Beauty Lifestyle

K-Beauty Solutions: Acne

Acne – the word itself is enough to make some people cringe. A problem people of all ages deal with – even K-idols. So what does the world of K-beauty have to say about pimple problems? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Korea has a lot of products that can help with clearing up and preventing acne – products using snail secretion, centella asiatica, charcoal, witch hazel, tea tree oil, honey, royal jelly, propolis, aloe vera, seaweed extracts, vitamin C extracts, volcanic clay, turmeric, kaolin clay, glacial clay, galactomyces, or green tea, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of an enormous list of ingredients that have been infused into Korea’s skincare products!

Before we get too far into all of those, let’s talk about what acne actually is.

© Moon-508756, Wikilmages, Pixabay, 26.02.2018,

The dictionary defines it as “a skin condition characterized by red pimples on the skin, especially on the face, due to inflamed or infected sebaceous glands.”

Acne can be caused by many things and is usually a good indicator that something in your body needs attention. Lots of Korean dermatologists use a common method of indicating your skin’s problem called face mapping! Heard of it? Of late, it has been the go-to for a lot of Koreans who have skin troubles. Depending on where your acne appears on your face you can usually pinpoint the issue quite easily.

© nature-3162233, mordilla, Pixabay, 27.02.2018,

Just to be clear, if we say issues or problems in the section below, they are generally going to be minor things you need to tweak, especially in your diet, not something you need to freak out about. If you are really concerned, try seeing if there are any Korean or Chinese herbal doctors in your area, they will be able to tell you what’s going on!

Forehead, Hairline, or T-zone.
  • Need more sleep, or water.
  • Liver or digestive System need more care and attention.
  • Too much alcohol or coffee.
Temples and Under Eyes.
  • Liver or Kidneys need more care and attention.
  • Too much fatty or greasy foods.
  • Smoking.
  • Dirty pillow.
  • Hair continuously touching the sides of your face.
  • Poor diet.
  • Poor blood circulation.
  • Bloating.
  • Too much dairy.
  • Stress.
  • Lung or stomach issues.
  • Smoking.
  • Dirty pillow.
  • Touching your face with your phone.
  • Touching your face with oily fingers.
  • Hormone imbalance.
  • Issues with the reproductive system.
  • Neglect of cleansing this area.
  • Resting head in hands.
  • Bowel & Stomach issues.
  • Too much refined sugar.
  • Bladder, stomach, or liver issues.
  • Hormone imbalance.

You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat,” right? Having a balanced diet is essential! Korean people love their food, and most meals contain all the necessary food groups they need for a well-balanced diet. So don’t worry! We’re not saying you have to eat rabbit food or give up your favourite ramen, it’s all about finding a balance!

Wallace & Gromit ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ screenshot, dukes-lancaster, 26.02.2018,

Now, one of the best ways we have found to eradicate acne as an issue is by using a basic K-Beauty routine; the steps and our recommendations of which can be found below.


1. Cleanse

© Klair’s Gentle Black Cleansing Oil, Dear Klair’s Co., 27.02.2018,

When looking for a cleanser, try to steer clear of ingredient lists that are huuuuuuge, or contain extremely harsh chemicals! We think you should try out ‘Klair’s Gentle Deep Cleansing Oil’ or ‘COSRX Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.’ Klair’s are known for their skin care products for sensitive skin; fast, effective, and “simple but enough”. COSRX is known for being a selfless brand – with COSRX it’s all about you. If you check out COSRX’s Instagram, you can see many people who have struggled with acne have used their products and have gotten noticeably amazing results!

2. Exfoliate

© Wishtrend 5% Mandelic Acid Skin Prep Water, Wishtrend Co., 27.02.2018,

When it comes to exfoliating and acne you want to stay away from anything coarse! Irritating already sensitive skin is a no-no. We recommend a lovely little gem by Wishtrend. Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water is suitable for all skin types; it can smooth uneven skin tones, provide exfoliation without damaging your skin, and it removes dead skin cells so that the rest of your skincare routine will be enhanced! This product is definitely a secret weapon amongst many Koreans.

3. Tone

© Klair’s Supple Preparation Toner, Dear Klair’s Co., 27.01.2018,

Toning is essential and only recently have people really discovered the necessity of using a toner as a part of their daily skincare routine. We’re currently loving ‘Klair’s Supple Preparation Toner’. It’s suitable for everyone, contains no nasties, and is moisturizing and soothing. Klair’s just keep upping their game with every product!

4. Serum/Ampoule/Essence

© COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, COSRX Co., 27.02.2018,

Serums, ampoules, or essences are great for providing extra nourishment for your skin. Some Koreans use all three of these! To start with, just pick one that suits your skin the best. We recommend you check out ‘COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence’, ‘Klair’s Rich Moist Soothing Serum’, ‘COSRX Centella Blemish Ampoule’, ‘ SCINIC Honey All-In-One Ampoule’, ‘Klair’s Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop Serum’, ‘Zymogen Centella Ferment Essence’, or ‘Zymogen Ferment Houttuynia Cordata Extract Serum’.


5. Moisturize

© COSRX Centella Blemish Cream, COSRX CO., 27.02.2018,

Rain or shine, it is imperative that you moisturize your skin every morning and every night. If your skin is too dry it will create more oil, which I think we can all agree is not something most people want on top of the already oily and irritated skin that acne brings. There are two different types of moisturizers – light and heavy. Light moisturizers are great if you already have oily skin, and heavy moisturizers work well for people with dry skin. Or you can use a combination of both to suit whatever your skin needs. Some really great moisturizers we recommend are: ‘COSRX Centella Blemish Cream’ (Light), ‘COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All-in-One Cream’ (Light), ‘COSRX Aloe Vera Oil-Free Moisture Cream’ (Light), Klair’s Rich Moist Soothing Cream’ (Heavy), ‘Zymogen Centella Ferment Cream’ (Heavy), ‘Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Cream Moisture and Nutrition’ (Heavy). (This last moisturizer does contain many bee-related products, so if you are allergic to bees, give this one a miss!)


© COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, COSRX Co., 27.02.2018,

Instead of picking and popping pimples, it is much nicer to simply put these over the top of any pimples that have reached a point. (When the tips turn white and most people pop them.) Control that urge and slap one of these babies on – it will draw out all the impurities while you sleep, and it won’t leave a scar!

If you plan to use masks, we recommend you steer clear of sheet masks and that you stick to wash-off masks (luke warm water only, people!) things like ‘Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask’ and ‘I’m From Honey Mask’ are really great choices.

Also if you wish to add something to your night routine that is very beneficial, try ‘ElizaVecca Centella Asiatica 100% Essence’ and ‘ElizaVecca 100% Galactomyces.’

Extra Tip: Continual washing of the face can cause it to dry out, so try using a moisturizing makeup wipe instead of cleansing at night!

Once again, here are the steps of the routine which should be implemented every morning, and for the night routine simply cut out steps 1, 2 & replace 4 with one of the ElizaVecca products named above, if possible, and if not, simply remove 4 as well. Moisturizing should be the main focus of your night routine!

  1. Cleanse
  2. Exfoliate
  3. Tone
  4. Serum/Ampoule/Essence
  5. Moisturize

How long have you been struggling with acne? Have you ever tried a K-beauty routine? Have any recommendations for others who struggle with this issue? Have any questions? Let us know!

Featured Image Source: Wanna One x Innisfree Coloured Clay Mask Photoshoot, Innisfree Co., 27.02.2018,

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Matthew Keeler

American-born Australian planning on making Korea my home. 4-Dimensional optimist :D Love life and live with no regrets. Be yourself, and treat everyone with kindness.^^



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