The InterCHARM Beauty Expo Korea, a global cosmetics and beauty trade show, was held at the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul for three days from November 23. Co-hosted by Beauty Expo Korea and Eastern Europe’s largest cosmetics fair InterCHARM, the international trade event served as another bridgehead for Korean beauty products to advance to the world market. The 330 companies that participated in the fair caught the eyes of buyers with their unique materials and ideas. This week and next week, we’ll meet with companies that present a bright future for K-beauty. Today, we’ll introduce MEDIANS, a manufacturer of so-called cosmeceutical products. Let’s hear from company president Yun Gu-young.

The predecessor of MEDIANS is Histolab, which was launched in 2008. We changed the company name to MEDIANS in 2012. We’re making special cosmetics products, namely medical cosmetics. We’re highly confident about this area. At present, more than 10-thousand dermatology and plastic surgery clinics are using our skincare products. We believe countless medical doctors have verified the effectiveness and safety of our products.

The hot topic in the cosmetics industry these days is “cosmeceutical,” a mix of “cosmetics” and “pharmaceutical.” It refers to cosmetics that contain medically verified ingredients. With the air quality here affected by the fine dust problem, Korean consumers are looking for products that help reduce skin irritation. It therefore comes as little surprise that the cosmeceutical market is growing. The market in Korea is estimated to be worth 500 billion won, or about 450 million US dollars. It is forecast to be worth 1.2 trillion won or 1 billion dollars in Korea alone by the year 2020. MEDIANS is known as the frontrunner in this market, which is emerging as a new growth engine in the cosmetics industry.

Our main concept is plant stem cells. Located in the meristems of plants, the stem cells have the ability to regenerate cells. We apply this ability to our products. We obtained a patent on a special substance called SRGF, which stands for skin, regeneration, growth and factors. It is a complex of various factors that affect cellular reconstruction and soothing. When a person is hurt, for example, one of our products helps heal the wound and regenerate skin.

The company produces cosmetics based on plant stem cells, which are similar to human stem cells. They contain growth factors to restore the weakened functions and help form new cells. But plant stem cells cannot be used directly as cosmetics. Those extracted from plants are cultivated, stabilized, filtered, frozen and dried before being made into the cosmetics ingredient. The company has invested a lot in research and development in order to contain the infinite cell-regenerative power of plants in its cosmetics. In 2009, it released a product with plant stem cell extracts. In 2014, it developed a composite that includes a complex of growth factors and new peptide. With the patented composite, the company introduced a new concept of “scientific skincare.”

The most distinctive part of our products is to generate the maximum effect of combining cosmetics and skincare equipment. This part has received an enthusiastic response from many Korean doctors. For example, a vitamin C infusing device opens pores to allow cosmetics ingredients to penetrate into the skin. Another device is designed to remove dead skin cells so the ingredients can permeate into the skin more easily.

The firm manufactures cosmetics to be applied on the face, but it also develops beauty equipment that helps cosmetics work more effectively and a management program that uses the equipment efficiently. More than 10-thousand clinics in Korea are using MEDIANS’ products, as they fully meet the needs of doctors. When the company was launched, it hired a group of dermatologists who have taken part in the entire process from product development to performance verification and safety tests. That’s why MEDIANS is called a genuine “cosmeceutical” company. It is also drawing attention from overseas as well.

We have exported products to the U.S. and Canada since we first signed an export contract with Russia in 2014. Now, our products are shipped to 25 countries across the world, including most countries in Southeast Asia. We have confirmed that our products clearly stay competitive in the world market. We’re confident that MEDIANS will grow as a global brand if we continue to highlight our distinguishing features.

MEDIANS is approaching the world market with four different brands. “Histolab” is a brand of cosmetics that are mainly supplied to hospitals and clinics, and “Proud Mary” is a homecare version of Histolab. Also, the company has the aesthetics cosmetics brand called “Ahohaw” and the scalp treatment brand, “Histemo.” Thanks to its unique ingredients and technology, the company is aggressively expanding into new markets overseas. The company is focusing on China, in particular.

China is recognized by everyone as the largest market in the world. We set up a branch in Shanghai last year. Local skincare clinics prefer our products, and more importantly, they badly want to learn our technology and system. So we have created training institutes in 20 Chinese provinces to provide training to local people who are working in the skincare industry and to nurture them as experts. Last year, 500 people completed the training course. I’m sure they will play a role in smoothing the progress of our successful advancement into China.

Currently, MEDIANS is operating academies in 20 provinces in China to offer training in product and beauty equipment management. The company is planting the seeds in the Chinese cosmeceutical market, which grows 20 to 30 percent each year. We’re looking forward to the rich fruit that the company will bear.