Your Custom Skincare Regimen – Acneic Skin: You Need a Thorough Regimen



  • Blackheads on cheeks and forehead
  • Whiteheads and/or angry red pimples that never go away
  • Glossy and oily skin before 12 noon or even by morning
  • Dry patches on the skin while having an oily T-zone or forehead
  • Possibly uses bar soap or body wash if not any product specialized for the face at all

You may be missing more than a few holes in your skincare regimen, or possibly using skincare formulations that aren’t suitable for your skin type.

If using bar soap or body cleansers, these need to be replaced with a facial cleanser, stat. Body soaps have a different pH level than facial skin, as the skin on the rest of your body is slightly more alkaline than your face. The result? An unbalanced pH level that creates the perfect breeding ground for acne.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for acne, but it is quite possible you are experiencing a buildup of bacteria and excess sebum that aren’t being properly cleansed from your skin.

You may be missing more than a few holes in your skincare regimen, or possible using skincare formulations that aren’t suitable for your skin type.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for acne, but it is quite possible you are experiencing a buildup of bacteria and excess sebum that aren’t being properly cleansed from your skin.

Click here to view skincare regimens for all other skin types.

*I am not a dermatologist nor do I have extensive medical training. I cannot prescribe you any medications or drugs to address your problems. I am, however, a licensed esthetician that can recommend products according to your skin type. If you are seeking medical advice or a professional medical evaluation, please speak with your doctor or dermatologist.

Step 1: Remove makeup

It’s very important to cleanse not once, but twice. The first cleanse removes all your makeup, and the second cleanse removes the rest of the leftover dirt and debris.
Contrary to popular belief, using an oil-based makeup remover gives better results, and here’s why: oil has more lubrication, so you’re not irritating or pulling at your skin when trying to remove long-lasting makeup. This is crucial for areas like the eyelids, where the skin is thinner and more fragile. Oil also helps remove sebum build-up inside the pores, so you’re actually getting a thorough cleanse.

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil: $9.99 on

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil: $9.99 on

The best oil cleanser for you: The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil. This oil is non-comedogenic, so it won’t promote pore congestion or acne. What I love about this oil is that the rice water extract actually helps a lot with hyper-pigmentation and acne scars, something that people with deeper skin tones tend to get more often.
How to use: Apply a dime-sized amount and remove all face makeup, using circular massaging motions. Be gentle when removing eye makeup. Afterward, use cotton rounds to wipe off the excess oil, paying careful attention to the eyes. To remove eye makeup, swipe the cotton rounds in a downward stroke, following the direction of the lashes. Never pull sideways – this can irritate the thin eyelid skin and cause accelerated wrinkling.

Step 2: Cleanse

Cosrx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser: $9.73

The best facial cleanser for you: Cosrx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser. Most cleansers have a high pH level (more alkaline), creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Your skin is slightly acidic, so this cleanser is a great way to control breakouts without drying your skin out. It also works well for dry skin.
How to use: A little bit goes a long way. Lather up a pea-sized amount and massage into the skin.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Exfoliating is a very important step in Korean skincare. A popular practice of exfoliation is scrubbing off dead skin cells to encourage new cells to the surface. However, there are plenty more methods other than abrasive scrubbing. One of the most popular exfoliating methods include gentle chemical exfoliations with acids or peels, and these are highly encouraged in the Korean regimen.

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator: $9.99

The best exfoliant for you: Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator. Black sugar contains glycolic acid, which can penetrate deeply into the skin and break apart the outermost skin cells. This derivative of alpha hydroxy acid makes this product not just a scrub, but a chemical exfoliant too. This product is great multitasker for those who want to physically unearth clogged pores while lightening dark spots.
How to use: Dampen your face and massage a small scoop of scrub into the face for 2 minutes. After scrubbing, leave on for 10-15 minutes and wash off. Exfoliate 1-2 times a week, or as needed. Depending on the type of exfoliant, you may not need to exfoliate daily. It’s encouraged to exfoliate no more than once a week, but over the years many new products have developed that allow gentle exfoliating benefits safe for daily use. As a general rule of thumb, if you find your skin growing more dry, sensitive, or even extremely oily, you may be exfoliating too frequently. Give your skin a few days to recuperate in between exfoliating treatments.

