We’re taught to “love the skin we’re in” and when it comes to our actual skin, it’s no wonder why: our skin is, quite simply, incredible.
As our largest organ, it covers everything on our bodies, helps to regulate our temperature, protects us from the elements and allows us to feel sensations, like the suffocating heat of a dry desert or the extreme cold of a moisture-less mountain range.
Then again, we know our skin is as sensitive as it is tough. A cold, wintry day can cause it to feel dry and rough, too much sun exposure can leave us redder than a lobster and a muggy, humid day (or an intense Bikram yoga class) can be enough to cause a sudden outbreak of spots.
So, aren’t you a little curious to know how much our skin can really withstand, in the most extreme, hazardous and trying conditions?
And no, a stormy London afternoon is not what we mean by extreme here.
Japanese beauty brand SK-II has teamed up with National Geographic on a series of videos named “Face the Wild, Face the Camera”, where the skincare line challenged four style icons from across the globe to explore some of the world’s most stunning – and extreme – corners of the Earth, all in the name of testing our skin’s limits.
Not only would these stylish ladies – who you’d more typically expect to see modelling in fashion glossies, looking hipper-than-hip in a street-style snap at fashion week or perfecting their red carpet hand-on-hip pose - be trekking through icy mountains and navigating through sulfurous volcanic fumes, they’d also see how their skin fared in such harsh environments.
Their adventurous climbs and treks would culminate in a photo shoot, set against the majestic beauty of their extreme landscape, and using SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence to refresh their skin after it had been put through serious havoc.
The series of vignettes stars Italian blogger and fashion icon Chiara Ferragni, who ditches her signature eye print glitter flats in favour of hiking boots for an escapade which sees her rambling and climbing through the scorching Anza-Borrego desert in southern California, where she battles dehydration, dry heat and dizziness.
Another video features South Korean actress and professional boxer Lee Si Young, who ventures to the gorgeous-yet-treacherous Ijen volcano in Indonesia, an active volcano surrounded by toxic, sulfurous fumes.
The videos also feature award-winning Japanese actress Kasumi Arimura, who explores the rainforest of Yanbaru, Okinawa in Japan, where extreme heat wreaks havoc on the skin and body, as well as Chinese actress Nini, who journeys to the frozen and moisture-less mountains of Northern China, facing sub-zero temperatures and a climb in arid conditions.
The celebrities are joined by National Geographic Explorer Hannah Reyes, who documents the diverse ecosystems of the picturesque-yet-challenging environments, commenting on the history and geography of her surroundings.
Amazingly – and with a bit of help from SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence – Ferragni is as radiant as ever when it comes time for her shoot, as proved by the footage above.
SK-II brings the power of Pitera, a fermented yeast ingredient which contains amino acids, minerals and vitamins to keep skin looking refreshed, rejuvenated, soft and smooth, to all of its skincare saviours. In the 1970s, SK-II scientists saw how supple and youthful the hands of aged sake brewers were, inspiring them to use the ingredient in their products. And the rest is history. And gorgeous skin. #inpartnershipwithskii