11 Best Korean Essences for Acne-Prone Skin in 2024 Review

I’ve tried several Korean essences for acne-prone skin, and let me tell you, these babies have helped give me clear, clean skin daily.

All I have to say is, thank goodness for Korean Skincare Products!

The aestheticians there know what they’re doing cause my troubled skin has never been better. I’m well on my way to achieving and maintaining glass skin, ya’ll!

And I’m here to share everything I know with you.

This post contains affiliate links. We earn a commission if you purchase after clicking on our links.

Let’s start with a quick look at our top picks, then keep reading for all the glorious details.

Korean Essences for Acne-Prone Skin Top Picks at a Glance

Check the table below for a side-by-side comparison of our favorites!

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11 Best Korean Essences for Acne-Prone Skin REVIEW

Surely, you have, at some point in time, asked yourself, “Which is better essence or serum?”

The short answer: they’re both important! Serums are made with concentrated ingredients that work on targeted skin concerns, while an essence formula is mainly made with fermented ingredients and helps absorb skincare better.

Skincare for acne requires you to be extra careful while choosing the right Korean treatments. “But isn’t that your job?” you asked.

Sure is. Buckle up, beauties, as we look at the best of the top Korean essence for oily skin.

1. COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (Overall Winner)

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“I know you might question, ‘You want me to apply WHAT to my face?’

Indeed, the idea of snail mucin may sound unconventional, but it’s a staple in Korean skincare routines, and for a good reason.


The COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence boasts a high concentration of 96.3% snail secretion filtrate. This key ingredient revitalizes your complexion and nourishes your skin.

From my experience battling cystic acne, I’ve learned I’d try just about anything promising relief. This product does not disappoint.

After incorporating it into my routine, I noticed my skin became smoother and my breakouts less severe over time.

The product is derived from 100% natural ingredients, is hypoallergenic, and is dermatologist-tested, meaning it’s designed to avoid irritating the skin.

Additionally, it’s free from harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

If you’re worried about animal cruelty, rest assured the mucin is collected in a safe and ethically responsible manner.

Real snail essence is its most active ingredient that protects skin from aging and dryness.Using mucin on the skin may be a little icky to some people. 
Lightweight product and non-greasy absorbing instantly in the skin.If you use too much, it will become quite greasy on the skin.
100% natural ingredients, hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and safe to use, even on sensitive skin. Some users have complained of an allergic reaction after using the product. 
Free of harmful chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
Free of animal cruelty.
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How It Compares to Other Products and Why? 

The Proot Mugwort Essence uses mugwort extract as its primary ingredient, known for soothing and healing properties, especially beneficial for calming inflamed or sensitive skin.

On the other hand, the Isoi Pore Tightening Tonic Essence focuses more on minimizing pores and controlling oil production.

Both offer unique benefits, but the COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence’s high snail mucin content provides a broader range of benefits, including intensive hydration, anti-aging properties, and acne scar reduction.

It’s crucial to remember that individual skin needs and reactions vary, so choosing between these products should align with your skin’s specific requirements.

Expert Tip 

To achieve the best results, apply it to your entire face after using a cleanser and hydrating toner. Pat with your fingertips or use cotton rounds for even distribution.

Given these insights, it’s clear why the COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence has earned its place in my skincare routine and could potentially be a great addition to yours.”

Where to Buy:

Great news for skincare enthusiasts!

The highly sought-after COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is readily available for you to grab on Amazon, Sokoglam, and YesStyle.

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2. Proot Mugwort Essence with 59.5% Real Mugwort Extract (Best Budget Buy)

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Next in line is the Proot Mugwort Essence, which intriguingly features mugwort as its star ingredient.

I’ve personally used this essence as a part of my skincare routine, mainly targeting my hormonal acne.

I can vouch for its calming and soothing effects on my skin. After a few weeks of use, I noticed my blemishes reduced significantly, and the overall radiance of my skin enhanced.


