Struggling with acne-prone skin issues can sometimes really feel like an uphill battle, especially when seeking the right skincare products for your skincare routine – including the moisturizer.
selecting the safest and most effective moisturizer is crucial to avoid exacerbating your acne breakouts and concerns.
Korean skincare products have gained worldwide popularity due to their clean nature (especially for those seeking for gentle formulations).
A quality Korean moisturizer for acne-prone skin can really work wonders for your acne-prone skin. Besides providing essential hydration, it doesn’t clog your pores or irritate your skin, helping you soothe inflammation related to acne and balance your oil production.
You should look for products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration or niacinamide – known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Furthermore, it would help if you opted for moisturizing formulations that contain some non-comedogenic ingredients like tea tree, ceramides, or aloe vera. All of these ingredients offer deep hydration without burdening your pores or triggering breakouts.
The search for the perfect moisturizer amidst acne struggles can be quite challenging and research can be quite overwhelming. In the end – it’s not just about physical appearance but also your self-confidence. Choosing an inappropriate moisturizer may not only fail to address your skin concerns but also exacerbate acne, leading to new zits.
Let’s find out about the best and safest Korean moisturizers for acne-prone skin (and oily skin).
6 Amazing Korean Facial Creams And Moisturizers For Acne Prone Skin
To make your choice easier and research shorter, I’ve prepared a list of the best Korean facial creams and moisturizers for your acne skin care and for achieving healthy skin without acne breakouts.
Our verdict: Best brightening cream that helps with congested pores, blackheads and zits
This moisturizer is packed with ingredients that are perfect for rough and dull skin with dark spots (including acne marks), clogged pores and skin prone to pimples.
There are AHA and BHA acids that exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pores. Moreover, this moisturizer contains vitamin C and niacinamide which both work amazing for uneven skin tone and pigmentation.
This cream is hydrating (thanks to glycolic acid, niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate) and replenishing, which makes it suitable for both dry and acne-prone skin.
Its texture is lightweight, fragrance-free, and contains ZERO bad ingredients.
Why You Will Love It?
- Clear pores
Thanks to chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid and betaine salicylate (a combination of salicylic acid and betaine), this cream works wonders for folks who often have congested pores. This way it also prevents new pimples.
- No more rough skin
Thanks to gentle exfoliating effect, it removes old skin cells, while the nourishing and refreshing ingredients make the skin smoother.
- Bye bye acne marks
Vitamin C has brightening effect and together with niacinamide it helps to even out your skin tone. It’s the perfect duo to fight red marks that acne left on your skin!
Keep In Mind
Because it contains acids that make your skin photosensitive, remember about applying SPF at the end of your AM routine (you should actually always apply sunscreen, even when staying indoors!)
PRO TIP: If you don’t want to use vitamin C in your skincare routine, there’s a different Korean moisturizer that I can recommend for acne skin – this Nacific Pink AHA BHA Cream. It’s a lightweight cream that helps to get rid of dead skin cells and improves skin elacticity.
Our verdict: Best & most gentle cream for sensitive skin prone to pimples
The IUNIK Centella Calming Gel Cream’s special feature is in that it contains more than 70% of Centella Asiatica leaf water.
Cica delivers cooling and calming effects to your sensitive and irritated skin, especially acne-irritated – you know, it also contains niacinamide and tea tree leaf water, which are both perfect for oily acne-prone skin.
This moisturizer contains zero irritating chemicals, and is free of artificial fragrances, and comedogenics, providing all-day and night-long moisturization for your skin without leaving a greasy finish – you will love it!
It is one of the best Korean skincare products – and it is pretty affordable.
Why You Will Love It?
According to multiple reviews on this Korean moisturizer, it has an almost immediate cooling effect upon application, which helps the skin reduce redness and inflammation caused by acne.
Therefore, it feels refreshing and calming on your skin. This also helps calm irritated skin.
For those of you who are not fans of scents – this is the one! This gel moisturizer has no scent at all, which makes it pretty convenient and neutral.
- Suitable for all skin types
This gel cream is so gentle and soothing, it’s perfect for all of you who not only struggle with zits, but also have sensitive skin, prone to irritations and redness.
- Reduces breakouts and blemishes
The tea tree leaf water in this moisturizer helps to diminish acne breakouts. It’s also non-comedogenic and doesn’t irritate the skin. So your face stays hydrated but there are no new zits!
Keep In Mind
Some women complained that this moisturizer makes their skin feel more… tight.
Well, it’s because of its gel consistency, and – it’s supposed to reduce signs of aging and improve skin elasticity so you may feel like it stiffens/tightens your skin.
