South Korean Skincare Routine for Oily Acne-prone Skin: Does it Really Help? Part One

Skin Care Denver

By Rene Sacchitella

At the first of the year I will be embarking on incorporating the South Korean skin care regimen that seems to be trending on every one’s beauty blogs and articles. This regimen is a 12 step skin care routine that seems to create the famous glow of every South Korean celebrity. I plan to experiment with this process for 30 days to help see what becomes habitual and what becomes excessive. Does it really help with tone and clarity? Is it possible to do this with my favorite Yon-Ka and Image products? First, let’s breakdown each step.

Step one: Makeup Removal with a Cleansing Oil

This is part of the cultural cleansing process known as the 424 method. It starts with using a cleansing oil for 4 minutes to dissolve all of your makeup and prep the skin for your routine. Everything in the South Korean Skin care routine is focused on being gentle with the skin. While you are massaging the cleansing oil into your skin you want to make gentle circular motions to stimulate circulation. It is important that all of the makeup is removed before moving forward. Take off with lukewarm water and pat drying your skin. This step is believed to have to use the oil to eliminate impurities while keeping your skin hydrated. In the morning you are allowed to skin this step since its purpose is to take off the makeup.

Products: I made my own blend for oily skin by mixing one-third Castor oil and two-thirds Jojoba oil.

Step two: Gentle Foaming cleanser

This step is to be used with a gentle foaming cleanser or a mild cream cleanser in gentle circular motions for precisely 2 minutes. It is also recommended to incorporate a sonic cleansing brush with this step 3 times a week. After the cleansing and rinsing it is important to gently massage your face for an additional 4 minutes. This massage should be sweeping motions starting from the center moving out and up to increase circulation. This helps maintain elasticity and a youthful glow.

Products: Image’s Ormedic Cleanser, or Yonka’s Gel Nettoyant, Clarisonic brush

Step three: Exfoliation

This is where you would normally exfoliate your face about 2-3 times a week. South Korean beauty regimens usually incorporate a mask/scrub for each concern. One day a week is a mask for brightening  pigmentation while the other days a gel mask and an alpha hydroxy scrub are used. It is recommended when it is time to exfoliate that you are addressing the concern that your skin is telling you.

Products: Image’s Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque and Vitamin C Enzyme Masque, YonKa’s Gommage 303

Step 4: Toner

This step is essential to help cleanse off the exfoliator if you used one and helps prep the skin for the rest of the regimen. Applied with a cotton ball, it is imperative to use a toner that is ph balanced and clarifying. Too often in Western skincare we are drawn to toners and other products that are drying and harsh on the skin since culturally we want results. You will actually see better results from a non-alcohol purifying ph balancing toner since you are allowing the skin to absorb the nutrients from the rest of the regimen.

Products: YonKa’s Eau Micellaire

Step five: Essence

Essence is nourishing liquid concentrate filled with anti-oxidants nourishing and enhancing the skin’s cellular renewal process. This step should be used with a alcohol free ph balancing spray filled with essential oils and antioxidants to open up the pores. It is even common for women to mist throughout the day in South Korea with their essences since it is believed to be the most essential part of the skin care regimen.

Products: YonKa Lotion Spray PNG


Step Six: Ampoules

This step is another form of delivering powerful nutrition to the skin. It is also regarded as the anti-aging step of the regimen. This and the previous step gives the skin nutrition and helps the skin defend against free radicals. This silky product should be patted onto the skin in upwards motions to ensure proper absorption.

Products: Yonka’s Juvenil, Image’s Illuma Lightening Serum,

Step 7: Sheet Masque, Sleep Masque or Facial Massage

If you have previously exfoliated, it might be a prime time follow up with a recovery masque. Recovery masques allow for penetration of essential nutrients on deep levels of the skin. You can create a sheet mask for acneic skin with Yonka’s Emulsion Pure and gauze to create the same effect as a sheet masque since the purpose of a sheet masque is to bring nutrients and treat specific issues with essential oils. You can modify this step to be performed after moisturization (step 11), by wearing one of these masques to bed for a stronger effect once a week. If it is one of the off nights where you are recovering from exfoliation from a previous day, it is recommended to massage your face for 5-10 min to allow more absorption for the following steps.

Products: YonKa’s Masque No. 1 and Masque 103, I also did a sheet masque with Yonka’s Emulsion Pure and gauze

Step 8: Eye Cream

Most of us stateside have also come to understand the importance of eye cream. Prevention is the best cure, so healing your delicate skin around the eye with hydrating properties in smaller molecules for effective absorption is key. Apply with your ring finger with gentle pats around the orbital bone to allow the cream to be immersed properly.

Products: YonKa’s Phyto Contour, Image’s Illuma Intense Brightening Eye Cream

Step 9: Spot Treat

If you don’t have acne, you do not have to perform this step. Most people in South Korean have acneic and combination skin. Since that is the case this is the time in the regimen where you would address those concerns. Again, South Korean Spot treatments are potent in salicylic acid but also are not to drying to the skin.

Products: Image’s Medicated Acne Lotion

Step 10: Serum

Since South Korean skin care regimens have a double cleansing, they also have a double the amount of moisturizers to counteract the initial cleansing.  Serums are the first step in moisturizing and are the workhorse in addressing specific skin care concerns.  These concentrated treatments target issues like sun spots, fine lines, acne, and redness.

Products: Image’s Vital C Serum, YonKa Crème 15

Step 11: Moisturizer

The final glowing step is the heavy cream or moisturizer. This product is focuses on locking in the serum and ensuring hydration during the whole night while your skin is in its natural recovery state.

Products:Yonka Phyto 52 or Pamplemousse

Step 12: (final step) Sunscreen:

We all know the benefits of sunscreen but we do have to remind ourselves to apply it in the morning. During the day, the South Korean Skin Care Regimen only performs steps 2(gentle cleanser), 4 (toner), 5(essence), 8 (eye cream), 10 (serum) and 12 (sunscreen). You can simplify in the morning since your skin is freshly nourished from the previous evening’s routine and the choice sunscreen is supposed to be hydrating as well.

Products: Image’s Oil-Free Hydrating Matte Moisture with SPF 32

Again, I will be embarking on this venture for 30 days and after wards I will give my review as well as before and after pictures to see if you think the investment worth it or not too. There are other products that we have that fit these particular steps in case you want to try this at home with a products for your particular skin. You can always ask us by emailing These products I chose in particular are targeted for my oily hormonal acne and post acne scars. I’m excited to start this experiment and hopefully after 30 days my skin will be clear and glowing!

Book an appointment with us today and find out for yourself!

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