Say goodbye to oily skin with these amazing Korean skincare products.
|Fungal Acne safe
|Benton | Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
|Dr. Jart+ | Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream
|Amorepacific | Vintage Single Extract Essence
|Mediheal | Tea Tree Essential Blemish Control Mask
|i'm pure | Cica sunscreen
Best Sun Protection
|Banila Co | Clean It Zero Pore Clarifying Cleansing Balm
Best Cleansing Balm
|Cleanser/ Makeup remover
How to Pick the Best Korean Skincare Products for Oily Skin?
Having oily skin can be extremely difficult, especially when you have to avoid numerous products that can exacerbate your acne or make your skin even oilier. This is exactly why you should know which products are suitable for your skin, and which aren’t.
However, doing this isn’t as easy as you might think. With so many Korean skincare items in the market, how do you know which one to choose?
Well, the secret to knowing this lies in creating a skincare routine that’s best for oily skin—one that’s backed by facts, and not supported by mere myths. There are also ingredients you should actively seek out, and some that you should be careful about.
Let’s discuss these considerations one by one.
Debunking oily skincare myths
To effectively pick out the best Korean skincare products for oily skin, it’s important to break free from skincare myths you might unknowingly ascribe to. That’s because these myths aren’t only wrong; they’re also bad for the skin. They might make you think like you’re taking care of your skin, when, in fact, they’re actually damaging it.
Let’s discuss these four common myths in more detail.
Myth no. 1: Use only oil free products
Most people believe that using products containing oils will make their skin even oilier. On the contrary, though, using products like oil cleansers can actually be very beneficial for oily skin.
This is because oils naturally seek out other oils; as a result, oil cleansers easily adhere to sebum and other oil-based products on your face. So, your oil cleanser will take with it any excess oil and debris on your face as soon as you wipe or rinse it off.
In addition, since they don’t contain surfactants, oil cleansers won’t dry out your skin like traditional cleansers do. This allows you to deeply cleanse your skin without worrying about stripping it of moisture.
However, note that not all oils are created equal. If you have acne prone skin, try to steer clear from comedogenic oils like avocado and coconut oil, which may end up clogging the pores and inducing acne breakouts.
The comedogenic scale rates how likely a product is to clog the pores. Any ingredients with a rating of 3 or higher should be avoided.
Instead, consider buying commercial cleansing oils and balms. These are better picks than facial oils since they emulsify quickly—meaning, they can easily be washed off with water without leaving a greasy film on the face.
Myth No. 2: Squeaky clean = good cleanse
You might think that your cleanser did its job if it results in a telltale squeaky clean feeling. However, this is far from the truth.
That squeaky clean feeling is a sign that your cleanser contains harsh detergents or alkaline soaps that not only remove oil and dirt from the skin, but also strip the skin’s moisture barrier, and even raise the skin’s pH to an undesirable level.
When the skin’s moisture barrier is compromised, water escapes easily, leaving the skin dehydrated. The skin then tries to compensate for this lack of moisture by increasing sebum production. In the end, your skin becomes oilier throughout the day instead.
That’s why choosing a low pH cleanser is a better choice. Unlike drying foaming cleansers which tend to be alkaline in pH, these cleansers are slightly acidic, at around 4.5 to 6 in the pH scale. This ensures they don’t compromise the skin barrier, which is naturally acidic (pH 4.7), while effectively clearing away oil and debris.
Myth No. 3: Oily skin types should skip the moisturizer
Often, we conflate oily skin with hydrated skin, thinking that oiliness is a sign that your skin is adequately hydrated. But, these are entirely different things. In fact, oily skin can even be dehydrated if not taken care of.
When this happens, the skin ends up producing more sebum. This results in a continuous cycle of oily skin: you try to strip away the excess oil from your face and skip your moisturizer, causing the skin to be further dehydrated, thus producing more oil.
This can easily be remedied, with the use of lightweight moisturizers. These sufficiently hydrate the skin without clogging pores, thus curbing sebum overproduction and regulating the skin’s oil levels.
Myth No. 4: Wearing sunscreen worsens oily skin
We often think that sunscreens are heavy, greasy, and will clog up pores. However, this is a harmful misconception that needs to be corrected.
Sunscreens are essential in protecting us from the harmful rays of the sun, which, with overexposure, can cause skin cancer. They can also help avoid skin dehydration, irritation, and sunburn, all of which can increase the risk of acne breakouts.
Luckily, there are a lot of sunscreens formulated for all skin types, including acne-prone and oily skin. These sunscreens tend to come in the form of gels and fluids. They are easily absorbed into the skin, and normally don’t have comedogenic ingredients, to boot. Through thorough cleansing, these sunscreens can easily be removed, too, ensuring they won’t end up clogging the pores.