On the positive note, there’s no sticky feeling after application!
Our verdict: Best K-beauty moisturizer that soothes acne inflammation
Everyday moisturizer for acne-prone skin MUST be a lightweight formulation without a greasy, oily finish. Definitively. And this is exactly what the COSRX AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer offers. Besides, it not only treats acne – but also helps revitalize and recover your skin.
This moisturizer is actually tailored for acne-prone skin, being formulated with magical Centella Asiatica extract, a renowned ingredient for soothing inflammation and reducing redness. And – you know this is a real issue with acne. Right?
Besides, this soothing moisturizer contains tea tree oil and propolis extract, known for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, covering the acne-prone skin needs. Containing entirely skin-safe and clean ingredients, it is great even for sensitive skin.
Why You Will Love It?
- Soothing and hydrating
Women who have been using it praise its calming effect on their irritated skin, reducing redness and inflammation – commonly associated with acne. They even call this moisturizer “super calming”.
Also, it provides the perfect amount of hydration without exacerbating oiliness.
Madecassic acid calms and protects the skin, while aloe vera, propolis, and green tea extracts all moisturize your skin and soothe irritation. Niacinamide and zinc make it suitable for oily skin – reducing oiliness.
This is a perfect oily and acne-prone skin moisturizer.
- Easy to apply
Its lightweight, non-greasy texture is perfect for acne-prone skin, and – it is very easy to apply, and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy or oily residue.
Furthermore, the formula helps hydrate your skin without clogging pores – so you will not end up having breakouts.
Keep In Mind
Some women noted a distinct scent due to the natural ingredients present, which might not be appealing to everyone. However, this scent dissipates quickly after application, so no worries.
Our verdict: Great cream for spot treatment
The COSRX Centella Blemish Cream moisturizer is formulated with Centella Asiatica leaf water and zinc oxide, both ingredients being great for oily skin prone to acne.
It actually sinks into the skin, targets blemishes – and helps you heal your damaged skin. This moisturizer is free from harsh ingredients and is clean and safe for practically any skin.
Plus, thanks to Cica, it is a perfect aid to maintain a healthy skin barrier, even if you have oily skin.
Of course, this Korean skin care moisturizer is clean from all the nasty chemicals, so you can rest assured you’re on the safe side.
It is efficient as a spot treatment for acne and acne scars.
Why You Will Love It?
For those of you with skin prone to irritation, especially due to acne, this moisturizer is – perfect, as it also provides a soothing effect and gentle hydration, aiding in your skin’s recovery process.
The Centella Asiatica leaf water is a great ingredient to soothe irritated skin while supporting the healing of blemishes.
- Lighten post-blemish marks
If you have uneven skin tone, or hyperpigmentation for any reason (including acne scars), or you just want more even skin tone, you will simply love this cream.
Women who used this moisturizer noticed the difference, and they discovered that their post-blemish marks had been lightened.
Keep In Mind
Some women noted that the moisturizer has a slightly opaque finish, which may not blend seamlessly with all skin tones, particularly for daytime use under makeup.
PRO TIP: If you’re struggling with blackheads, BHA treatment would probably most effective for you. Check out this Purito BHA Moisture Gel which works amazing for exfoliating dead cells, removing excess sebum and unclogging pores. It’s suitable for oily and acne skin types, helps to get rid of those annoying blackheads and reduce zits. Just remember that you should only use it twice a week!
Our verdict: Amazing ultra-moisturizing cream that reduces acne marks
If you know a bit about K-beauty products or heard about snail mucin, you must heard about this iconic COSRX Snail cream too.
It’s probably one of the most hyped and viral skincare products on Instagram and TikTok. Of course I couldn’t resist to check it out to see if it’s worth the hype and if it actually work. I did my research on its ingredients and although it contains phenoxyethanol which I’m not a fan of, I decided to try it out for my hyper-sensitive and pimple-prone skin.
It’s definitely suitable for different skin types, including dry skin (it’s extremely moisturizing and plumping), combination skin type, as well as oily and acne skin.
Lots of people who’ve been using this cream, claim that it helped them to reduce the red marks that pimples left on their skin, as well as diminish new breakouts. Apparently it’s all thanks to 92% of snail mucin that’s inside this cream.
Why You Will Love It?
- Incredibly soft & supple skin
This non-comedogenic Korean moisturizer not only deeply hydrates your skin, it also leaves it plump and supple, improving skin texture, and leaving your skin feeling soft. I have to admit that this facial cream makes my skin SOFTEST EVER, like no other cream!
It effectively balances your hydration levels without clogging pores, making it great pick for acne-prone skin types.
You will also love that it doesn’t feel heavy on your face. And it really does what all those influencers promise: it gives you glowing skin!