The key players in this product are mugwort, a medicinal herb widely used in Korean skincare products, and madecassoside, both known for their healing and soothing properties. [1]

This product is a boon for those battling sensitive skin, acne, or both.

One of the features that impressed me about this essence was its composition; it is free from artificial fragrances, color additives, and stabilizers.

However, some users, including myself, have noted that it has a thicker consistency compared to other essences, which might feel slightly greasy.

Also, a small fraction of users have reported breakouts, so I recommend conducting a patch test before incorporating it fully into your routine.

Made with botanical ingredients with Mugwort as its key component.It can cause breakouts in some people. 
Free of artificial colors and fragrances.Thicker consistency than other essences, which can feel a little greasy. 
It helps calm acne-prone and combination skin and adds hydration at the same time.
Stops the production of excess sebum.

How It Compares to Other Products and Why?

When compared to similar products, such as the COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence and Isoi Pore Tightening Tonic Essence, the Proot Mugwort Essence differentiates itself with its specific focus on tackling hormonal acne and blemishes.

It soothes the skin and targets excess sebum production, contributing to acne. The star ingredient, mugwort, is a natural herb that works wonders on inflamed skin.

The Proot Mugwort Essence might be an excellent addition to your skincare routine if hormonal acne and skin sensitivity are your primary concerns.

Where to Buy:

Exciting news for all skincare lovers!

The incredible Proot Mugwort Essence with 59.5% Real Mugwort Extract is just a click away, ready for purchase on Amazon – isn’t that fantastic?

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3. Isoi Pore Tightening Tonic Essence (Best for Clogged Pores) 

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As someone with oily and acne-prone skin, I’ve constantly looked for products that cater to my skin type without being too harsh.

Fortunately, I discovered this organic facial essence that seemed to tick all the boxes.


The essence contains natural ingredients known for their effectiveness on acne, such as witch hazel, botanical extracts, and natural glycerin, which helps retain skin moisture.

A standout feature of this product is its commitment to being free from artificial chemicals, preservatives, and fragrances.

This product didn’t result in dry skin, contrary to other acne-targeting products I’ve used.

This may be because the formula is infused with organic rose water, known to restore skin hydration.

However, it’s worth noting that while my skin responded well to this essence, some users have reported breakouts.

Also, a few have opined that the gel version of the product might work better than the cream, especially for oily skin types.

Made of all-natural ingredients.Causes breakout in some users. 
It helps reduce the appearance of large pores.Some say the gel is better than the cream.
It goes deep in skin pores to help clear out skin.
Maintains skin hydration and improves skin tone.

How It Compares to Other Products and Why?

Compared to other Korean essences I’ve tried, such as the Proot Mugwort Essence and COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, this product distinguishes itself with its focus on acne-prone, oily skin.

It targets the reduction of large pores, penetrating deep into the skin to help clear out impurities.

To conclude, if you’re someone with oily, acne-pricked skin like me, this natural, organic facial essence could be a valuable addition to your skincare routine.

But, as always, it’s advisable to conduct a patch test before fully incorporating any new product.

Where to Buy:

Fantastic news for all you beauty lovers! The amazing Isoi Pore Tightening Tonic Essence is now available on Amazon – get ready to elevate your skincare routine!

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4. Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence (Best Hydrating Essence)

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Oily skin being dehydrated is a lesser-known fact. I can attest to this as someone who grapples with an oily skin type.

The Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence was an unexpected find in my quest for suitable skincare.


This product serves as a toner, essence, and moisturizing lotion, a triple threat that had my skin feeling notably plump and elastic.

One of its key ingredients is sodium hyaluronate, an advanced form of hyaluronic acid known for holding more moisture than water.

From my personal experience, I can confirm that it works wonders on oily, dehydrated skin, offering much-needed hydration without contributing to oiliness.

Moreover, unlike some moisturizers, it didn’t clog my pores, which was a definite win.

