Korean Skincare Routine For Acne-Prone Skin

woman applying moisturizer

Korean skincare routines have become increasingly popular due to how comprehensive yet customizable they are. While having ten or more steps to follow may seem off-putting to some, those in the know will be aware of how a Korean-inspired routine is capable of providing lasting results.

If you would like to take your skincare efforts to the next level, read on as Vivo Per Lei shares an effective routine for acne-prone skin, inspired by the wonderful world of Korean skincare.

Steps 1 and 2: The Double Cleanse

Collagen Foaming Cleanser

Every skincare routine should start with a cleanse, but Korean skincare takes things a step further with the double cleanse. This involves cleansing your face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser and then with a water-based cleanser. 

The purpose of double cleansing is to give the face as thorough a cleanse as possible. This is particularly important for those with acne-prone skin. The oil-based cleanser will get rid of excess sebum, along with SPF and makeup. After that, the water-based cleanser will take care of dirt, sweat, and any other impurities that have been left behind.

When choosing your oil-based cleanser, go for one that makes use of non-comedogenic oils, such as jojoba or grape seed. Avoid anything with mineral oils or other heavy oils. This way, you won’t have to worry about your cleanser contributing to clogged pores, rather than clearing them. 

When it comes to your water-based cleanser, foaming cleansers, like the Vivo Per Lei Collagen Foaming Cleanser, tend to be a popular choice among those with acne-prone skin. This formula contains an infusion of vitamins and peptides to ensure that your skin looks beautifully refreshed post-cleanse.

Step 3: Exfoliation

Although you shouldn’t be exfoliating daily, those with acne-prone skin usually need to exfoliate every two or three days. The time to do so is after your skin has been cleansed. This way, you’ll have removed all of those surface impurities, which will allow your exfoliant to dive in and get to work quickly.

There are various types of exfoliators out there but they can usually be classed as either physical or chemical exfoliators. The latter tends to be the most popular in Korean skincare because, even though hydroxy acids are involved, chemical exfoliants are generally gentler on the skin than abrasive physical exfoliants. Korean skincare practices stay away from the use of overly harsh ingredients.

Since you’re dealing with acne-prone skin, look for an exfoliator that uses salicylic acid. This is a beta-hydroxy acid. Unlike alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic and lactic acids, beta-hydroxy acids work on a deeper level. They’re even more effective at removing blockages from within the pores, which will reduce your chances of experiencing breakouts.

Step 4: Masking

Crystal Gold Face Mask

Just like exfoliation, masking isn’t something that you need to be doing daily. Once a week is usually sufficient. While you don’t have to do this on the same day that you exfoliate, it can be beneficial to do so. This way, your skin and your pores will be completely clear of impurities. This will enable the active ingredients in your chosen mask to work to their full potential, providing better results.

There are a variety of mask types out there that would work well for acne-prone skin. The Korean skincare world is revered for its invention of the sheet mask, so this is often favored among those who are trying to create a Korean skincare routine. Sheet masks are known for their hydrating capabilities, with the Vivo Per Lei Crystal Gold Face Mask being a good example. Packed with a blend of hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, aloe extract, and collagen, this mask will immediately plump and brighten your complexion.

Clay masks are also great for acne-prone skin, and you’ll find a few of them available from Vivo Per Lei. The Fresh Eucalyptus Facial Mask is one, with eucalyptus being proven to reduce the appearance of acne.

Charcoal masks, like the Vivo Per Lei Activated Charcoal Facial Mask, can also be very beneficial. Just like clay, charcoal is great for absorbing excess sebum and detoxifying the complexion. 

Step 5: Toning

Whether you’ve just finished cleansing or you’ve also exfoliated and/or used a face mask, the next step in a Korean skincare routine would be to apply a toner. The purpose of this is to rebalance the surface of your skin, ensuring that its pH level is where it should be.

The problem with toners is that many of them are filled with alcohols and astringents that dehydrate and dry out the skin. This is a big no-no in Korean skincare. Instead, you need to look for a hydrating formula that doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients.

Applying a toner is easy. Either use a cotton pad to dab some onto your skin or simply use your fingertips. Either way, this step only takes a few seconds and will leave your skin feeling perfectly prepped for the rest of your routine.

Steps 6 and 7: Essences and Serums

Aloe Soothing Facial Serum

Although we’ve referred to this as steps 6 and 7, some people go all out when adding essences and serums to a Korean skincare routine, meaning that you could end up with a few extra steps at this stage. 

