Of the many acne treatments available in South Korea – countless lasers, in-office exfoliating peels, and Skin Botox, included – the country’s innovative beauty products are the easiest for us to access stateside. Korean skin care places an emphasis on treating zits gently without drying them out. (The latter approach may be what you’re used to here in America.)Best Korean Skin Care Products For Oily Acne Prone Skin.
In fact, when I was in Korea pre-pandemic in 2020, I asked dermatologist Cho Yun Joo what’s the number one piece of advice she has for people battling breakouts, and “moisture, lots of moisture,” was her immediate answer.
Lim Ee Seok, the head dermatologist at Seoul’s Thema Dermatologic Clinic, shared similar sentiments with me. Typically in the U.S., the oil buildup on skin is usually focused on first instead of the fact that you probably just have dry or sensitive skin, and your complexion is trying to balance itself out.
Address inflammation is also key, according to dermatologist Shin Hae Won at Oracle, major dermatology and skin-care clinic in Seoul. Seeking out soothing ingredients like cica, allantoin, and niacinamide will help calm redness while clearing up your complexion.
With all this in mind, we gathered up the Korean acne products editors from Allure and Allure Korea swear by, as well as dermatologists.
All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Here Are Some Best Korean Skin Care Products For Oily Acne Prone Skin
Medicube Zero Foam Cleanser
Not only are Allure editors in New York City fans of the Medicube Zero Foam Cleanser, but so are our peers in Seoul. Allure Korea beauty editor Minji Kim says its rich lather rinses away grime and bacteria on skin while maintaining its natural balance of oil and moisture.
Innisfree Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask 2X
The volcanic ash sourced straight from Korea’s Jeju Island in the Innisfree Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask 2X helps stave off oil and absorbs impurities deep in your pores. The rinse-off mask is also rich in sulfur, which is not only an anti-inflammatory but also antibacterial.
Banila Co Clean It Zero Pore Clarifying Foam Cleanser
From the makers of Korea’s best-selling cleansing balm is the Banila Co Clean It Zero Pore Clarifying Foam Cleanser. With a gentle-yet-effective combination of AHAs, BHAs, and LHAs that Allure Korea editors swear by, the acid-spiked face wash sweeps away dead skin cells to keeps pores from clogging and skin from breaking out.
Dr.G Red Blemish Clear Soothing Toner
Quell your breakout’s anger by patting on the Dr.G Red Blemish Clear Soothing Toner. Aloe and cica help calm irritated sensitive skin while salicylic acid, naturally derived from willow bark, wipes it clean of any dirt or makeup left on your face. This Allure Korea Best of Beauty Award winner won hearts with its water-like consistency and the way it leaves skin oh-so-smooth. It also packs redness-reducing niacinamide, which is “a vitamin B3 derivative that helps revitalize, firm, and smooth skin and minimize the appearance of large pores,” according to New York City board-certified dermatologist Howard Sobel.
Neogen A-Clear Soothing Essence Pad
After cleansing, swipe on a Neogen A-Clear Soothing Essence Pad, as suggested by Allure’s senior commerce writer Sarah Han. Soaked in a power duo of salicylic acid and allantoin, neither breakouts nor irritation stand a chance with these cotton rounds incorporated in your routine.
Mediheal Tea Tree Essential Blemish Control Mask
The Mediheal Tea Tree Essential Blemish Control Mask is so popular in Seoul that it even counts members of BTS as fans. In the U.S., New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Y. Claire Chang reaches for it to help hydrate, calm, and exfoliate her skin with its hefty dose of antimicrobial tea tree oil, pore-unclogging willow bark, aka salicylic acid, and brightening ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, which is a vitamin C derivative.
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The beauty of Joseon Glow Serum
The star of the Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum is the beloved K-beauty ingredient propolis. For those unfamiliar with it, propolis is a glue-like mixture that bees produce by mixing their own enzymes from saliva and beeswax, and botanical exudate. Like honey, it touts antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Michella Oré, a beauty assistant for Allure, can attest to this. She says the serum has helped her tame inflammation while giving her complexion a boost of radiance.
Cosrx One Step Original Clear Pads
Another pick from Chang: the Cosrx One Step Original Clear Pads. Willow bark extract acts as a natural exfoliant to leave skin smoother and clearer, she says. Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, a hyaluronic acid derivative, ensure your skin stays hydrated and plump in the process. In a pinch, try pressing the pads onto your problem areas for a couple of minutes in the place of a full-faced sheet mask.
Aprilskin Real Carrot Serum
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Carrot may not be your first ingredient that comes to mind for fighting acne, but the ultra-lightweight Aprilskin Real Carrot Serum puts the orange root vegetable’s beta-carotene into action to smooth skin. Our bodies naturally convert it into vitamin A, too, which we all know is also the main component of retinol. Fascinating, right?
Dr. Jart+ Teatreement Moisturizer
Tea tree oil comes into play once again with Chang’s favorite face cream for acne: the Dr. Jart+ Teatreement Moisturizer. Its gel consistency quickly absorbs into skin without any stickiness or greasiness left behind. Plus, green tea extract and aloe vera join the party to further calm, nourish, and protect your exasperated complexion.
Cosrx Master Patch Intensive
One of Allure editors’ favorite K-beauty brands brought its beloved Acne Pimple Master Patch up several notches with the Cosrx Master Patch Intensive. These ultra-thin acne stickers are barely noticeable on skin and fit onto the contours of your face seamlessly with their unique oval shape. Plus, they’re infused with tea tree oil, so the patches absorb all the gunk from your pimple while saturating it in the antimicrobial ingredient.
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