Superstar sebum control ingredients
Now that you know what to do and what to avoid to better take care of your oily skin, let’s move on to important ingredients in your skin care products to take note of. These skincare superstars are known to reduce sebum production, making them a must-have for oily skin types.
Centella asiatica, also known as cica or tiger grass, is a famous KBeauty ingredient used for its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. These make perfect for calming breakouts and fighting redness.
On top of these benefits, though, cica also helps with controlling sebum. This is because of its role in rejuvenating the skin’s protective barrier, which prevents skin dehydration that leads to sebum overproduction. Multiple studies have detailed cica’s role in significantly reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and in increasing the skin’s hyaluronic acid production for added hydration.
Propolis comes from the combination of tree sap and beeswax used by bees to create their nests. These are well known for their anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.
Recent studies have also been conducted on the potential sebum-controlling properties of propolis. Propolis contains isoflavones, chalcone, and tannins—compounds linked to the inhibition of hormonal activity and, consequently, of sebum production.
In addition, propolis’ hydrating and healing properties make it a great choice for restoring the skin barrier to prevent dehydration and sebum overproduction.
In fact, a study has shown that regularly applying a 3% green tea extract formulation to the skin significantly reduced oil production in participants. Although the exact mechanism on why this happens is still unknown, a study has surmised that tea polyphenol compounds present in green tea may be responsible for its oil-controlling properties.
Willowbark is normally used in skincare as a gentle alternative to salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant. This plant is a natural source of salicin, the precursor to salicylic acid. Hence, just like salicylic acid, willowbark also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight acne. It also exfoliates the skin gently, allowing it to get rid of dead skin cells that may clog the pores and lead to breakouts.
Another great thing about willowbark is that it contains tannins. Tannins are highly astringent, and therefore help in tightening pores and making them look smaller. At the same time, tannins are also linked to regulating sebum control.
Aloe vera is another ingredient often used in skincare products due to the myriad of benefits it provides. This is often used to soothe the skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also moisturizes and hydrates the skin, while also stimulating collagen and elastin production.
In addition, zinc, which is present in aloe vera, can act as an astringent which tightens pores and regulates sebum production.
Tea tree oil
What makes it an even better ingredient, though, is its ability to control sebum in the skin. In fact, a study found that using sunscreen containing tea tree oil and resveratrol is effective in reducing both oiliness and pore size in participants.
Products / Ingredients to avoid
One of the cons of having oily and acne-prone skin, sadly, is the need to steer clear from a number of products. If you’re not careful, some products may end up aggravating your acne or making your face oilier.
Here are some products or ingredients to avoid:
Alcohol-based products can be tempting to try, since they instantly remove oil from the skin. The antibacterial nature of alcohol may also make it seem like a viable way to get rid of acne-causing bacteria.
However, these assumptions aren’t exactly true. On the contrary, alcohol tends to irritate the skin, thus leading to more breakouts. Consequently, it can also dehydrate the skin and strip it of moisture, which can lead to oilier skin due to sebum overproduction.
“Occlusives” is a term used to refer to a group of products that create a thick barrier on the surface of the skin, thereby preventing the loss of water from the surface. These include petroleum jelly, lanolin, and heavy oils. While occlusives are protective and extremely hydrating in nature, they are too heavy for oily and acne prone skin. In addition, occlusives tend to be extremely comedogenic, which may spell breakouts for acne-prone skin.
Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Sulfates are surfactants used in a variety of products, from laundry detergents to your foaming facial cleanser. The problem with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) is the extent by which they irritate the skin and strip it of moisture.
Both SLS and ALS have been found to significantly irritate the skin at concentrations higher than 1 percent. Those with sensitive skin, therefore, are unlikely to tolerate this harsh ingredient, which can lead to breakouts and other problems.
Additionally, sulfates are drying to the skin. In fact, SLS has been found to decrease skin hydration, and even to reduce skin barrier function. When used by those with oily skin, therefore, cleansers with SLS might dehydrate the skin and prompt it to produce more sebum.
Best Korean Skincare Products for Oily Skin
Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
- 80% aloe vera leaf juice for added moisture and hydration
- Calms and soothes the skin with aloe vera and propolis
- Contains aloe vera and propolis for sebum control
- Lightweight, non-greasy formula
- Suitable for all skin types
- Alcohol-, paraben-, and fragrance-free; fungal acne-safe
The Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel is a lightweight, non-sticky moisturizer that uses aloe vera and propolis, two ingredients that help control sebum. They also add soothing, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory properties to this moisturizer, making it suitable for all skin types. Due to its lightweight nature, this cruelty-free product also layers well under makeup, making it suitable even for daytime use. For these reasons, this moisturizer bags Best Overall in our list.
