Would you like to stop breakouts from happening? Then try the best Korean cleanser for acne.
Don’t be intimidated by multi-step beauty routines. Just using Korean foaming face wash is excellent for sensitive skin. It’s not always necessary to combine it with an oil cleanser.
Plus, Korean face cleansers are made with mild and effective ingredients. They focus on natural solutions for healthy skin.
Let’s talk about how to clear up acne with Korean skincare products.
- 4 simple steps to clearer skin
- What is the best Korean skincare for acne?
- Don’t do this to acne-prone skin
- Best Korean Cleanser for Acne in 2021
- YADAH Anti-Trouble Bubble Cleanser
- ETUDE HOUSE SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser
- ETUDE HOUSE Wonder Pore Cleanser
- [Innisfree] Jeju Bija Anti-trouble Cleansing Gel
- KLAIRS Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser
- MAKEP:REM Hydrating Cleansing Foam for Face with Sensitive Dry Skin
- COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
- NOTS Korean Cosmetics All Natural Acne Pore Deep Facial Cleanser
- BANILA CO NEW Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
- Dr.Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Foam
- PURITO Defence Barrier pH Cleanser
- DONGINBI Red Ginseng Moisture & Deep Cleansing Oil Gel
- THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Light Oil
- Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam
- OSEQUE Korean Facial Bubble Mask Pore Cleanser
4 simple steps to clearer skin
Here is a dermatologist-recommended routine to care for acne-prone skin.
Start by cleansing your face twice a day. It’s also smart to wash again after a workout. Removing the excess oil and bacteria reduces breakouts.
Why wash twice and not more frequently, or even less? It turns out that too much washing will dehydrate the skin. But only cleansing once led to more pimples (1).
Use a mild face wash. Avoid ones with perfumes and alcohols to protect sensitive skin. You also don’t necessarily need salicylic acid or other anti-acne ingredients that might cause irritation, especially if you have dry skin.
Exfoliate gently, not more than three times per week. It’s tempting to try to scrub blackheads into oblivion, but it doesn’t work that way. Massage with a warm washcloth and face wash instead of an abrasive cleanser.
Moisturize after every time you wash. Otherwise, the skin ramps up sebum production to compensate for the dryness, and the problem worsens.
What is the best Korean skincare for acne?
Choose the best Korean skincare product by matching it to your skin type.
Oily or acne-prone skin
For example, foaming cleansers are ideal for acne-prone skin. They are also suitable for oily skin because they remove excess sebum and lift impurities from the pores.
But those suds sometimes come at a price. Foaming cleansers may contain sulfates. These are surfactants that are very good at removing oil and making lather, but they can dry out the skin.
Happily, you can find many sulfate-free foaming cleansers made in Korea.
If you have sensitive skin, try a gel cleanser. It may make less foam, but it’s milder on the skin. Also, gel cleansers are usually pH-balanced to avoid irritation and have soothing ingredients.
Rehydrate dry skin with a cream cleanser, also known as a milk cleanser. They are rich in natural oils that calm inflammation and restore moisture. They leave the skin soft and comfortable.
Don’t do this to acne-prone skin
One last note – please don’t hurt your skin by doubling up on acne treatments. Don’t combine salicylic or alpha hydroxy acids with retinol or vitamin C. If you’re already using benzoyl peroxide, don’t use chemical exfoliants, too.
Best Korean Cleanser for Acne in 2021
Now, let’s review the best Korean face washes for acne.
YADAH Anti-Trouble Bubble Cleanser
One of our favorite picks is a whipped-type cleanser in a pump bottle. It’s perfect for sensitive, acne-prone skin for several reasons.
First, look at the packaging. It prevents contamination and doses out exactly the amount you need to wash your face.
Second, it was tested at a university medical center and proven to decrease acne. That’s because it contains salicylic acid that keeps pores clear. It also has rosemary and sage to get rid of the bacteria that cause pimples.