Optional Step 4: Treatment Mask

For my oily skin, I like using a detoxifying mask to ensure a thorough pore cleanse right after exfoliation. If you’re suffering from breakouts or congested skin, this is the best time to do a treatment mask since the entrance of the pores are more exposed after exfoliating. Clay-based masks can also be very drying if used often, so sometimes it’s okay to skip this step if you’re in need of hydration.

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask: $8.79 on

The best mask for you: Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask. After several minutes, this mask explodes into a foam and your face turns into the Michelin Man. The product uses carbonation to thoroughly cleanse out the pores. My T-zone’s congestion is completely obliterated after using this! And the best part: although it’s clay-based, it’s actually quite non-drying, which is in your favor.
How to use: Apply onto skin and wait 10 minutes. After bubbles have finished rising, gently massage the skin and then rinse off.

Step 5: Tone

Etude House 10-in-1 House Wonder Pore Freshener: $13.30

After cleansing, your skin is stripped of its protective barrier. More than likely, your skin won’t be at its normal 5.5 pH level. 5.5 is slightly acidic because the skin actually has what is called an “acid mantle,” or a protective barrier comprised of fatty acids. If your skin tends to be dry and sensitive, this is a sign of weaker acid mantle, meaning your skin is too alkaline. A toner helps bring your skin’s pH levels back to normal and creates a balanced environment for the next step in your skincare regimen.

The best toner for you:  Etude House 10-in-1 House Wonder Pore Freshener. The reviews aren’t high for no reason! This toner is great for removing any excess dirt and mattifying the skin.
How to use: Using a cotton round, swipe all over face and wait until dry before proceeding onto next step.

Step 6: Serum

Serums are basically leave-in products supercharged with active ingredients. Depending on your type of skin and the time of day, you’ll have different needs.

Skin Food’s Peach Sake Pore Serum: $7.78 on

The best serum for you: I really like Skin Food’s Peach Sake Pore Serum. It is very mattifying and helps prevent that inevitable shiny T-zone I tend to get midday.
How to use: Apply a pea-sized amount of serum or essence to entire face, ensuring that the face is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 7: Spot Treatment

Korean products focus on nourishing the skin rather than stripping it, which is why there aren’t too many Korean products on the market. Proper exfoliation in previous steps are key to preventing pimples, but sometimes they can be inevitable.

MIZON Acence Mark-X Blemish After Cream: $6.75

The best spot treatment for you: I prefer Mizon’s Blemish After Cream over many other acne spot treatments on the market because it’s free of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient that can increase hyperpigmentation and inhibit the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun. Salicylic acid is often found in toners, so an additional spot treatment may cause the skin to dry out and become sensitive.

Mizon’s Blemish After Cream contains honey propolis extract, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that will simultaneously bring down redness and inflammation while killing bacteria at the same time. It also helps accelerate the skin’s healing process. Best of all, it doesn’t dry your skin out!
How to use: Wait until serum, essence or ampoule is fully dry. Distribute a pea-sized amount of product across all troubled areas and gently pat into the skin until absorbed.

Step 8: Pimple Stickers

Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers: $7.57

The best pimple stickers for you: Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers. If you have any active pimples with a white head that are ready to pop or already have a few that are freshly popped, use a pimple sticker to cover it up. These covers are great for not only prevention re-infection but help to suck out all the pus and bacteria. This is a great way to stop yourself from picking at your pimples!
How to use: Pat affected area down with a clean tissue and make sure it isn’t too slick, or else the sticker will not stay put. Apply the appropriate size sticker and leave on overnight. Remove in the morning.

Step 9: Moisturize

For those who have oilier skin, a gel is optimal. Gel moisturizers tend to contain glycerin, a humectant that helps moisturize the skin without weighing it down.