- A little goes a long way in all weathers
This moisturizer has a perfect texture which is easy to apply, yet a little goes a long way. Another plus is that considering how little you need to use it, it is very cost-efficient. Furthermore, it’s hydrating in all weather conditions, cold or hot, humid or dry.
It works great on various skin types – I have hyper-reactive skin so many skincare products cause irritation or redness on my face. This cream is definitely suitable for sensitive skin. But the story doesn’t end there.
Some women (including me!) have even used this moisturizer, not only as a face moisturizer but also as an entire body moisturizer which worked a WAY better than some body lotions. Frankly, I can’t imagine my Korean skincare routine without it!
- Fights acne and scars
Speaking from my own experience (and also based on hundreds online reviews), this moisturizer helps to reduce the visibility of red marks after zits, and it also doesn’t trigger skin to break out.
It really does help maintain a healthy skin, repair sensitized skin after all those pimples, and soothe it – and this way it can support your acne treatment.
Keep in mind
It’s not a magical cream that will make you acne or scars go away in a blink of an eye. You may still need to include in your acne-prone skin care other acne-fighting ingredients like: AHA, BHA or PHA, zinc etc.
Moreover, please note that it contains phenoxyethanol. I try to avoid this ingredient as much as I can. Some beauty experts say this is the safest preservative available right now, but others claim it may be irritating (and even unsafe for pregnant women). Thankfully it’s the only ingredient from “grey area” in this wonderful cream!
Our verdict: Great non-irritating & oil-free moisturizer
I DEW CARE 24-HR Moisturizing Cactus Cream boasts a blend of cactus extract, magical squalane, and hibiscus. Furthermore, it’s rich in vitamins A, B, C, and other minerals.
This moisturizer is hydrating and replenishing, suitable for both – dry and acne-prone skin.
This cactus oi-free moisturizer is formulated based on clinical studies, following IDC standards, without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or artificial fragrances.
Besides keeping skin moisturized and intensively, deeply hydrated, leaving it feeling supple and nourished, too – without feeling heavy.
Why You Will Love It?
- Non-irritating, suitable for all skin types
Its formula is non-irritating, so it suits practically all skin types, including dry skin (it is suitable for sensitive skin, too)!
On the other side, it causes no breakouts, so it’s great for those of you with dry, yet acne-prone skin. So, it will practically give you glowing skin looks and improve overall skin condition in any skin type.
- Clinical results
The brand conducted an independent study to test the moisturizing effect of this product measured during 24 hours. They tested how it helps hydrate the skin in women aged 19-60 years, and the results are impressive.
Namely, 96% said their dehydrated skin felt instantly hydrated, plus the other benefits. Also, according to reviews – this is true.
Keep In Mind
Few women who used it described its consistency as a bit thicker. So, if you want an entirely light-textured moisturizer, you may want to reconsider your choice.
Final Decision: What Is The Best Korean Moisturizer For Acne Prone Skin?
It’s difficult to choose one single best Korean moisturizer for acne-prone skin. However, among all these Korean moisturizers I recommend (so all of them are actually great), I would say that this IUNIK Centella Calming Gel Cream stands out as the best option.
Well, it contains Centella Asiatica extract, tea tree oil, and niacinamide, which are all well known for their anti-inflammatory and soothing properties – all beneficial for acne-prone skin.
This moisturizer addresses acne concerns by soothing inflammation, reducing redness, smoothing out skin texture and providing adequate hydration without clogging pores.
Plus, the positive reviews say enough about it, right?
If your skin is not sensitive and tolerate actives well, try out this COSRX AHA BHA Vitamin C cream – to unclog pores and get rid of blackheads, even out skin tone and reduce zits.
Does Acne-Prone Skin Need A Moisturizer?
Absolutely, you should use moisturizer if you have acne!
Although it might seem counterintuitive at first, acne-prone skin needs hydration, too, for several reasons. However, you need to choose carefully.
It’s essential to find a product labeled “non-comedogenic”, as these products are less likely to clog your pores or cause additional breakouts.
How To Choose The Right Moisturizer For Acne Prone Skin
First of all, as already clarified – you need to look for non-comedogenic formulas and avoid heavy, greasy textures, as they may exacerbate oiliness and block your pores. Instead, consider lightweight, gel-based moisturizers or oil-free lotions that provide hydration without feeling heavy on your skin.
Look for safe ingredients like hyaluronic acid that provide hydration without adding excess oil, niacinamide with anti-inflammatory properties, or some acne-fighting ingredients.
