Korean Essences for Acne-prone Skin: Top 5 Picks for 2021

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

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

The aestheticians there sure 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.

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

If you see the value in these products and choose to purchase via my referral links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

5 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 take a look at the best of the top Korean essence for oily skin.

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

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

I know what you’re thinking: “You want me to apply WHAT to my face?”

Sure, snail mucin sounds a bit icky, but our friends in Korea swear by its properties to help clear dark spots and provide your skin with much-needed nutrition. 

Features

The COSRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence has 96.3% snail secretion filtrate. The power ingredient helps revitalize your complexion and provides healthy skin.

I mean, I’d apply just about anything on my face if it means getting rid of cystic acne breakouts. 

The product uses 100% natural ingredients, is hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, meaning zero skin irritation.

It is also free from other harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Do you now see why this product is our number one choice?

If you’re worried about snails being harmed in the making of this product, you needn’t be. The makers assure consumers that mucin is collected in a safe and friendly manner. 

BenefitsDrawbacks
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.
CO-Z Topnotch Weatherproof Indoor Outdoor Wooden Bunny Rabbit Hutch Cat Shelter Guinea Pig House

How It Compares to Other Products and Why? 

The product is especially helpful in clearing acne and scars in less than two weeks. It also helps shrink the appearance of enlarged pores and heals their dry patches.

This is because the mucin helps protect the skin barrier and keeps dull skin hydrated.

A staple in the Korean Skin Care Routine, it also possesses a plethora of anti-aging and healing properties that improve skin vitality. 

Expert Tip 

Simply apply it on your entire face after using a cleanser and hydrating toner. Pat with your fingertips or use cotton rounds to help absorb this hydrating formula and let your skin thrive!

Sale
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 3.38 fl.oz / 100ml | Snail Secretion Filtrate 96% | Skin Repair Serum | Korean Skin Care, Cruelty Free, Paraben Free, Alcohol Free
  • The Real Snail Essence: Formulated with 96.3% Snail Secretion Filtrate, this essence repairs and rejuvenates the skin from dryness and aging. It improves skin vitality by reducing dullness and soothing dehydrated skin.
  • Simple Yet Effective Light-weight Essence: A lightweight essence which fastly absorbs into the skin and gives you a natural and healthy glow. Guarantees long-lasting hydration without heavy feeling on the skin.
  • Key Ingredient: Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin"- an EFFECTIVE ingredient for enhanced moisturization. It instantly soothes damaged skin and delivers moisture deep into your skin. Perfect for dehydrated and damaged skin.
  • NO Snails are Harmed: Snail Mucin is obtained in a safe and environmentally friendly way in a favorite environment of snails and then processed as a cosmetic material. 100% Natural, Hypoallergenic, Dermatologist-tested.
  • COSRX Standards: Clean Beauty - All COSRX products are formulated with skin-friendly ingredients that alleviate irritated skin. Hypoallergenic, Dermatologist tested, Cruelty-FREE, Parabens-FREE, Sulfates-FREE, Phthalates-FREE

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

Mugwort Essence

Up next is a product that uses Mugwort as its top ingredient. 

Features

The Proot Mugwort Essence uses Mugwort, a medicinal herb, that is used by several Korean products to target hormonal acne and blemishes. 

It heals sensitive skin and acne, while madecassoside, another power player in the ingredients list, provides soothing benefits. 

This product is made without artificial fragrance, color additives, and stabilizers. 

This facial essence has been tried by users with skin concerns such as dark spots, fine lines, and dry spots and resulted in overall enhanced skin radiance.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Made with botanical ingredients with Mugwort as its key component.Can cause breakouts in some people. 
Free of artificial colors and fragrance.Thicker consistency than other essences which can feel a little greasy. 
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?

Continuous use of the product diminishes pores’ appearance, detoxifies and purifies skin impurities, and minimizes sebum production.

The key ingredients in this essence include Artemisia Princeps extract (Mugwort), a natural herb, and Leaf extract that work wonders on inflamed skin.

