As an Asian woman I am faced with all of the skincare issues you described. Can you recommend a skincare expert in San Francisco or Marin who knows how to treat Asian skin. Any suggestions are appreciated. Best,


  2. I love this blog but cannot for the life of me understand this guest blogger’s perspective (well, I can; I guess I don’t like it)! How one can speak of Asian skin as IF: 1) WHITE skin is the Holy Grail (uh, it’s NOT, see, e.g., New Beauty’s Summer 2010 “Skin Color Determines How You Will Age,” pp. 154-163; it’s not perfect; however, it’s MUCH better than this!), 2) melanin is “excessive” (if it, what, doesn’t result in anything darker than a white(r) complexion?), and 3) Asian women desires to skin whiten have no race- or class-based history, it just IS. WTF?

    I know this is a beauty blog; however, I cannot stand this subtle ignorance (or whatever it is).

    It’s offensive (and I’m not Asian)!

  3. As an asian woman i can say that this article is not racist in anyway. Perhaps a better choice of word is “pale” skin rather than “white” skin. a lot of people misinterpret this trend mainly because of the use of word “white”, which they interpret as “caucasian”, when really it is just a descriptor of shade, like pale or dark.

    Pale skin has been coveted in Asia since BEFORE Marco Polo’s arrival. It has NOTHING to do with asian women wanting to looking Caucasian. That would be like suggesting that the reason a caucasian woman tans herself is because she wants to look more asian/hispanic/african, which we all know is not her motive.

    One of the reasons pale skin is so desired in asia is because it is sometimes a symbol of status. the higher class/richer people have paler skin because they do not have to labour outside like lower class merchants/farmers/construction workers, etc. Beyond that, i suppose people just want what they don’t have, darker women want to be paler and paler women want to be darker/tanned.

  4. Hi Vere

    Julie is right, in most Asian cultures– paleness is considered the ultimate social and beauty status but me, I love a great (fake) tan!

    I’m Chinese and I can tell you that from birth I was told “white skin will hide ugliness” (terrible saying in Chinese!). I love being bronzed (via powders and spray on tan!) but often get chastised by my grandmother for being “too dark”.

    I loved Renee’s tips and asked her to guest blog because skin pigmentation issues are a huge problem for many Asians.

    Thank you for speaking out though,

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  6. Will there be skin tips for other skin tones?

    Since the owners are of Asian origin these tips make sense and I’m sure are helpful to many but please don’t leave out other ethnic groups.