Made from 80% aloe leaf juice and 10% propolis extract, the Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel features natural ingredients to deliver stellar results to the skin. Its rich aloe vera content allows it to calm redness, assist with wound healing, and stimulate collagen production. In addition, aloe vera contains zinc, which helps with pore-tightening and sebum control.
The propolis in this product further increases its ability to reduce skin oiliness. At the same time, propolis lends anti-fungal properties to this moisturizer. This allows it to control fungal acne breakouts.
It’s also free from typical irritants like alcohols, parabens, and fragrance. Thus, it’s a viable option for all skin types. Its lightweight formula also allows it to sink easily into the skin for an instant boost of hydration.
However, those with dehydrated skin may not find this gel hydrating enough, especially in drier climates. You can opt to use this in the morning, and find a more moisturizing option at night. Alternatively, you can seal this in with another moisturizer or a non-comedogenic facial oil.
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream
- Contains Centella asiatica and niacinamide for sebum control and pore size reduction
- Repairs skin barrier with cica and niacinamide
- Calms and soothes irritated skin with cica
- Extremely hydrating and moisturizing
- Alcohol- and paraben-free
- Best for dry, dehydrated, or irritated skin
This list’s Strong Runner-up is none other than the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream. This is a lightweight moisturizer with impressive skin soothing properties. It also offers powerful hydrating and oil control benefits thanks to Centella asiatica and niacinamide. However, due to essential oils present in this moisturizer, it may not be a good choice for sensitive skin types.
This moisturizer is notable for its sebum-controlling properties from two key ingredients: niacinamide and cica. In fact, a recent study found that niacinamide significantly reduced participants’ sebum levels. It’s also linked to a decrease in pore size, along with a significant reduction in severity and number of acne. Niacinamide also helps with repairing the skin’s moisture barrier, through reducing TEWL and stimulating ceramide synthesis.
Cica is yet another ingredient that helps stabilize the moisture barrier, and therefore helps with sebum control. Through keeping the skin adequately hydrated, cica prevents sebum overproduction that occurs in dehydrated skin. In addition, cica’s soothing and healing properties also allow this moisturizer to reduce the redness and irritation that come with acne breakouts. These make it perfect for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin.
However, note that this product contains lavender and bergamot oils, which may irritate extremely sensitive skin types which cannot tolerate essential oils. In addition, these ingredients leave it with a slight scent that may further irritate sensitive skin.
AMOREPACIFIC Vintage Single Extract Essence
- Contains green tea extract for oil control and acne treatment
- Hydrates and moisturizes skin with green tea
- Green tea helps improve skin elasticity and texture
- Alcohol-, paraben-, and fragrance-free
- Contains minimal ingredients suitable for all skin types
The AMOREPACIFIC Vintage Single Extract Essence features a simple yet powerful six-ingredient lineup to improve your skin’s health. Made with highly concentrated green tea extract, this product promises to reduce skin oiliness, fight acne, and hydrate the skin. Its minimal ingredients make it suitable for all skin types, too. These benefits make this product befitting of the Best Premium title in this list.
The product description on Amazon mistakenly includes red ginseng as one of this product’s key ingredients. However, red ginseng is only being used in other anti-aging products of the same brand, and not on the Vintage Single Extract Essence.
This essence utilizes Jeju island green tea as its star ingredient. Green tea leaves used for this product have been fermented for 100 days to have high concentrations of antioxidants and polyphenols, giving this product a myriad of benefits.
First, this product is extremely effective in reducing sebum production. Green tea can also reduce the amount and severity of acne, making it the perfect product for those with oily and acne-prone skin.
In addition, this is also a powerful anti-aging product. Due to the high concentration of antioxidants in this essence, it can efficiently fight free radicals and prevent signs of premature aging. Coupled with green tea’s ability to hydrate the skin, this essence can improve the skin’s elasticity, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
The best part? This product is formulated with only six ingredients, without alcohol, fragrance, and parabens. This makes it suitable even for sensitive skin.
Since this product is an essence, it’s not hydrating enough to replace an actual moisturizer. Oily skin types may want to pair it with a hydrating toner or a lightweight moisturizer for adequate hydration, especially in drier climates.