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel: $8.79 on

The best gel moisturizer for you: Natural Republic Aloe Vera Gel comes in a huge jar the size of a hair gel jar, making the $8.79 price tag very reasonable. For those who have heavily oily skin, I definitely recommend this mattifying moisturizer. My boyfriend has been using it for several months now and I’ve noticed that the high aloe content calms down the redness and inflammation in his breakouts.

Optional Step: Nighttime Mask

Sometimes your skin is in turmoil and you just know you need to do a little something extra to help it. When we sleep, our body works hard to regenerate and heal itself in every department, and your skin is no exception to that. Incorporating an extra step during your slumber can help boost your skin’s ability to repair itself.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask: $20.88 on

The best sleeping maskf ro you: Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask is something I have been using for years. Each time I use this mask I can see a huge difference in my skin when I wake up. My skin tone is much more even and the texture is extremely soft. This mask also claims to have calming properties that aid in sleep. I’m not sure how solid this claim is, but I’ll never forget the first time I put this on and immediately passed out in bed. I think it may have been the light floral smell… or perhaps just the long day I had at work.
How to use: When your skin is suffering or if you’re prepping for a huge event, use this the day before. After your moisturizer is fully absorbed, massage in a pea-sized amount of this mask right over your moisturizer until your skin soaks it up. Since it functions as an extra layer that seals in everything underneath, you don’t want to lay it on too thick and suffocate your skin. Leave it on overnight and then rinse off in the morning, followed by a moisturizer.

Step 10: Sunscreen

Sun exposure is the #1 cause of physical aging in the skin and is something that is also avoidable. Aside from wearing hats or staying out of the sun completely, sunscreen not only helps you age slower but also helps slow down the process of hyperpigmentation. Did you ever notice that after a day in the sun, your dark spots look even darker? The sun acts like glue to pigment and makes it harder for the spots to fade.

Biore AQUA RICH SPF50+/PA++++ Sunscreen: $8.20 on

My favorite sunscreen: Biore’s Aqua Rich Sunscreen is a very lightweight sunscreen that feels as thin as an essence. It dries to a matte finish, and I absolutely love this because it’s hard to find a sunscreen that doesn’t feel greasy or look shiny. Not only is the texture lightweight, but it has a huge amount of SPF and PA. SPF only protects from UVB rays, whereas PA protects from UVA rays. And you see those +’s? That’s actually a PA ranking: the more +’s the better. Just like SPF’s number: the higher, the better.
How to use: Apply all over face, neck, and all other areas exposed to the sun. Reapply every 2 hours – no ingredient remains active all day!

Optional Step: BB Cream

If you’re an avid makeup lover and can’t seem to put the foundation down, a BB cream is a great alternative to taking care of your skin while getting the coverage you need. BB creams serve as a foundation with hydrating and brightening effects and can also double as a sunscreen. While BB and CC creams have made their debut in America, Korean-brand BB creams have still remained superior to their American counterparts.

Fun fact: Many BB creams have a limited selection of colors, but that’s because they actually change color to match your skin. They may appear gray at first, but give it some time and some window light and the product will oxidize.

MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF42 PA+++ (50ml): $10.00

My favorite BB cream: MISSHA’s M Perfect Cover BB Cream is my all-time favorite BB cream. Not only is this formula hydrating (which is rare in a foundation), but the coverage is buildable due to its opaque color. You can apply it using your fingers for a natural look, or you can use a foundation brush for medium to full coverage. The second reason why I like this BB cream is that this line has colors in the deeper tonal range, something that most Korean BB creams don’t bother with – east Asians have very fair skin, so Asian manufacturers don’t see a need to formulate darker color options.
How to use: Pump a small amount onto the back of your hand, and using either your finger or foundation brush, apply it to the face as you would with a foundation. I personally like using my finger and blending it over dark spots for a more natural look. Give it time to oxidize, and then set with powder.

I hope you found this guide informative! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at contact @ I’ll be checking up on you to see how your skin is soon! In the meanwhile, please check out my other beauty posts.

Looking for more product options? Visit my complete 10-Step Korean Skincare Guide.

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