Here’s Why This Ingredient Belongs In Your Skincare Routine

Ingredient Spotlight


A lot of focus gets placed on super buzzy, innovative skincare products and ingredients – and for legit reason. We’ve got the whole retinoid fam with its anti-aging and skin-clearing prowess, have harnessed the power of skin-repairing ingredients like ceramides and niacinamide, and there’s an entire world of highly effective in-office treatments at our fingertips. Basically, we’re living in the golden age of beauty, and times are good. 

That said, sometimes “older” ingredients tend to sit just outside of the spotlight as their showy new friends take center stage. Today, we’re shifting the attention to ginseng, an OG goodie that’s totally worthy of main character energy. 

The Skincare Benefits of Ginseng 

Ginseng skincareSource: Shutterstock

Ginseng in skincare dates all the way back to 1500s Korea and remains a staple in many K-Beauty products all these hundreds of years later. It’s actually a root/tuber, similar to a carrot or potato but TBH, way cuter. (Fun fact: The English translation of the word ginseng is “person-root” because it looks like a person!) 

Ginseng has some pretty impressive antioxidant properties, notes board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. This means it can help shield against free radical damage, which is responsible for signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, laxity, and hyperpigmentation. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help calm your skin and create an overall more healthy and vibrant complexion. 

via Giphy

Dr. Camp adds, “In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, ginseng root extract is thought to have anti-melanogenic abilities that help treat discoloration.” In other words, it can help keep your complexion more even. Scientific studies have also found that ginseng can help improve skin elasticity. Best of all, this ingredient is approved for pretty much everyone. 

“Ginseng can be used by all skin types, even those with sensitive skin, given its potential role in helping to reduce inflammation,” notes Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist. “Overall, it is considered gentle on the skin and can be incorporated into various products, including cleansers, serums, moisturizers, toners, and more.” 

6 Top Tier Ginseng Skincare Products to Try 

If you’ve yet to slather this old-school hero, we’re happy to acquaint you with some amazing goodies. We’re shouting out some of our fave #worthit ginseng skincare products, including a few recco’s from the dermatologist we spoke with. 

1. Beauty Of Joseon Dynasty Cream, $24

1-Beauty-Of-Joseon-Dynasty-CreamSource: Beauty Of Joseon

“This cream helps to nourish and moisturize the skin using key ingredients like ginseng and rice water to moisturize and brighten the skin, along with squalane, niacinamide, and ceramides,” notes Dr. Garshick. “Together, this combination of ingredients can work on even those with sensitive skin as it supports the skin barrier and brightens the skin.”

2. Chogongjin Geumsul Jin Toner, $45

2-Chogongjin-Geumsul-Jin-TonerSource: Chogongjin

If you’re not yet familiar with Chogongjin, it’s a newish K-Beauty brand that’s part of the same family as Missha and A’pieu (two giants in the K-Beauty space). The brand’s entire line is centered around red ginseng, and you really can’t go wrong with any of the products in the lineup. We’re hyping up the liquid-y toner, though, since it’s a great way to set the stage for the rest of your skincare routine.

3. Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream, $75

3-Kiehls-Pure-Vitality-Skin-Renewing-CreamSource: Kiehl’s

Kiehl’s has a bit of history under its belt, so no doubt the brand has had time to jump on the ginseng train. “This cream contains manuka honey in addition to red ginseng root extract, which together can help to strengthen the skin barrier while also reducing dullness of the skin,” says Dr. Garshick.

4. I’m From Ginseng Serum, $29

4-Im-From-Ginseng-SerumSource: I’m From Ginseng

There’s a reason this silky serum is a best-seller at Soko Glam, which is dedicated to all things K-Beauty. The formula contains 8% six-year-old red ginseng sap to rejuvenate and protect your skin alongside hyaluronic acid to instantly plump and hydrate.

5. Peach & Lily Ginseng Berry Eye Mask, $30 

5-Peach-&-Lily-Ginseng-Berry-Eye-MaskSource: Peach & Lily

In addition to white ginseng, these hydrating eye patches from Peach & Lily are made with brightening licorice, wild yam, horsetail plant, and kigelia fruit extracts. They instantly soothe your skin, plump up little fine lines, nix dehydration, and can help brighten your complexion, too. 

6. Origins GinZing Into the Glow Brightening Serum, $46

6-Origins-GinZing-Into-the-Glow-Brightening-SerumSource: Origins

For an extra potent vitamin C serum option, turn to this showstopper. “This serum includes ginseng along with caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C to brighten skin and provide intense hydration,” says Dr. Camp. 

K-Beauty fan? We’ve got a handful of amazing K-Beauty skincare goodies that don’t cost a penny over $5. (Nope, we didn’t drop the 0!)

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.