However, the formula might not be for everyone. According to online feedback, some users with sensitive skin types found it too harsh.

Additionally, those with extremely oily skin might find the product greasy.

Works great on oily, dehydrated skin.The formula doesn’t work with sensitive skin types. 
Adds moisture but not oil to the skin.The product can seem greasy to overtly oily skin. 
Won’t clog pores. 

How It Compares to Other Products and Why?

When pitted against similar products like the COSRx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Hanskin’s essence holds its own.

It combines the functionalities of a toner, essence, and moisturizer, which is rare among competitors.

It also uses sodium hyaluronate, an advanced form of hyaluronic acid that offers superior moisturizing benefits.

In sum, if you’re dealing with dehydrated but oily skin like me, the Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence might be worth exploring.

Remember to patch test, especially if your skin leans toward the sensitive side.

Where to Buy:

Hooray for skincare enthusiasts!

The deeply hydrating Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence is now just a click away, available for your convenience on Amazon, Sokoglam, and Ulta – go ahead and give your skin the love it deserves!

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If you’re struggling with persistent breakouts, consider reading “Constant Acne Around Mouth,” and don’t miss the practical advice offered in “Tips to Combat Acne” to tackle your skin concerns effectively.

5. Missha Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence: (Best for Easily Irritated Skin)

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Having struggled with oily skin for years, I always look for products specifically designed for my skin type.

Missha, already renowned for its Time Revolution Essence, has released a formula that caters to oily skin, and I decided to try it.


The essence contains Fermented Artemisia Annua Extract, an ingredient that balances skin and soothes inflammation.

It’s lightweight and made from 100% double-fermented Artemisia.

I was particularly impressed by the inclusion of extracted sweet wormwood, a component known to enhance skin moisture and combat dryness.

From my experience, Missha’s essence did an excellent job soothing my easily irritated, oily skin.

The Artemisia extract effectively balanced my skin’s pH, leaving a glossy shine that didn’t feel greasy.

However, the product wasn’t without drawbacks. Some users, including those with sensitive skin types, reported allergic reactions.

Therefore, I recommend conducting a patch test if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.

Meant for oily skin that is easily irritated. It can cause allergic reactions on some skin types. 
Artemisia extract balances skin pH.Does not work on sensitive skin. 
Gives a glossy shine to the skin. 

How It Compares to Other Products and Why?

When comparing Missha’s essence to other products, such as Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence or COSRx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence, Missha’s version stands out for its skin-balancing properties and specific targeting of oily skin.

Plus, it has the added benefit of working well on acne-prone skin, which sets it apart from the competition.

Expert Tip

Here’s a tip: you can use this essence as a soothing mask. Just dampen a few cotton pads with the essence and apply them on your face for 5-10 minutes.

It’s a quick and easy way to give your skin a little extra care!

In conclusion, Missha’s essence could be an excellent addition to your skincare regimen if you have oily and easily irritated skin like me.

Where to Buy:

What a treat for skincare buffs!

The revered Missha Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence is up for grabs on Amazon and Sokoglam – don’t wait to add this gem to your routine!

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6. Benton Fermentation Essence

Oh, the wonders of fermentation!

Benton Fermentation Essence offers a spectacular blend of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate and Bifida Ferment Lysate, ingredients known to deliver deep hydration.

One application and your skin will thank you. The first time I used it, it was like my skin took a much-needed drink!

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This high-performance essence features a rich blend of fermented ingredients, primarily Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate and Bifida Ferment Lysate.

Promotes deep hydrationIt might not suit hyper-sensitive skin types
Assists in calming stressed, irritated skinNot completely free of fragrance, which may irritate some

How It Compares to Other Products:

Comparing this essence to others on the market, like COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence or Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, Benton’s essence distinguishes itself through its focus on fermented ingredients.

Fermented components, particularly Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate and Bifida Ferment Lysate, are known for their superior skin healing and rejuvenation abilities.

Expert Tips:

For optimal results, I found it best to apply Benton Fermentation Essence post-cleansing and gently pat it into the skin until fully absorbed.

This method maximizes the product’s benefits.

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Customer Reviews/Testimonials:

Overall, user reviews are largely positive, praising its impressive hydrating capabilities and calming effect on stressed skin.

However, as mentioned earlier, some individuals with sensitive skin experienced mild irritation.

Where to Buy:

Available through various online retailers, including Amazon and other specialized Korean skincare websites.

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7. Primera Miracle Seed Essence

My skin absolutely adores the Primera Miracle Seed Essence, and yours might too!

A divine elixir formulated with nutrient-rich Lotus Seeds, this essence works to rebalance skin and bring out its natural radiance.

Remembering the day when my skin transitioned from lackluster to lustrous with this product always makes me smile.

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The highlight of this essence is its Lotus Seeds base, which is well-known for its high nutrient content.

Profoundly hydrates and rebalances skinThe price point is on the higher side
Works effectively to promote a clear complexionIt might not suit all skin types

How It Compares to Other Products:

Primera Miracle Seed Essence’s central component, Lotus Seeds, offers unique soothing and balancing benefits that are hard to match.

Expert Tips:

Apply it after cleansing and toning. Dispense onto a cotton pad and gently sweep across the face.

Customer Reviews/Testimonials:

Many users praise its hydrating and skin-balancing properties, though some mention it may not suit every skin type.

Where to Buy:

You can readily find this product on Amazon and other online retailers specializing in Korean skincare products.

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8. I’m From Mugwort Essence

Let’s talk about a lifesaver for sensitive, inflamed skin! I’m From Mugwort Essence, with its 100% mugwort extract formulation, is the calming companion your skin might want.

I recall how this essence was rescued during an incredibly stubborn redness. Its soothing touch is just unforgettable!

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This product is crafted with 100% mugwort extract, prized for its calming and healing properties.

Promotes skin healingIt can be too potent for extremely sensitive skin
It helps calm inflamed, acne-prone skinThe strong herbal smell may not be for everyone

How It Compares to Other Products:

The singular focus on mugwort extract sets this essence apart. It’s an ideal choice for those looking to soothe inflamed skin.

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Expert Tips:

Use after toner; pat gently into the skin. It can be used day or night.

Customer Reviews/Testimonials:

Users appreciate its ability to soothe inflamed skin and heal acne. Some users find the smell a bit overpowering.

Where to Buy:

Available on Amazon and other websites specializing in Korean skincare products.

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9. Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence

Suffering from dehydrated skin? Been there, done that. That’s why I turned to Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence.

This oasis is packed with hyaluronic acid for intense yet balanced hydration. My skin went from parched to plump – like a splash of refreshment!

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This essence provides deep hydration focusing on hyaluronic acid, which is great for maintaining skin balance and preventing acne.

Offers intense hydrationIt might feel sticky on oily skin
Helps balance skin, preventing acneNot ideal for those sensitive to fragrance

How It Compares to Other Products:

Its focus on hydration through hyaluronic acid makes it a great choice for dry, dehydrated skin types.

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Expert Tips:

Apply post-cleanse and toner, and pat gently into the skin. Use morning and night for best results.

Customer Reviews/Testimonials:

Users love the hydration boost it gives their skin—however, some users with oily skin report a slightly sticky feel after application.

Where to Buy:

Available on Amazon and other online retailers selling Korean skincare products.

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10. Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence

Want to know the secret to bright and toned skin? Look no further than Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence.

The day I added this to my skincare regimen, I saw my skin brighten – thanks to the Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate.

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This essence stands out with its star ingredient, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, known for skin brightening and toning.

Brightens and tones the skinNot fragrance-free
Helps keep acne at bayMight not suit very sensitive skin

How It Compares to Other Products:

Its key ingredient, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, offers unique skin-brightening benefits, setting it apart from many other essences.

Expert Tips:

After cleansing, apply with fingers or a cotton pad, and pat gently into the skin.