Third, it has a pH of 5.5, which is ideal for maintaining the skin’s natural acidity. It prevents irritation and dryness.
Fourth, the formula is free of sulfates, artificial colors, parabens, and other nasties.
As long as you’re happy with the low suds lather, this is a gentle and effective cleanser.
ETUDE HOUSE SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser
Which is the best Korean cleanser for sensitive skin? This one is definitely in the running.
It has a whipped cream consistency that makes for a gentle lather. The soothing suds are pH-balanced to respect the skin’s natural barrier while they remove impurities.
Moreover, this hypoallergenic face wash is free of parabens and artificial fragrances. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, too.
It even has panthenol and Madecassoside to promote healing.
ETUDE HOUSE Wonder Pore Cleanser
Blend a scrub with a foaming cleanser, and you’ll get this fantastic face wash. It feels refreshing and works like magic.
Microbubbles and little blue cleansing beads remove dead skin and oil with a pleasant lather.
On the bright side, it’s been tested for sensitive skin and eyes. On the downside, the peppermint may be a little strong for some users.
[Innisfree] Jeju Bija Anti-trouble Cleansing Gel
Here’s one of the best Korean gel cleansers for sensitive, oily skin. It’s sulfate-free and has no artificial dyes or animal ingredients.
Instead, it’s based on the phyt-acne complex and jeju bija oil, both of which accelerate recovery from breakouts. Yes, it contains salicylic acid as well since it’s one of the best acne medications.
What’s interesting is that you’ll need dry skin to start. Massage the cleanser into the face, and only then use lukewarm water to rinse.
Reviewers say it has a fresh botanical scent.
KLAIRS Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser
Anyone with sensitive, dry skin can benefit from this product. It has moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and ceramides to restore moisture.
Next, there’s tea tree oil to kill acne bacteria and heal infection. Yet, the cleanser uses amino acids instead of harsh sulfates to remove dirt, dead skin, and oil. Therefore, it’s surprisingly efficient at what it does.
Even though has a rich lather, it’s hypoallergenic and formulated to avoid irritants. There are no parabens, artificial colors, or fragrances.
MAKEP:REM Hydrating Cleansing Foam for Face with Sensitive Dry Skin
You might hear it said that a short ingredients list is better for sensitive skin. That’s true, as long as there are no artificial fragrances, alcohol, or other irritants. It also helps if the formula is pH-balanced.
This Korean face wash checks all those boxes and more. It goes on like cream to soothe and moisturize the skin. The only aroma is from the natural ingredients.
Try it if you’re dealing with dry skin from acne medication or wintertime. It will help you stop feeling like your face is tight after washing.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Instead of salicylic acid, this cleanser has betaine salicylate, a similar ingredient derived from beets. Combined with tea tree oil, it purifies the skin to get rid of acne-causing oil and bacteria.
As the name states, it has a low pH. The manufacturer says it’s in the range of 5.3, suitable for keeping skin healthy. The acidity also helps the cleanser work more effectively.
Although it doesn’t make a lot of foam, it’s vegan and free of harsh ingredients like parabens and perfumes.
NOTS Korean Cosmetics All Natural Acne Pore Deep Facial Cleanser
If you’d like to try a cleanser with salicylic acid but are worried that it will dry out or irritate your face, check out this option. It has a 0.5% concentration, making it mild enough for most people, even with sensitive skin.
What’s more, it offers more than cleansing. It helps rehydrate and brighten the skin. Regular use can help eliminate discoloration like acne scars.
It’s free of alcohol, artificial fragrances, and colors. When you look at the label, you’ll see that it has several healing botanicals like Centella asiatica, aloe, and licorice root.
The main downside is that it also has parabens.
BANILA CO NEW Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
You’ve heard of cleansing oil. But have you ever tried a cleansing balm?
This one’s like butter that melts into the skin. It comes with a spatula to remove it from the jar and prevent cross-contamination.
