Yoon-ah debuted with the South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation in August 2007. Also known as SNSD, they earned the nickname “The Nation’s Girl Group” in their home country due to their achievements and popularity. In 2016, Yoon-ah released her debut Chinese mini-album titled Blossom. In 2017, Girls’ Generation was honored as the top K-pop girl group of the past decade by Billboard. In 2019, Yoon-ah dropped her first Korean extended play called A Walk to Remember, which debuted at number three on the Gaon Albums Chart.

Yoon-ah bagged her first leading role in the 2008 KBS2 family drama You’re My Destiny, which won her several acting citations, including Best New Actress at the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2010, she received the Baeksang Most Popular Actress trophy for MBC’s Cinderella Man. In 2012, she was paired with Jang Geun-seok in the popular KBS2 series Love Rain, where she played dual roles. She the starred in the KBS2 romantic comedy Prime Minister and I, which won her an Excellence Award at the KBS Drama Awards. In 2017, she made her film debut in the action film Confidential Assignment, which scored her numerous recognitions. That same year, she was nominated for a Top Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards for the sageuk The King Loves. In 2019, she acted alongside Jo Jung-seok in the disaster action-comedy film Exit, which earned her Best Actress nominations at the 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards and the 25th Chunsa Film Art Awards.

Yoon-ah majored in theater studies at Dongguk University. She previously dated actor Lee Seung-gi.