10 Step Korean Skincare Routine For Acne-Prone Skin: Anti-Breakout

10 Step Korean Skincare Routine For Acne-Prone Skin: Anti-Breakout

People with acne could have normal, oily, dry or combination skin. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to check previous weeks’ posts on routines for oily, dry, normal or combination skins when trying to build your skincare routine. These routines are all focused at stabilising the skin and strengthening the skin barrier which will help when combating with acne.

This routine, although curated for acne-prone skin, it is not intended to be the magic cure for your acne. This is because acne could be caused by a range of factors such as hormone, lifestyle, or health conditions. If not resolved at its source, it’ll always come back. Rather, this routine helps to alleviate symptoms of acne, making the skin stronger at resisting bacterial infections and expedite the healing process.


As with any other skincare routines, we’ll start with proper and effective cleansing that doesn’t strip the skin. When skin is stripped of moisture, the skin barrier weakens and loses its ability to combat with acne. Therefore, mild and thorough are two important criteria when choosing your cleanser.

Step 1: Oil Cleansing

$32.00 $28.00 AUD

Start with oil cleansing to remove sunscreen, makeup, sweat and sebum on the surface of your skin. Oil cleansing is extremely gentle yet effective at dissolving oil based products and sebum. It doesn’t dry out the skin and helps the water-based cleanser to maximise its function. 

This oil balm from Real Barrier has a texture in between a balm and an oil. It works the same as any other cleansing oil or balms, where you add a bit of water to emulsify the oil then rinse away. The tube packaging is quick, conevenient and hygienic to use.

Your skin should feel lightened and pores opened up, ready for the second cleansing.

Step 2: Water Cleansing

For water-based cleansing, nothing beats the Real Barrier Cream Cleansing Foam when it comes to mild and non-drying cleansing that creates balance in the skin. This cream to foam cleanser is ultra gentle, yet effective at keeping the pores clear.

This cleanser has a slightly acidic pH, which helps to balance the skin and strengthen the skin barrier. Skin with slightly acidic pH level could inhibit bacterial growth and resist against acne.

The cleanser is infused with Sunflower Seed Oil, Ceramide, Broccoli Sprout Extract and Centella Asiatica to hydrate, soothe and repair the skin barrier, leaving the skin soft and moist.

The Real Barrier Cleansing Oil Balm and the Cream Cleansing Foam are the perfect double cleanse duo for any skin types. With consistent use, your skin will become more balanced, stable and resilliant.

Step 3: Exfoliating

$25.00 $22.00 AUD

Exfoliation is another step that’s essential for keeping acne away. When pores are clogged, the dirt and sebum are trapped underneath the deadskin cells, leading to bacterial infection. Exfoliating regularly will help to keep the pores clean and reduce the likelihood of acne developing.

However, be careful not to over-exfoliate, which will cause the skin barrier to be compromised and become more prone to bacterial infections. Avoid using harsh physical exfoliators that will aggravate the inflammation.

This peeling gel from Pyunkang Yul is extremely gentle but effective. It contains BHA, which helps with removing sebum wihin the pores. Once applied on the skin, it combines with the sebum on your skin, turns into a rubber dust kind of texture. Massage this over the nose and T-zone area to get rid of dead skin cell and sebum build up.

Use this once a week to control your dead skin cell and keep sebum at bay.

Step 4: Clay / Wash-off Mask

$42.00 AUD

Use a clay mask once a week to keep your pores clear and reduce sebum production. This one from By Ecom has the softest and smoothest texture, cleanses the pores without irritating the skin.

It contains Centella Asiatica and Houttuynia Cordata (also known as hearfleaf). Both ingredients are effective at soothing the skin, reducing inflammations and strengthening the skin barrier.

This clay mask is non-drying even after leaving on for over 30 minutes. It also contains soaked green tea bits for added brightening and antioxidation effects.


After cleansing, we need to quickly bring the skin to balance, inject some hydration and further soothe the skin, helping it to retain moisture and strengthen the barrier. For acne-prone skins, it’s important to select products that are non-irritating, creates oil-water balance and replenishes the skin barrier. 

Step 5: Toner / Acid Treatment


Use a gentle acid treatment will help loosen up the dead skin cells and keeping the pores clear. The slightly acidic pH will help to balance the skin and creates a skin environment that resist against bacterial growth. 

This toner from Some by Mi contains small amounts of AHA, BHA and PHA, targeting at dissolving sebums at different layers of the skin. It also contains tea tree extract to control sebum production and gives a cooling effect to the skin. This toner has a water-like texture, which penetrates deep into the skin and keep the skin refreshed.

Use a cotton pad to gently swipe across the entire face avoidng the eye and lip area. Use this once every second day.

Step 6: Essence

Follow the toner with an essence to strenghten the skin and inject some nutrients that will penetrate deep into the skin.

Artemisia is a powerful oriental herb that has been used for years in traditional Chinese medicine. It has recently found its way into skincare. It is naturally clarifying and soothing, helps to reduce inflammation and unclog the pores. This essence from Nacific contains 98% pure Jeju Artemisa Extract, extracted at low temperature to preserve its medicinal effects. 

This essence has a lightweight consistency slightly heavier than water, penetrating deep into the skin, soothes, balances and repairs from within. It leaves the skin soft, hydrated and strengthened.

Step 7: Serum

After the Artemisia Essence, we’ll follow with a serum that’s made of the same powerful herb – Artemisia, which is also known as Mugwort. The Isntree Spot Saver Mugwort Ampoule contains 85% Ganghwa Artemesia/Mugwort, again extracted at low temperature to preserve its effectiveness.

This serum also contains Licorice Root Extract, Panthenol, Beta-Glucan and Ceramide for intense hydration, relieving inflammation and strenghtening the skin barrier.

This serum has a lightweight texture that’s easily absorbed into the skin without feeling greasy.

Step 8: Moisturiser

After serum, it’s time to seal in the moisture with a cream. This Neogen Sur. Medic+ Azulene Soothing Cream contains 300ppm Guaiazulene, a powerful blue chamomile extract that calms inflammation and repairs damaged skin. This cream will help with reducing inflammation and expedite the healing of acne.

This gel-cream has a medium density, which will help with retaining moisture in the skin, preventing it from drying out over time.


Step 9: Acne Patch


This is a life-saver for acne-prone skins. These patches help to isolate the breakout area, prevent them from spreading and expedite the healing of acne.

There are numerous brands producing these and a lot of them are similar. In this post, I’ll give special mention to the Some By Mi Clear Spot Patch. I found it to be just the right size and thickness. It also adheres very well to the skin, which is great for overnight applications.

Step 10: Sunscreen

Sunscreen is important to keep your skin from sun damages or premature againg. For acne-prone skins, choose a 100% mineral sunscreen that’s lightweight and doesn’t dehydrate the skin. 

Final Words

Acne-prone skin is difficult to work with. There are loads of products targeted at the treatment of acne, but the most important thing is to fix the problem from its source and build up on your skin barrier. Once your skin barrier is strong enough, you’ll see reduction in the frequency of acne popping up. Remember to listen to your skin.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply