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 routines place emphasis on treating zits incredibly gently without drying them out. (The latter approach may be what you’re used to here in America.)
In fact, when I was in Korea in 2020 (pre-pandemic, of course), I asked dermatologist Cho Yun Joo what the number one piece of advice she had 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.
Addressing inflammation is also key, according to dermatologist Shin Hae Won at Oracle, a major dermatology and skin-care clinic in Seoul. Seeking out soothing ingredients, like Centella asiatica (a.k.a. cica), allantoin, and niacinamide, will help calm redness while clearing up your complexion. In fact, you can probably find all three in every product from beloved brands, such as Mediheal, Innisfree, Cosrx, and Skinfood below.
With all this in mind, we gathered up the best Korean skin-care products for acne-prone skin (or any skin type) that dermatologists and editors from Allure and Allure Korea swear by. Add to your skin-care routine asap and revel in the joy and comfort of more balanced, nourished, and clearer skin.
Our Top Picks:
- Best Overall Acne Treatment: Dr.G R.E.D Blemish Clear Soothing Cream, $32
- Most Popular Soothing Toner: Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner, $20
- Best Clarifying Serum: Isoi Bulgarian Rose Blemish Care Serum, $43
- Best for Curbing Inflammation: Mediheal Tea Tree Biome Blemish Cica Ampoule, $28
- Best Gentle Cleanser: Medicube Zero Foam Cleanser, $19
- Best for Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Axis-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum, $22
- Best for an Instant Glow: Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum, $17
- Best Gentle Exfoliant: Juice to Cleanse Vinegar Kombucha Vegan Essence, $43
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.