Your Glowing Journey to Korean Skincare for Acne

Acne is the most common skin condition in the world, and you’re probably suffering from it right now. Not fun. Thankfully, there are lots of Korean skincare products available to treat acne, and most of them are cheap too!

There are many factors that can cause acne to appear on your skin. Issues such as stress, poor diet and pollution can all contribute to the severity of your acne. In addition to these external factors, genetics can also play a role in the amount of acne you experience.

If you have been struggling with stubborn acne breakouts, you may be considering trying Korean skincare for acne. I started my K-beauty journey a year ago, and boy was it so worth it!

Table of Contents

    Skin Care Routine for Oily Acne Prone Skin

    The best way to treat acne is by treating the root causes of it. By keeping the skin clean, exfoliating regularly and using products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, acne can be kept under control.

    Let’s start with something that can be easily found and bought. A great way to start building a routine is to find a good cleanser with salicylic acid in it.

    Acne-Prone? Salicylic Acid is a Friend!

    Salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant that helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. It’s also anti-inflammatory which means it helps reduce redness in the skin.

    Niacinamide is a great ingredient to help reduce inflammation and redness in acne-prone skin. It has the ability to penetrate skin cells and reduce the amount of sebum that’s secreted. It also helps to reduce the production of keratin, which can clog pores.

    Keratin is the same protein found in hair, nails, horns, hooves, and feathers. Our bodies produce the very thing that can cause our pores to clog. But no worries! You can easily use a daily exfoliator to help remove Keratin from your skin for a smooth texture and less acne.

    Are you New to Korean Skincare?

    If you haven’t tried the 10-Step Korean Routine yet, then it’s time you should! Read our article The Amazing 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine: Everything You Need to Know to learn the steps to healthier, glowing skin.

    Choosing a Korean Skincare Toner for Acne

    The toner is an important step in your skincare routine that helps to restore pH levels after cleansing. As well as being a great way to cleanse your skin, toner can also be used to treat a range of issues, from acne to sensitive skin.

    A Korean skin toner is a solution that improves the texture of your skin, unclogs pores, and evens out skin tone. Some even contain acne-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil.

    The first step in finding a toner for acne is to figure out what type of acne you have. Oily skin produces excess oil and can clog your pores, while dry skin doesn’t produce enough oil and can also clog your pores!

    Let the Skin Stay Sober. Choose Alcohol-Free!

    If you have acne-prone skin, you’ll want to choose a toner that doesn’t contain alcohol or fragrances. These ingredients can be very drying and irritating to acne-prone skin.

    Toners are usually water-based and can be found in different strengths. Some ingredients we recommend to look for in your Korean skin care toner are:

    1. Centella Asiatica, also known as Tiger Grass. It is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce redness and heals damaged skin.
    2. Madecassoside, a derivative of Centella Asiatica, is known to be an effective anti-aging ingredient.
    3. Hyaluronic Acid – Hyaluronic acid is a great Korean skincare for acne ingredient that helps clear pores and rehydrate the skin.
    4. Propolis – Propolis is very soothing. It is a natural substance that bees produce from tree bark and sap, which they use to seal cracks within their hive. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal, making it effective at treating a variety of skin conditions.

    In order to get rid of acne effectively, you should use products that contain salicylic acid and tea tree oil. Salicylic acid helps remove dead skin cells and excess oil. Tea tree oil is an anti-fungal that helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.

    Dab an Oil-Free SPF Moisturizer

    Another must-have for your skin care routine for oily acne prone skin are Moisturizers.

    The sun is the number one cause of premature aging in the skin. You can protect your skin by choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and wearing it daily. But what if you could get some sun protection without having to remember to apply more sunscreen?

    An oil-free SPF moisturizer is another great way to add SPF to your beauty routine. SPF can often leave your skin looking greasy and oily, but a good moisturizer with SPF will absorb into the skin and leave it looking matte.

    Try Korean Essence (or Ampoule)

    In Korea, there’s a category of skin care called “essences.” It’s not a serum, it’s not a lotion, it’s not a gel, but it’s also not quite a toner.

    Acne essences are a concentrated form of essence that has been created to treat acne. The main ingredient used is azelaic acid which is known to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-septic. Acne essences are a great alternative to prescription acne treatments.

    Essences and Amp-what?!

    Essences and ampoules (pronounced amp-yoolz) are very different from each other and they have different functions. Acne ampoules contain high concentrations of active ingredients and are great for targeting stubborn acne.

    I’d suggest you try an essence first. Ampoules are usually more concentrated, so you might not need to add another product on top of your essence. Acne essences and ampoules are powerful anti-acne products that are applied directly to blemishes and breakouts to help heal them quicker.

