Sunscreen Beauty in Joseon Dynasty: A Comprehensive Guide

The Joseon Dynasty, which ruled Korea from 1392 to 1910, was a period of significant cultural, artistic, and scientific advancements. One area that saw notable progress was skincare and beauty practices. Among the various skincare routines, the use of sunscreen held a prominent place, showcasing the dynasty’s forward-thinking approach towards skincare and protection from the sun’s harmful rays. This article aims to delve into the fascinating world of sunscreen beauty in Joseon, providing a detailed account of the techniques, ingredients, and cultural significance associated with this practice.

I. Historical Context of Skincare in Joseon Dynasty

A. Influence of Confucianism on Beauty Practices

  • Confucian ideals of balance and harmony in physical appearance
  • Importance of maintaining healthy skin and complexion

B. Cultural Significance of Fair Skin

  • Pale skin as a symbol of aristocracy and refinement
  • Association of fair complexion with good health and virtue

II. Natural Ingredients in Joseon Sunscreens

A. Introduction of Herbal Medicine

  • Integration of traditional medicine into skincare practices
  • Healing properties of herbal ingredients

B. Key Ingredients in Sunscreen Formulations

  1. Gugija (Wolfberry)
    • Antioxidant-rich properties for protection against UV damage
    • Nourishing benefits for the skin
  2. Sanghwang (Phellinus linteus)
    • Anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties
    • Immune-boosting effects for skin health
  3. Sinsuncho (Panax ginseng)
    • Energizing and revitalizing properties
    • Enhancing skin resilience against environmental stressors
  4. Oils from Flora and Fauna
    • Jojoba oil, sesame oil, and other natural oils for moisturization and sun protection

III. Preparation and Application Techniques

A. Traditional Methods of Sunscreen Production

  • Extraction and blending of herbal ingredients
  • Fermentation processes for potency and efficacy

B. Application Rituals

  • Delicate application with brushes or fingers
  • Incorporation into daily skincare routine

IV. Sunscreen Beauty Beyond Aesthetic Considerations

A. Medicinal Properties and Health Benefits

  • Protection against UV radiation and prevention of sunburns
  • Soothing effects on irritated skin and alleviation of skin conditions

B. Cultural Symbolism and Social Implications

  • Expression of one’s social status and adherence to cultural norms
  • The evolution of sunscreen beauty as a reflection of changing societal values

V. Legacy and Modern Interpretations

A. Influence on Contemporary Skincare

  • Incorporation of traditional ingredients in modern formulations
  • Continuation of Joseon-inspired beauty practices in South Korea

B. Rediscovery of Joseon Sunscreen Beauty

  • Resurgence of interest in historical skincare practices
  • Influence on global beauty trends and skincare routines


The sunscreen beauty practices of the Joseon Dynasty offer a captivating glimpse into the rich history of skincare and beauty in Korea. Rooted in Confucian ideals and influenced by the healing properties of natural ingredients, these practices continue to shape modern skincare routines. The legacy of Joseon sunscreen beauty serves as a testament to the dynasty’s innovative approach to self-care, leaving an indelible mark on the world of beauty and skincare that endures to this day.






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