10-Step Korean Skincare: Holy Grail or Acne Fail?

By: Allana

During the summer, when the need of clear skin had reached its peak, I was so easily persuaded to try anything.  All the buzz was about Korean celebrities and beauty gurus with flawless and poreless skin.  I had remembered seeing pictures of their pale and even toned complexion advertising a complex skin regimen.  It seemed so unfair to have a face full of scars, spots, and tender bumps while these girls had the doll-like skin I couldn’t achieve with foundation.  All of these girls claimed their success was from a 10 step regimen.  Of course, everyone had different Korean products in a slightly different order but mostly everyone followed something like this:

Step 1: Oil cleansing- supposed to remove makeup and surface oils to allow deeper cleansing

Step 2: Water based Cleanser- removes remaining oil and cleanses skin of impurities and dirt

Step 3: Face mask/ Exfoliator- removes dead skin cells and rejuvenates skin

Step 4: Toner- balances the ph, calms redness, prepares skin for next step

Step 5: Essence– the first level of hydration delivers some antioxidants

Step 6: Serum- the real “kick” of the regimen, a treatment that targets specific skin concerns

Step 7: Eye Cream- specific instructions to pat not rub to prevent wrinkles

Step 8: Moisturizer/Sleep Masks- long lasting hydration for the skin

Step 9: Sunscreen- protect the face from UV rays and prevents aging

Step 10: Mist- misting your face throughout the day, keeping skin dewy and soft

From the first look, it doesn’t look that bad, a few extra steps here and there.  However, there are a lot of things in this routine that will aggravate acne and acne-prone skin.  First of all, this regimen calls for double cleansing your skin which can be very drying, which I suppose is why 20 pounds of moisturizing products are used afterward.  I don’t think a toner is necessary for a skin care regimen because most of them contain high amounts of alcohol and fragrance.  

For acne prone skin, the less it is touched the better.  In addition, there really is no treatment for acne included and if it was to be included, all the excess product would highly irritate the skin.  Most of these regimens include a heavy moisturizer which can wreck havoc on oily and acne-prone skin.  

Finally, the use of an eye cream is not necessary because unlike what they advertise, an eye cream can’t get rid of dark circles. All the eye area needs is a fragrance-free moisturizer which the skin on your face should already use.  Seeing the negative aspects there are also good things about this skin care.  The use of an exfoliant can overall improve skin tone and texture and a daily SPF is so IMPORTANT!  With that said I really don’t think people need to have so many steps in skin care, leave your skin be!

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