Mugwort Essence | 59.5% Real Mugwort Extract | Treatment for Sensitive & Acne Prone Skin | Formulated with Mugwort Extract, Witch Hazel, Centella Asiatica | Korean Skin Care, Cruelty-Free | 5.0 oz
  • CALM & SOOTH SENSITIVE & ACNE PRONE SKIN - Calm irritated skin with this refreshing, skin-strengthening toner. Proot’s Mugwort Essence hydrates and calms sensitive and acne prone skin and tidies the skin texture while maintaining the optimal pH balance.
  • MUGWORT EXTRACTS – Harvested from the fertile region of South Korea, mugwort extract which has anti-inflammatory properties, helps heal skin sensitivities and acne, while madecassoside provides additional soothing benefits.
  • NATURAL & INNOVATIVE INGREDIENTS – Free of synthetic color additives, fragrance and stabilizers, our Mugwort Essence is packed with natural and innovative formula that helps replenish moisture levels and soothe acne and other irritated skin blemishes.
  • DETOXIFY AND PURIFY SKIN – Our Mugwort Essence works to gently detoxify and purify skin by drawing out impurities, oil and environmental toxins. A powerful treatment to visibly soften texture, reduce the appearance of dark spots and fine lines due to dryness, even the look of skin’s tone, and enhance visible radiance.
  • HOW TO USE - After cleansing in the AM and PM, dispense formula into palms and gently press into face and neck until fully absorbed. Can also be applied with a cotton pad.

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

Pore Tightening Tonic Essence 55ml

If you’re looking for acne-free, healthy skin that works on oily skin types, you’re in luck! 

Features

This is one of the top organic facial essences that is made with ingredients that work great on acne, such as witch hazel, botanical extracts, and natural glycerin to maintain moisture levels. 

The product is formulated without artificial chemicals, preservatives, and fragrances. 

The products are not too invasive and will not result in dry skin. The formula has been infused with organic rose water to restore skin hydration.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Made of all-natural ingredients.Causes breakout in some users. 
Helps reduce the appearance of large pores.Some say the gel is better than the cream.
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?

Thanks to its ingredients, this Korean essence works to reduce the appearance of pores by going deep into the skin and removing dead skin cells. 

isoi Pore Tightening Tonic Essence 55ml - tightening and lifting toner, unclogs pores and cleans out blackheads, natural toner for combination to oily skin, mist, top scoring EWG Verified
  • ✔️ 100% ALL-NATURAL & ORGANIC FACIAL TONER - A base of witch hazel, allantois, and lemon, apple, grapes extracts infused with natural glycerin and moisture-enhancing Bulgarian rose oil to tone, hydrate and restore your skin’s pH balance. We also guarantee the use of Ethanol produced by the fermentation of biomass containing sugar to all of our product. There are no chemicals, no preservatives and absolutely no artificial fragrances
  • ✔️ PERFECT FORMULA FOR PORE-TIGHTENING - Use the facial toner along with pore-perfecting program’s clay mask, serum and ample from isoi to perfectly reduce the appearance of pores. This program will give you a perfect solution for long-lasting poreless skin. Start with facial essence to gently shed dead skin cell. Your face will become more receptive to facial serum, cream, and ampoule!
  • ✔️ EFFECTIVE TREATMENT TONER AT CLEARING OUT & TIGHTENING PORES - For effective pore treatment, it's important to know exactly the root cause. isoi's Bulgarian Rose Pore tightening Toner is specialized into fundamental pore treatment by using certified natural ingredients (Apple cider vinegar, Lemon Juice, Rose Water, Scutellaria baicalensis). These will deeply penetrate into the pores and minimize its appearance.
  • ✔️ GUARANTEED TREATMENT BY AUTHORIZED INSTITUTIONS - For credible pore treatment, it's important to know it is guaranteed by authorized institutions. isoi's Bulgarian Rose Pore tightening Toner is verified by EWG & Dermatests through thorough clinical demonstrations. We are only using certified natural ingredients (Apple cider vinegar, Lemon Juice, Rose Water, Scutellaria baicalensis) These will deeply penetrate into pores for removing pores without causing any skin irritation.
  • ✔️ PERFECT BALANCE OF HYDRATION OF MOISTURIZATION - If you are looking for a toner that can drive moisturization for sebum treatment, isoi's organic rose water skincare products can be a perfect solution for you. These skin-friendly ingredients quickly penetrate into your skin, resulting in a healthy glow and appearance of hydrates. Use this refreshing toner after cleansing to revitalize skin during the day. This ultra toner creates healthy and glowing skin anywhere, anytime!

4. Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence (Best Hydrating Essence)

Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence

Oily skin can be dehydrated too, yeap! That’s a fact. Just because your skin produces oil doesn’t mean it has enough hydration to get by. Enter The Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence.

Features

This product is a toner, essence, and moisturizing lotion that will leave your skin feeling plump and elastic. 

The product contains an advanced form of hyaluronic acid, i.e., sodium hyaluronate, that holds more moisture than water. 

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

How It Compares to Other Products and Why?

Even while providing ample moisturization, the formula has been specially formulated to not clog pores, unlike other products. 

Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence - Hyaluronic Acid, Moisturizing, Glowing, Soft & Fragrance-Free [150 ml]
  • A multi-use high volume essence with a moisturizing effect that works to boosts hydration levels for all skin types. Achieve Korean glass skin.
  • This product is a toner, essence and moisturizing lotion all in one. Application of the essence immediately leaves skin plump, dewy and elastic.
  • Hyaluronic Acid provides moisture to dry and fatigued skin. This essence is also enriched with elastin, collagen and Zostera Marina extract.
  • Keeps skin moisturized, glowing, boosted, balances and soft. Fragrance-free essence is gentle on the skin making it great for all skin types.
  • After cleansing, apply an appropriate amount of essence on a cotton pad or dispense onto hand and gently pat it into the skin. To boost hydration levels, essence can be layered on 2-3 times.

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

MISSHA Time Revolution Artemisia

Missha, a brand that is well known for its time revolution essence, has come up with a formula specifically meant for oily skin. 

Features

Fermented Artemisia Annua Extract, a lightweight Korean essence made with 100% double fermented artemisia works to balance skin and soothe inflamed skin. 

It has been formulated with extracted sweet wormwood that enhances skin moisture and relieves dryness. 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Meant for oily skin that is easily irritated. 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?

Missha never disappoints its consumers and this one is no exception. The lightweight Korean essence works wonders on acne-prone skin. 

Expert Tip

You can even use it as a soothing mask by dampening a few cotton pads with the essence and applying them on the face for 5-10 minutes. 

MISSHA Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence -Double Fermented Artemisia Extract for Soothing Care and Natural Moisturization (150 ML)
  • Concentrate essence formulated with double fermented artemisia annua extract
  • Artemisia helps soothe sensitive skin
  • The first step towards natural miniaturization

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 all 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 products that have artificial colors and synthetics. 

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? 

FAQs

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 to try.

What is Korean Essence skin care?

lady holding her both cheeks

A hydrating essence is a lightweight fluid that is full of moisturizing and anti-aging properties. They are meant to be used on the face and neck right 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 double as both an essence and toner. Using such products can help reduce one step from your routine.

Conclusion

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 on it. And when you find it, holy moly, your skin game’s going to change!

Final Recommendation

Sale
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 3.38 fl.oz / 100ml | Snail Secretion Filtrate 96% | Skin Repair Serum | Korean Skin Care, Cruelty Free, Paraben Free, Alcohol Free
  • The Real Snail Essence: Formulated with 96.3% Snail Secretion Filtrate, this essence repairs and rejuvenates the skin from dryness and aging. It improves skin vitality by reducing dullness and soothing dehydrated skin.
  • Simple Yet Effective Light-weight Essence: A lightweight essence which fastly absorbs into the skin and gives you a natural and healthy glow. Guarantees long-lasting hydration without heavy feeling on the skin.
  • Key Ingredient: Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin"- an EFFECTIVE ingredient for enhanced moisturization. It instantly soothes damaged skin and delivers moisture deep into your skin. Perfect for dehydrated and damaged skin.
  • NO Snails are Harmed: Snail Mucin is obtained in a safe and environmentally friendly way in a favorite environment of snails and then processed as a cosmetic material. 100% Natural, Hypoallergenic, Dermatologist-tested.
  • COSRX Standards: Clean Beauty - All COSRX products are formulated with skin-friendly ingredients that alleviate irritated skin. Hypoallergenic, Dermatologist tested, Cruelty-FREE, Parabens-FREE, Sulfates-FREE, Phthalates-FREE

References

  • “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.
an Asian lady using cotton pad with korean essences for acne-prone skin

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

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. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and FACEBOOK