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Korean skincare for oily skin
Elena Lezhneva
Korean skincare for oily skin

It’s hard to find two people with exactly the same skin. Have you ever bought a product highly recommended by a few friends and couldn’t find a single good thing about it? That’s right, your skin is uniquely yours, and just to make it harder, it also gets dramatically effected by environmental conditions, stress, and diet.

Here comes the good news! There are common easy signs helping to determine your general skin type and provide basic guidelines how to care for skin. Your job would be to critically observe YOUR skin condition changes and select what’s personally best for YOU.

We put together helpful tips and tricks for common skin types and, hopefully, they will shorten your way to beautiful healthy skin.

Soda Pore Cleansing collection from Holika Holika.

Signs you have oily skin

Your face is shiny with visible oil and you can feel oily residue when you touch your skin;

You have dilated or enlarged pores across the face;

You experience frequent acne breakouts or blackheads.

Advantages and disadvantages of oily skin

Good news first. Oily skin has one significant advantage among other skin types. It has the highest level of protection against negative environmental factors and premature ageing as it is able to produce natural protective lipid film on its own. Sebum produced by your skin helps to maintain its firmness and elasticity and contains anti-bacterial chemical compositions. When your skin is healthy, natural sebum is even better and more valuable care product than any nourishing and moisturizing cream.

Oily skin is usually thicker and stronger, it is less prone to wrinkles and rosacea.

Unfortunately, oily skin also has its disadvantages. Hyperfunction of sebaceous glands involves occurrence of oily sheen, inflammations, acne and dropout of sebaceous glands.

As a rule, we have the most oily skin during the period of adolescence (at pubertal growth stage). However, we can also have oily skin as adults due to genetics, hormonal disorders, pregnancy, dysfunctions of glands of internal secretion, gastrointestinal disorders, and nervous system dysfunctions. In these cases, the key to resolution of oily skin problems is normalizing your internal state. Secondly, it is also very important to care after your skin from the outside. For this purpose, you need to use treatments targeted for oily skin type.

Skin & AC Mild collection by Holika Holika

Treatments for oily skin must have the following main functions:

  • Maintain and balance lipids and acids necessary for skin softness;
  • Eliminate bacteria and remove dirt to allow your skin to breathe;
  • Reduce amount of produced sebum.

  • Similarly to general care system used by Korean women, skincare system for oily skin is also based on multi-stage approach where you should properly follow subsequent steps and apply certain products used for each stage.

    Stage 1. Cleansing

    Cleaning is the most important stage if you have oily skin. It must be carefully performed and its significance should not be underestimated. Oily skin needs to be thoroughly cleaned both in the morning and in the evening. It allows your skin to breath and regenerate. Skin cleaning is divided onto 2 parts. The first part includes removing makeup and superficial dirt by means of cleansing with wet wipes or cleansing oil. Cleansing oils will not clog your pores unlike normal oils, and they are very suitable to for oily skin type.

    The second part is washing your face with cleansing foam. It is important to start washing with moderately hot water in order to open your pores. Then apply necessary amount of foam and properly wash your face. The foam should be washed-off with slightly warm water. As soon as there is no foam left on your face, finish washing with quite cold water to let your pores tighten. Right after washing, apply moisturizing toner.

    If you have oily skin, you need to attentively look at pH level of treatments you use for washing. What is used for washing oily skin should be pH-neutral and non-aggressive as the more aggressive the treatment is, the more intensively your sebaceous glands will work in order to protect your skin against the aggressive influence, consequently, your skin will be even more oily than it currently is.

    Etude House Zero Sebum collection

    Stage 2. Moisturizing

    The best way to moisturize oily skin and achieve the best results are special toners. They refresh your skin, make it look better and prevent the appearance of oily sheen for several hours. As usual, people having oily skin also have enlarged pores. Toners for oily skin help tighten your pores and lock the moisture inside your skin. They do not contain alcohol and are based on different herbal extract having anti-inflammatory and astringent effects which help reduce enlarged pores and inflammations and remove excessive sebum and oily sheen from your face.

    It is a common myth that only dry skin needs intensive moisturizing. In real life, all skin types need to be moisturized. Moisturizing is the main need of any skin, and not a certain skin type. Moreover, when your skin feels a lack of moisture, it starts to produce more sebum in order to create a natural barrier from loss of moisture and negative environmental effects. Therefore, oily skin more than other skin type needs to be properly moisturized.

    Mizon Snail Care for oily and damaged skin

    Stage 3. Nourishing

    Heavy and fatty creams are not recommended for oily skin. The best decision would be moisturizing emulsions with low content of fats and non-fat gels elaborated especially for oily skin. People with oily skin should mostly avoid the following ingredients:

  • Mineral oil;
  • Petrolatum;
  • Coconut butter;
  • Cocoa butter;
  • Isopropyl myristate.

  • In contrast, snail slime is a very suitable ingredient for oily skin, and many Korean brands have a large variety of products for oily skin based on slime.

    The SAEM Urban Eco Waratah collection

    Stage 4. Special care.

    There are several categories of products intended for oily skin:

  • Peelings and scrubs. Do not use scrubs with coarse exfoliative particles as they are too aggressive for oily skin and provoke hyperfuction of sebaceous glands. Oily skin prefers more gentle exfoliation which can be performed by means of peelings based on fruity acids (alpha hydroxyacids) and gently exfoliating keratinized cells without damaging capillaries and irritating sebaceous glands. These peelings are recommended for use twice or three times per week, but not on a daily basis as even the gentlest peeling will aggressively affect your skin and make it more oily if used too often.
  • Cleansing masks. As a rule, these masks are based on natural clay. They contain soothing agents helping to prevent inflammation. They can be used as frequently as your skin requires, but not every day. Ideally, apply them every second day.
  • Steam baths. Steam baths are very beneficial for oily skin. Extracts of chamomile and calendula are usually added in order to calm inflammations and cure acne. This procedure can be performed as a preparatory stage before peeling.

  • Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect collection

    Regular care can improve the state of oily skin and make it cleaner and good-looking. Nevertheless, it cannot change your skin type. You need to regularly maintain normal state of your skin with special treatments, and you must remember that as soon as you give up caring or ignore some important stages of your daily care, your skin will become oily again.

    - Korean Kiwi Beauty 

    All Products for Oily Skin



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    Great article! Look forward to trying some of these products for my oily combo skin.

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