Of course, carefully check if your moisturizer contains some harsh chemicals or irritants – avoid those. And, don’t forget, before applying a new moisturizer to your entire face, conduct a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure it doesn’t cause irritation or breakouts.
Ingredients That Help To Fight Acne
- Salicylic acid: This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliates your skin, unclogs pores, and reduces inflammation. It’s effective against acne by penetrating the oil in your skin and preventing pore clogging.
- Benzoyl peroxide: Known for its antibacterial properties, benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria, reduces inflammation, and helps unblock your pores. It’s particularly beneficial for inflammatory acne.
- Tea tree oil: A natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent, tea tree oil helps combat acne by killing bacteria, reducing inflammation, and soothing irritated skin.
- Niacinamide: It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness, calm irritated skin, and regulate sebum production, thereby minimizing acne, and decreasing the risk of breakouts.
- Hyaluronic acid: While not directly treating acne, hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin without adding excess oil. Proper hydration can help maintain the skin barrier, preventing excessive dryness that might trigger more oil production – and more acne!
- Centella Asiatica: Known for its soothing properties, Centella Asiatica or Cica helps calm inflamed skin, speeds up skin healing, and may aid in reducing acne scarring.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): AHAs exfoliate the skin’s surface, removing dead skin cells and helping to unclog pores, which can prevent acne altogether.
- Zinc: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, zinc can help reduce acne-related inflammation and has been shown to control oil production in your skin.
- Retinoids: Derived from Vitamin A, retinoids work by unclogging pores, speeding up cell turnover, and reducing inflammation. They’re effective in preventing new acne and improving the overall appearance of the skin.
Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Acne
- Comedogenic oils: Some oils, like coconut oil, have a high comedogenic rating, meaning they’re more likely to clog your pores and exacerbate acne by blocking follicles.
- Alcohols: Alcohol can be overly drying and strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to increased sebum production as a rebound effect, potentially worsening acne.
- Fragrance: Synthetic perfumes or heavily scented products may contain irritants that can cause inflammation, sensitivity, or allergic reactions, exacerbating acne.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): These surfactants are known to be harsh on your skin, potentially stripping away natural oils and causing irritation, which can – again – worsen acne.
- Mineral oils: Although considered safe for some, mineral oil has a higher likelihood of causing breakouts or worsening existing acne due to its occlusive nature, potentially trapping bacteria and debris in pores.
- Isopropyl myristate: Known for its emollient properties, but it can also be highly comedogenic, leading to pore blockages and potentially causing breakouts.
- Silicones: While not necessarily harmful, some of you with acne-prone skin may find silicones to be pore-clogging, leading to increased breakouts or congestion.
- Lanolin: Derived from sheep’s wool, lanolin can be highly comedogenic for some individuals, potentially causing blockages in the pores and leading to acne flare-ups.
- Butyl stearate: Often used as an emollient, but it can be comedogenic for some of you, leading to pore blockages.
- Artificial colorants: Synthetic dyes or colorants can contain harsh chemicals that may irritate the skin, potentially worsening acne or even causing allergic reactions.
Tips For Taking Care Of Your Acne-Prone Skin
Taking care of your acne-prone skin requires a thoughtful routine and some safety steps. Let’s see what you can do for your skin.
- Gentle cleansing
Use mild, non-comedogenic cleansers twice daily to wash your face. But, make sure you avoid harsh scrubs or abrasive cleansers that can irritate or worsen acne.
- Avoid over-washing
Washing excessively can strip away skin’s natural oils and irritate your skin. Stick to cleansing twice a day to maintain a natural balance.
- Non-comedogenic products only
Look for skincare products labeled as non-comedogenic or oil-free to prevent pore blockages that lead to new breakouts, or worsening.
Even oily skin needs hydration, as we previously said. Opt for oil-free, lightweight moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated without clogging pores.
- Sun protection factor
Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, especially if using acne treatments that can increase sensitivity to the sun.
- Avoid touching your face
Refrain from touching your face frequently to minimize the transfer of bacteria, dirt, and oil from your hands to your skin.
- Use acne-fighting ingredients
Incorporate products with acne-fighting ingredients, but introduce them gradually to avoid irritation. Allow time for any new product to work. Of course, if irritation occurs, discontinue use and consult your dermatologist.
- Healthy diet
Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some studies suggest a correlation between certain foods, like sugar, and acne, so monitor your diet’s impact on your skin.
- Avoid heavy make-up
Use non-comedogenic or mineral-based make-up products and ensure thorough removal before bedtime to prevent pore clogging.
- Change pillowcases often
Dirty pillowcases can harbor bacteria and oil, contributing to new breakouts. Change them at least once a week to avoid it.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority. This article contains affiliate links.
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