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Customer Reviews/Testimonials:

Users love its brightening effect and its ability to help control acne—some users with sensitive skin report mild irritation.

Where to Buy:

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence is conveniently available on Amazon, making it easy to add this brightening wonder to your skincare routine!

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11. Etude House Moistfull Collagen Essence

Craving for hydration without the stickiness? Etude House Moistfull Collagen Essence might be your skincare dream come true.

The blend of Super Collagen water particles and Baobab oil worked like magic on my skin when I first tried this. It was like a gentle dew on a fresh spring morning. Divine!

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Packed with Super Collagen water particles and Baobab oil for refreshing, lightweight hydration.

Offers intensive hydrationSome find the scent too strong
Lightweight, non-sticky textureNot ideal for very oily skin

How It Compares to Other Products:

The unique combination of Super Collagen water particles and Baobab oil offers a hydration boost while maintaining a light texture.

Expert Tips:

Apply post-cleansing and toning, and pat gently until fully absorbed. Suitable for use in the morning and evening.

Customer Reviews/Testimonials:

Users appreciate the hydration and non-sticky texture. However, some find the fragrance too strong.

Where to Buy:

You’ll be delighted that Etude House Moistfull Collagen Essence is available on Amazon. Additionally, it can be found at other online retailers that stock Korean skincare products.

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How to Choose the Right Essence for You

Good essences for dry combination skin can help users get clear-looking, radiant skin that glows from within.

Korean products are about quenching thirsty skin, cell regeneration, and blemish-free glass skin.

Sometimes, you may find two essences with different active ingredients and wonder, “can you layer two essences Korean skincare?”

And you definitely can. The Korean Skincare steps are all about layering anyway!

Here are some tips for finding the right essence for you:

Buy Specific Skincare for Acne

Several Korean skincare brands make essences specifically for acne. Products that contain ingredients such as green tea extracts and willow bark extracts are known to work well on acne-prone skin.

It is also best to steer clear of artificial colors and synthetic products. 

Opt for Acidic Essences

Alpha Hydroxy Acids, lactic acid, and glycolic acid have exfoliating properties that work deep into the skin and help clear cystic acne. 

Stay Away from Harmful Ingredients

Make sure to keep an eye out for chemical ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and sulfates while getting skincare.

You don’t want to aggravate your skin into producing more oil now, do you? 

READ MORE: How to Remove Scratch Marks From Skin?


Which essence is best for acne-prone skin?

We love the COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, with a concentration of snail mucin as its most active ingredient. It works to remove blemishes and improves skin texture by providing it with much-needed hydration and nutrition.

What is the best Korean essence?

Essence, skin care products, can easily be found depending on your skin. We love several Korean Brands, such as Missha and Laneige, that make some of the best essences for consumers.

What is Korean Essence skincare?

A hydrating essence is a lightweight fluid full of moisturizing and anti-aging properties. They are meant to be used on the face and neck after a gentle cleanser and skin toner. 

Can I skip toner and use essence?

The Korean 10-step skincare regimen demands that users apply toner after an essence. But, some products are double as both essence and toner. Using such products can help reduce one step from your routine.


An essence can help decrease the appearance of large pores and help your skin from getting new blemishes.

They also help prepare your skin better for whatever you apply next to it to further your quest for clear skin.

The point is, there’s an essence out there with your name written. And when you find it, holy moly, your skin game will change!

Final Recommendation

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lady putting on a Korean essence

What are your favorite Korean essences for acne-prone skin? Please share your top picks below!


  • “Miracle Mugwort: The Saviour for Sensitive and Acne Prone Skin.†2020. Asian Beauty X. 2020. https://www.asianbeautyx.com/blogs/the-moxie/miracle-mugwort-the-saviour-for-sensitive-and-acne-prone-skin.
  • PubChem. 2021. “Madecassoside.†@Pubchem. PubChem. 2021. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Madecassoside.

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.