It clears away waterproof makeup, sunscreen, dead skin, and sebum. Apply it to dry skin, then rinse with lukewarm water. It will emulsify and wash off easily. You don’t need to worry because it won’t leave the skin greasy.
Moreover, it features vitamins C and E, hot spring water, and green tea. These brighten skin tone, improve texture, and promote healing.
If you want to be sure you’ve removed any excess oil, follow up with the BANILA CO Zero Foam Cleanser.
Otherwise, this cleanser may be all you need. After all, it’s free of alcohol, mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, and dyes.
Dr.Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Foam
It works wonders on oily skin. This exfoliating foam cleanser has micro clay and a special type of water to bubble away impurities.
You may fall in love with the dense foam. Or maybe you’ll be thrilled with how clean your skin feels after washing with it.
In any case, it has panthenol and botanicals to keep your face radiant and healthy.
PURITO Defence Barrier pH Cleanser
This brand sets the standard for pure and safe formulas. Their gel foaming cleanser contains no sulfates, phthalates, parabens, or animal ingredients. It’s also cruelty-free.
It’s packed with antioxidants that fight premature aging and speed up healing. It also has collagen to smooth fine lines.
But the big attractions for acne-prone skin are tea tree oil and Centella asiatica. They clear up breakouts without dehydrating or irritating the skin.
DONGINBI Red Ginseng Moisture & Deep Cleansing Oil Gel
How can a cleanser be both an oil and a gel? Try this one, and you’ll discover how it works.
Start with dry skin and hands. Pump the gel a couple of times and spread it across your face. It will dissolve waterproof makeup in thirty seconds.
Then, rinse with warm water, and you’re done. There’s no need to double-cleanse or use any other face wash afterward.
Yes, it has a strong medicinal herbal scent, but that’s from the natural ingredients. It has red ginseng that’s been carefully matured for six years to reach full potency.
Plus, there’s ginkgo biloba, mushroom, and fermented soybean, among other goodies. If you want to see what Nature can do for your skin, this is the place to start.
THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Light Oil
What’s the big deal with rice water? For one, it’s packed with minerals and vitamin B to keep the skin supple. It’s been a beauty secret since the time of ancient China.
Next, the formula has ceramide to keep the skin hydrated, plus rejuvenating oils to seal in moisture. These are plant oils, by the way, not the greasy kind that could clog pores. Instead, they are full of antioxidants to maintain a youthful complexion.
Thankfully, there are no sulfates in the bottle. The cleanser uses soapwort to remove dirt and oil. You’ll only see the lather once you add a little water to emulsify it. But then, it rinses away all the makeup and grime.
The main con we found is that the texture is very thin and runny. It tends to drip between the fingers if you don’t hurry and get it on the face.
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam
There are ingredients that we’ve never seen before on the label. But on the bright side, we didn’t find sulfates or parabens.
You only need a little of this pine-scented cleanser to wash your whole face. It doesn’t make much lather, but it leaves the skin comfortable and hydrated.
It’s convenient for washing before applying makeup because it won’t leave your face flaky. Also, it’s handy for removing makeup and tightening pores with citrus and chestnut.
OSEQUE Korean Facial Bubble Mask Pore Cleanser
Have you ever tried a bubble mask? When exposed to the air, it starts to build a dense foam of tiny bubbles.
Now, you can get the same effect with this face wash. About five pumps of the bottle should dispense enough to cover the entire face generously.
Within 30 seconds, your skin will be hidden beneath a thick lather. The microbubbles will oxygenate the skin and release impurities from the pores.
Once you rinse with lukewarm water, you’ll find that the cleanser has freshened up your complexion. After all, it has seven herbs, vitamin C, and egg yolk to leave the skin satisfied.
We’ve been pleased with every Korean cleanser for acne that we’ve tried. We hope you will be, too.
If we helped you find your new favorite face wash, please tell us about it in the comments. Your feedback helps us improve our reviews of the best Korean skincare products.
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/skin/how-to-get-clear-skin Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP, written by Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA on August 14, 2019, accessed February 10, 2021