Used traditionally in Korean Hanbang medicine, Korean Mugwort has seen a growth in popularity as a powerful skincare ingredient in recent years. We explore its origins and what makes it such an essential ingredient for treating sensitive and acne prone skin.
Recent years have seen the Korean Mugwort (쑥, ssuk ), known by its scientific name, Artemisia Princeps, grow in popularity as a key ingredient in skincare products coming from South Korea. But what exactly is Mugwort and what skincare benefits does this “swiss army knife” of weeds bring to your skincare cabinet here in Singapore? Read on to find out more!
The name Mugwort is actually used to refer to a family of flowering plants commonly found across the northern hemisphere. Used for centuries in different cultures in cuisines, herbal preparations, traditional medicines and even as a talisman to ward off evil spirits, the humble Mugwort plays an important role in our everyday lives whether we know it or not.
While there are various species of Mugwort that grow throughout the Northern hemisphere, we are most interested in the Korean Mugwort, also known as yomogi in Japan. It is used for generations in North Asia as a herb in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine, skincare products and cooking. In fact, if you’ve been to South Korea for a holiday then it is likely that you have already seen it, if not eaten it!
Known as a warming ingredient, it is burnt in moxibustion (a traditional herbal treatment where Mugwort is burnt over a pressure point to stimulate blood circulation) in many countries across Asia, it is also used in herbal baths to help soothe and relax. If you have been to a Korean bathhouse or Jjimjilbang (찜질방), then you probably have soaked in a tub of hot water infused with this humble plant.
As you can see, Mugwort is extremely common. It grows wild almost everywhere and it is not an uncommon sight to see Korean halmeonis foraging for Mugwort by the hillsides or the running tracks by the rivers, collecting this herb for their rice cakes, hot pots and side dishes.
The Miracle Mugwort In Skincare
Korean Mugwort listed as “Artemisia” has actually been used for a while now in skincare preparations. It is, however, growing in popularity as the main active ingredient in many skincare products. Specifically, Mugwort has grown popular in skincare products to help soothe and treat sensitive and acne prone skin.
Korean Mugwort is also rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants that help nourish and protect the skin barrier. This coupled with the calming effects of Mugwort is why it has steadily grown in popularity as the skincare ingredient of choice for those suffering from acne and/or sensitive skin!
While Mugwort or Artemisia Extract is present in many kbeauty products today, there are some products that have made Mugwort the hero ingredient in them. If you struggle with sensitive and acne prone skin, then here are two products that you might want to try out:
01 Selenus Artemisia Calming Us Toner
Calm irritated skin with this refreshing and hydrating toner from Selenus which contains its signature Ganghwa Artemisia, also known as Mugwort. This skin-strengthening toner, which has anti-inflammatory properties, helps heal skin sensitivities and acne, while Vitamin E provides additional soothing and brightening benefits.
02 Spot Saver Mugwort Powder Wash
This award winning powdered enzyme cleanser contains Mugwort, Papain and Dead Sea Salt to help gently exfoliate and cleanse your pores. Ideal for sensitive skin where exfoliation can cause adverse reactions, this cleanser was formulated to be gentle and skin pH neutral. Mugwort extract soothes and calms the skin and the Papain helps prevent or reduce inflammation as the Dead Sea Salt gently exfoliates making these 25 individual packs of skin goodness a must have in any skincare cabinet.
03 Real Mugwort Clay Mask
Formulated from 6 different types of clay, this gentle exfoliating wash-off mask will help remove excess sebum, micro dust and dead skin cells, helping clear your pores and minimise the chances of nasty breakouts. Fortified with Ganhwa Medicinal Mugwort and other botanical extracts, this moisturising and soothing wash-off mask will protect skin irritated by environmental factors and is ideal for sensitive and acne prone skin.
04 Selenus Artemisia Calming Us Ampoule
A gentle yet powerful ampoule that effectively soothes sensitive skin and improves the skin’s barrier function. Containing a high concentration of premium Ganghwa Artemisia or Mugwort, this ampoule from Selenus purifies pores and balances the skin’s sebum production and prevents acne breakouts. Further formulated with antioxidant rich ingredients, this lightweight and fast absorbing ampoule protects the skin against oxidative stress.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for relevancy, accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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About the writer
Stacy Liu, an American-born Chinese, is the beauty editor at Asian Beauty X obsessively writing about new beauty launches, the best hair products, and the skincare formulas that really work for every skin type.