    A lot of the time, acne is caused by a reaction to something in your skincare routine. You may want to try using a different cleanser, toner, or moisturizer. But because it’s so important to use gentle products on sensitive skin, I recommend looking for an essence or ampoule that contains snail mucin. Snail mucin is a natural skincare ingredient that’s shown to be beneficial for sensitive skin.

    Korean Sheet Masks or Hydrogel Masks

    When it comes to masks, you’ve got two options: sheet masks and hydrogel masks. Sheet masks are made of cotton soaked in a solution of skin-beneficial ingredients. Hydrogel masks are made of a hydrogel material that contains the same skin-beneficial ingredients as sheet masks.

    I think that sheet masks are the perfect way to treat acne, because they’re very easy to use. They’re perfect for people who don’t like to do a lot of work when it comes to their skin care routine.

    Should I Go Single or Multi?

    The first consideration is whether to choose a single-layer or multi-layer mask. Single-layer masks are great for sensitive skin. Multi-layer masks are great for oily skin. If you’re not sure about which to choose, you can always just try both!

    Hydrogel masks are made with a special type of material that is more similar to a second skin than a traditional sheet mask. Hydrogel masks are filled with hyaluronic acid and are super moisturizing, which is why they are ideal for hydrating and plumping the skin.

    Sheet masks are perfect for acne-prone skin because they’re unlikely to clog pores and are easy to apply and leave on for 10 to 20 minutes. Just choose a sheet mask that’s targeted for acne treatment and leave it on for at least 10 to 20 minutes to treat breakouts.

    Korean Acne Spot Treatment Creams – An Innovative Korean Skincare for Acne

    Acne is the bane of my existence. I have oily skin, so I get plenty of zits. I’ve tried everything under the sun to get rid of acne and nothing has worked quite as well as the Korean spot treatments.

    Some of the best spot treatments for acne in Korea are Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, Missha Clear Toner, and Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches.

    It’s either Hormonal or Bacterial

    Acne can be the result of hormones or genetics, or it can be caused by bacteria that gets trapped inside of pores. Now, Korean acne products have made their way into the Western market and are a very popular acne treatment ingredient. These ingredients include salicylic acid (BHA), benzoyl peroxide (BPO), and niacinamide (vitamin B3).

    Treating acne with Korean spot treatments is the best way to get rid of acne quickly. Spot treatments like the Cosrx pimple patches are designed to target pimples in hard to reach areas on the face like the nose, chin, and forehead. You can also use spot treatments to target acne on your body as well.

    Honey, It’s More than Just What’s On the Surface

    To cure acne, you have to do more than just apply products to the surface of the skin. Korean skin care products are often designed to heal the source of the acne, rather than just treating the symptoms. But more than this, you also need to commit to making a few lifestyle changes.

    If you’re wondering what the root of your acne is, it’s probably your diet and lifestyle. If you haven’t thought about this before, now is the time to start.

    Now that you’re taking care of your skin, it’s time to take care of the root of your acne. If your acne has been caused by stress, it’s time to reduce your stress levels. If your acne is caused by your diet, it’s time to make healthier food choices.

    To get rid of your acne, you must treat what’s underneath the skin as well as just putting products on top. Korean skin care products are designed to heal the source of the problem – rather than just treating it with a face mask. But remember: if you want clear skin, you need to give up chocolate and do more exercise.

    Dana Anderson

    Beauty Care Editor @ Beautiff HQ

    Researcher and Writer who loves Tennis and juggles my passion for skincare with being a mom of 2 wonderful kids. I write and edit for Beautiff particularly on Korean Skincare, which I have the most extensive research and best personal experience in.


    I am still a bit confused with the difference of serum and ampoules. I have never found a korean skincare product that actually has ampoules in the label, it always says serum


    Onde posso comprar produtos de beleza coreanos no Paraná?


    Are Acne products good for oily type skin? I have an oily type skin and yesterday I went to the local drugstore / grocery and found a few Korean beauty products but not sure where to start. I’m interested, I don’t have acne though and not very prone to breakouts.


    @SatinaG there are products that work for oily skin and there are does that don’t! Check out our post here on Korean products for oily skin: and good luck with your K-beauty journey!

    EDIT: Also check out our informative post New to K-Beauty? Beginner Korean Skincare 101 if you’re new to Korean skin care

    Dana Anderson


    Thanks for this very informative post!


    What I love about korean products is they really smell good! I haven’t encountered a single korean cosmetic product yet that smells awful, they all smell lovely! and i have been using k products for almost 2 yrs now