MEDIHEAL Tea Tree Essential Blemish Control Mask
- Contains tea tree oil, willowbark, and cica to reduce sebum
- Fights acne with tea tree oil
- Willowbark to minimize clogged pores
- Soothes the skin and fights redness with cica
- Provides extreme hydration with allantoin and panthenol
- Alcohol- and paraben-free
- Suitable for all skin types
The MEDIHEAL Tea Tree Essential Blemish Control Mask is a budget-friendly 15-minute treatment that instantly soothes and hydrates the skin. It’s also easy to use, thanks to the unique brand logo in the mask that gets more visible as treatment nears completion. Rich in tea tree oil and willowbark, this product controls sebum while gently exfoliating the face. With amazing benefits at an affordable price, there’s no surprise that this product bags Best Budget in our list.
This sheet mask uses tea tree oil as its main ingredient. As a result, it promises to effectively fight acne and control breakouts. This face mask can also help in controlling the skin’s sebum production to make your face less oily.
Formulated with willowbark extract, this product gently exfoliates the skin without causing irritation. This allows the MEDIHEAL Tea Tree mask to help prevent the development of other papules and pustules.
This sheet mask also offers extra hydration, thanks to allantoin and panthenol. These are known to boost moisture levels in the skin. At the same time, panthenol is also a skin protectant which improves the skin’s hydration and elasticity. Its anti-inflammatory benefits also work well with cica, another ingredient present in this product. Together, they can soothe and calm the skin, and also reduce redness.
Although this product doesn’t have artificial fragrance, it uses lavender and lemongrass extracts, which might irritate sensitive skin. Since this is a sheet mask, it also requires regular use for consistent results.
Suntique I’m Pure Cica Suncream
- Contains cica and galactomyces for sebum control
- Improves hydration with cica, galactomyces, and sunflower seed oil
- Utilizes cica to calm and soothe the skin
- Broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays
- Lightweight and hydrating
- Alcohol-, fragrance-, and paraben-free
Looking for a non-greasy sunscreen that won’t clog your pores? Our Best Sun Protection product, Suntique I’m Pure Cica Suncream, can do just that. Formulated with Centella asiatica and galactomyces, this lightweight sun cream effectively reduces skin oiliness. It also offers effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, with SPF50 and PA++++. What’s more, this cruelty-free product is non-irritating and is safe for all skin types.
This sunscreen shines because of the benefits it offers on top of sun protection. This product features cica and galactomyces—two star ingredients which help make the skin less oily. Galactomyces, in particular, have been found to significantly reduce the amount of sebum in the face after regular use.
Cica also plays a huge role in soothing the skin and fighting redness associated with acne breakouts. Both cica and galactomyces, along with sunflower seed oil, also help with repairing the skin barrier, which ensures the skin is adequately hydrated. This keeps the skin safe from sebum overproduction associated with skin dehydration.
This physical sunscreen is lightweight and doesn’t feel greasy on the skin, making it perfect for oily skin types. It’s also very easy to layer with makeup. In addition, it uses non-chemical and non-irritating ingredients safe for sensitive skin.
This is a physical sunscreen that uses ingredients that deflect the sun’s rays. As a result, it generally leaves a white cast on the skin. Hence, those with darker skin tones may find this sunscreen unflattering on their complexion.
Banila Co Clean It Zero Pore Clarifying Cleansing Balm
- Reduces oiliness using tea tree oil and jojoba seed oil
- Contains tea tree oil to help fight acne
- Utilizes a tri-peel acid blend of AHA, BHA, and LHA to clear pores
- Features jojoba seed oil for added hydration
- Alcohol- and paraben-free
- Great for all skin types, especially oily and acne-prone skin
This list’s Best Cleansing Balm is none other than the Banila Co Clean It Zero Pore Clarifying Cleansing Balm. Featuring ingredients such as tea tree oil and salicylic acid, this product is extremely beneficial for anyone with oily skin. Its tea tree oil content not only helps it fight acne, but even helps with sebum control. Salicylic acid also helps in exfoliating clogged pores to prevent acne breakouts.
This product’s primary oil cleanser is jojoba seed oil, which is known to regulate sebum production due to its similarity with human sebum. Jojoba seed oil also contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help promote healing for mild acne, while at the same time preventing breakouts.
In addition, this cleansing balm contains tea tree oil, which has been proven to control oil production in the skin. It’s also a known ingredient for fighting acne.
This product also boasts a patented tri-peel acid blend, containing AHA, BHA, and LHA. These gentle exfoliants help clear the pores and remove dead skin cells. As a result, the skin remains healthy, fresh, and safe from further breakouts.
Although its ingredients are mainly acne-fighting, this cleansing balm also contains Ethylhexyl Palmitate, which is a comedogenic ingredient. If you have acne-prone skin, don’t forget to double cleanse after using this product to ensure it doesn’t clog your pores.