In South Korea, skincare is almost a religion and having good skin is the ultimate goal for many. However, excess sebum production, shine, blackheads, acne and enlarged pores can get on the way. We handpicked this korean skin care routine acne and oily skin to help you choose the best skincare to fight blemishes.
Since acne-prone and oily skin can be sensitive, it is worth approaching any skincare regime change with caution. Incorporate a product or two per week, and check your skin reaction before you add more.
Korean Skin Care Routine Morning Skincare Steps
There are between 8 and 12 steps on the morning skincare routine order of many Korean women. It may sound like a lot, but if your skin suffers from acne it can make a huge difference. Applying products in the right skincare order helps make the most of your purchases.
Step 1: Wash With Water
During the night your skin will have produced natural oils that double cleansing would remove. This will prompt your skin to produce even more oils. To avoid this, wash your skin with water first thing in the morning, instead of using a cleanser.
Step 2: Toner
A toner designed for oily skin will balance the skin’s pH levels and help make your skin a more uncomfortable place for acne-causing bacteria. It also helps absorbing the remaining products. Use your hands to pat a toner right after washing and drying your face.
Step 3: Essence
An essence is a hybrid product between a toner and a moisturising serum. Do not think that a korean skin care routine for oily skin would skip hydration, because hydration is key to awesome skin.
Step 4: Ampoule
This is a highly concentrated serum with very active ingredients, and you only need to use them when your skin is acting up particularly badly. They can be used to calm down skin or to dry off blemishes.
When applying ampoules, serums and moisturizers, do not rub your skin as that can make your acne worse. Warm your hands by rubbing them together and pat the cream or serum gently, like you were playing a piano. Use upward motions, from the inside towards the outside of your face.
Step 5: Serum
Serums target specific skin concerns and should be part of your regular beauty routine. You would use a brightening serum to get rid of acne dark spots, or a hydrating one for when your skin peels due to retinol.
Step 6: Eye Cream
Massage gently a light eye cream across the brown and the socket bone, patting the product from the inner to the outer corner of the eye. This reduces inflammation and helps drain fluids to reduce eye bags.
Step 7: Moisturiser
Acne prone and oily skin needs moisturising as much as dry skin. If your skin feels dry, it will produce more oil to try and protect itself. However, the key is finding a light-weight moisturiser with shine-control and oil-absorbing properties. This will set the canvas for makeup application and help reduce shine during the day.
Step 8: SPF
Protecting your skin with sunscreen will help you prevent pigmentation created by acne scars. If you are using retinols or retinoids for acne, a good sunscreen is even more important as your skin can develop photosensitivity.
After this 8 steps, your skin will be ready to apply makeup. Remember to always choose non-comedogenic foundation and concealer. Mineral makeup is a great option for oily and acne prone skin!
Korean Skin Care Routine Acne Care Evening Skincare
Korean skin care routine day and night steps are similar, but there is more emphasis on cleansing in the evening and SPF in the morning.
Step 1: Oil Cleansing
Double cleansing helps rid the skin of residue from the night, and remove excess oil and sebum. Oil dissolves oil, and an oil cleanser dissolves the excess oil in acne-prone skin, without damaging the sensitive skin barrier. Oil cleansers effectively deep-clean pores in a gentle fashion. And without sebum and dirt, the acne-causing bacteria have nothing to eat.
However, not all oils are the same. It is important to choose an oil cleanser designed for oily skin. It must be non comedogenic, to avoid breakouts, and contain anti-bacterial essential oils such as lavender.
Apply the oil to dry skin and massage it with upwards movements, from your chin towards your ears. Rinse off with fresh water.
Step 2: Foaming Cleanser
A foaming cleanser will remove any residual oil and water-based impurities from the day. This step is very important, as otherwise the treatment products won’t be as effective. Choose a good face wash for oily skin that is free from irritants and fragrances.
For this korean skin care routine acne fighting foaming cleansers are the best choice, but if your acne is under control you may want to switch to an oil-control one for maintenance.
Step 3: Exfoliating
Exfoliating is very important for acne-prone and oily skin, as it clears out dead skin that can block pores and feed bacteria. However, you don’t want to irritate your skin by using anything harsh. Daily exfoliation with a BHA toner is better as it’s more gentle and still renews the surface of the skin. Do not forget to use SPF in the morning!
Once every 1 or 2 weeks a peeling gel exfoliant can be used to fade acne scars and prevent blackheads and clogged pores.
Step 4: Acne Treatment Products
There are a variety of acne spot treatment products in Korean cosmetic. They come packages as either sticks or even stick-on circles that you can put straight on top of a blemish to make it go away. They are not supposed to be used all over your face, because they are very very strong. However, if you have a red, angry spot that needs to be gone this kind of acne-fighting products are just what you need.
They tend to work better at night, so you can wake up to a much reduced blemish, but in an emergency you can use them during the day.
Step 5: Toner
Toners help remove any last remnants of dirt or cleansers, while helping the skin calm down. Forget about alcohol based, drying toners, korean toners are all about skin balancing and moisturising. It helps balance the skin pH, which reduces bacterial growth and stops the skin from getting irritated.
Step 6: Sheet Masks
Many Korean women use sheet masks as part of their daily routine and the results are evident. It is a good idea to add a calming sheet mask for acne at least 3 times per week, to help collagen formation and reduce redness. With a korean skin care routine acne should be treated from several fronts, not just from the blemish-fighting approach.
Sometimes a facial steamer will be used before masking to improve the effectivity of the mask. This however should be done only once or twice a week.
Step 7: Light Moisturizing
Emulsions are lightweight moisturizers with treatment properties. A Korean skin care routine for oily skin would include them because they are less likely to cause a breakout than heavier creams. They deliver acne fighting and anti-bacterial actives while keeping the skin soft and supple.
Step 8: Eye Cream
This is not strictly part of a korean skin care routine for acne, but you should still use a skin cream for your eyes. Eyes are where the first signs of ageing appear, and where skin damage is more noticeable.
Step 9: Moisturizing Creams
Even if you have oily skin, it still needs moisture. Dehydrated skin reacts by creating more oil and making acne worse. A calming moisturizer fortifies the skin barrier, and locks in all the benefits from the previous skincare routine steps. Since it’s in the evening, you can easily use a natural face moisturizer instead of a store bought one.
Step 10: Facial Oil
You probably have enough issues with oil and shine during the day to add a facial oil to your korean skincare routine morning ritual. However, oils can be a great help for acne prone and oily skin, and applying a facial oil at night means your skin have a chance to absorb it. Beautiful, moisturized skin and no shine in the morning.
Korean Skincare Routine for Combination Skin
If you have combination skin you can still use this korean skin care routine for acne. However, you will need to adapt the products on it to your needs, with a focus on hydration (particularly one the drier areas of your face). You want to add elements from a korean skin care routine for dry skin, but without making your skin feel greasy.
You could use multimasking instead of a sheet mask, with an oil and acne fighting mask on your t-zone and a moisturising one on your cheeks.
With this korean skin care routine acne and oily skin will be soon under control. You can adapt the products you use to how your skin is feeling, and focus on moisturizing or blemish control.