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Su:m 37 Secret Programming Essence

March 16, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments
I love it when members of the Truth In Aging community write to me with suggestions of products I should try and I was especially pleased to get my first Korean skincare tip, the Su:m 37 line. Intrigued, I decided to buy a bottle of Su:m 37 Secret Programming Essence and ended up learning more about mold and bacteria than I ever thought I’d need to. Not to mention compost.

For those of you, like me, who had never heard of Su:m, here is a bit of background. It was launched in 2007 by the LG Household Corporation (they are better known in Korea as an electronics company that makes mobile phones and television) as a high-end premium line. From what I can tell, it is intended to rival SKll.

Su:m’s schtick is that it uses plant extracts that have been fermented. The story goes that  Su:m plant extracts are fermented for 3 years, using a technique developed in Japan that involves temperatures of 37°C (hence the name Su:m 37) for 1102 days, whist having music (genre not specified) played to them. Although this seemed phenomenally silly, I decided to check up on fermenting plant extracts and see if there is anything to it.

Turns out there is. I found at least one study comparing fermented and non-fermented plant extracts, concluding the fermented extracts were less cytotoxic and better anti-inflammatories.

Now the thing about fermenting is that it requires mold or bacteria and so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the first ingredient (after water) Su:m 37 Secret Programming Essence is mold (aspergillus). It seems a little gross though. The second ingredient is a bacteria, lactobacillus. I was extremely relieved to find that it is a “friendly” one that typically lives in the human gut and converts milk into yogurt.

There are a couple more fermenting agents and then there is a long (very long) list of botanical extracts. You won’t find the ingredients list for Su:m 37 Secret Programming Serum online and the one printed on the box is in miniscule type. There is everything from papaya, to garlic to horsetail. There’s even cabbage, although I guess its technically sauerkraut since the third ingredient, pediococcus, is the bacteria that ferments cabbage to become the dish that is served alongside a bratwurst and washed down with beer. This was beginning to be more than a little surreal.

If you don’t think about any of this, Su:m 37 Secret Programming Essence is actually rather pleasant to use. It is a lightweight serum with a nice texture and smell. Whether it diminishes wrinkles and improves skin tone remains to be seen

But I have been thinking about it and am suddenly struck that mold and plants are basically compost.

Now if Su:m 37 can market compost as fermented plant extracts that have been listening to music for three years and then charge nearly $200 for it, Secret Programming Essence deserves to given a chance in my view.

Su:m 37 Secret Programming Serum is about $190, but can be found on eBay and other online sites for less than $100.
  • October 13, 2012

    by hagit

    Hey I'm from Israel and I purchased the products of su: m37 Secret Programming Essence but I do not know when I have to assign all the lotion and cream.
    skin resettung softening emulsion when to apply it?
    resettung refining skin toner when to apply it?
    Secret Programming Essence 80ml when to apply it and for what?
    If you can help me please.

  • November 1, 2011

    by ceg

    Thanks for explaning the ingredients. I guess I won't try this, cause I'm allergic to mold.

  • June 25, 2011

    by Truth In Aging reviews su:m 37 secret programming essence | Hope in a Blog

    [...]   Hop on to see the western take on the Su:m 37 Essence review… here! [...]

  • March 21, 2011

    by A S-J

    and it can also be found here, in plain text.

  • March 21, 2011

    by hopeinablog

    great that you loved it!

    The ingredient list is here!

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