The main difference between the two is that essences tend to be more lightweight. They’re designed for general hydration and don’t contain the same level of active ingredients as serums.

If you decide to skip the essence, your skincare routine won’t be left lacking. However, don’t skip the serums as these powerhouse products are capable of truly transforming your complexion.

When choosing which serums to use, go with formulas that cater to your specific visible skin concerns. Since you’re dealing with acne-prone skin, look for a serum that’s capable of cutting back on how oily your skin feels, which is what the Vivo Per Lei Aloe Soothing Facial Serum excels at. This silky solution is also a superstar at soothing the feeling of inflammation. This will help to prevent the appearance of acne breakouts since pimples erupt when inflammation is present.

The Vivo Per Lei Dark Spot Corrector Serum can also be useful for acne-prone skin. Pimples often leave dark marks behind on the face, and this serum will help to make those areas of discoloration look lighter and less noticeable. 

Whichever essences and serums you choose to use, always start with the formula that has the lightest and thinnest consistency. You should then work your way up to the thickest.

Step 8: Eye Cream

collagen eye firming cream

The next step in a Korean skincare routine would be an eye cream. Korean skincare is all about preventing the appearance of skin problems, rather than allowing them to arise and then treating them, which is why an eye cream is so important. Even if you haven’t noticed any issues with the skin around your eyes, this area is much thinner and more fragile than the skin anywhere else on your face and body, which is why it’s usually the first to start to wrinkle and sag.

A good eye cream will help to keep your eye area looking firm, smooth, and bright. At Vivo Per Lei, we have a few eye creams that you can choose from, with the Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream being particularly popular. This moisturizer is brimming with peptides and vitamins to give your eye area a healthy and youthful finish.

The Collagen Eye Firming Cream is another option. In addition to targeting the appearance of aging, this formula, which contains niacinamide, licorice root extract, and black mulberry extract, will also lighten the look of dark circles and shadows while de-puffing your complexion.

Step 9: Moisturize

Marine Ultimate All Skin Cream

Moisturizing is another big part of any Korean skincare routine. In fact, some K-beauty enthusiasts double moisturize, layering two moisturizers over each other. Since you’re dealing with acne-prone skin, this isn’t recommended, but a single moisturizer should most definitely be used.

The key to moisturizing without clogging pores and triggering breakouts is to find a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer. You need a product that’s going to lock in all of the beneficial ingredients that you’ve already applied without leaving your face feeling greasy.

That’s exactly what the Vivo Per Lei Marine Ultimate All Skin Cream does. Designed for all skin types, this cream is richly moisturizing but won’t weigh your skin down. With a long list of antioxidants in this formula, it’s one that can be used both day and night.

If you’d prefer something even lighter, the Marine Sensitive Facial Hydro-Gel is a gel moisturizer. It has a silky consistency that makes it a breeze to apply. Meanwhile, the bounty of antioxidants in this blend will soothe the feeling of inflammation and irritation to keep the appearance of breakouts at bay.

Step 10: Sun Protection

If you’re following this Korean skincare routine at night, then this is a step that you can skip. However, in the daytime, sun protection is absolutely vital. 

Hopefully, you’re already aware of how UV exposure can lead to skin cancer. Unfortunately, that’s not the only downside to sun exposure that you need to avoid. UV rays are also responsible for accelerating the skin aging process while dehydrating the skin. They can trigger sebaceous glands into producing more sebum too, which will leave your skin even oilier and more acne-prone.

All sunscreens can be categorized as either chemical or mineral. Both work well at shielding the skin from the sun but the UV-blocking agents used in chemical sunscreens can sometimes irritate the skin and make acne worse. 

So, opt for a mineral sunscreen instead. However, spend some time looking for a light formula. Many mineral sunscreens are heavier than their chemical-based counterparts, which could cause problems for your pores. Fortunately, many brands are now developing mineral sunscreens that contain microfine particles that don’t exacerbate acne or other inflammatory skin conditions.


Although Korean skincare routines usually involve several steps, not all of these need to be followed on a daily basis. Still, these routines can seem a little complex, especially if you’re new to skincare. However, stick with it and follow your routine regularly and you’ll soon start to notice some big improvements in your complexion, which will make all of your efforts more than worthwhile!

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