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Breakouts, scarring, breakouts, scarring…so goes the acne cycle. Often times, we bust out the SOS acne kit after a breakout has already occurred to help the breakout go away faster. However, wouldn’t it be great if you could get ahead of that cycle, and prevent the breakouts altogether in the first place?  Here are our top 5 topical tips to help keep those breakouts far away:

  1. Cleanse skin the right way
  2. Hydrate skin without clogging pores
  3. Keep the skin barrier happy
  4. Exfoliate (unglue dead skin cells and purge pores) without hurting skin
  5. Protect with the 3 A’s: Anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, anti-bacterials

Cleanse skin the right way
Keeping skin clean the right way comes down to two things: 1) Don’t irritate skin 2) Truly cleanse deep down into pores. We haven’t found a more effective way to cleanse than the iconic two-step cleansing process that’s so popular in Korea:

Step 1: Use an oil-based cleanser to massage slowly into skin and melt the oil-based impurities.
Step 2: Use a water-based cleanser to gently remove remaining impurities.

That oil-based step is considered critical. For those with oily-skin, it is easy to balk at using oils on your face, but oil attracts oil, so it’s one of the best ways to get the oil-based impurities out of the pores.

After using an oil cleanser, follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove all residual impurities. For acne-prone skin, use a low pH cleanser as the second step. This way, your skin barrier isn’t disrupted, which helps keep the bacteria out that can result in acne. Without this proper cleansing, impurities stay trapped in pores and a breakout becomes inevitable. At the same time, if you cleanse too harshly and disrupt the skin barrier, your skin is compromised and can get infected (e.g. break out) more easily. This easy two-step process can go a VERY long way with helping to prevent breakouts altogether.


  1. Shangpree S-Energy Cleansing Gel: melts makeup and is super gentle. Best for dry to combination skin types.
  2. Cremorlab Cleansing Gel Oil: melts makeup, gentle, mineral-rich. Best for all skin types, and oily skin types especially love this one since it’s easy greasy.


  1. Shangpree S-Energy Facial Mousse Cleanser: can also be used as a 5-minute mask to help plump and brighten skin, while cleansing skin with a boost of hydration
  2. Atopalm Moisturizing Facial Cleansing Foam: #1 brand recommended by dermatologists in Korea for that perfectly hydrating, soothing, gentle cleanser that gets everything off without disrupting the skin barrier.


What does hydrated skin have to do with acne? When skin is dehydrated, more sebum is produced to overcompensate. Sebum is like food, in a way, for the acne bacteria. And of course, acts like a sticky glue trap to keep dead skin cells and impurities trapped in pores. Also, dehydrated skin can result in pro-inflammatory responses. This can result in either exacerbating breakouts or even triggering breakouts. In short, skin needs to be “well-watered” to function optimally and prevent breakouts. Drinking water doesn’t actually hydrate skin. As an aside, do, however, make sure to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day as your body also can have a pro-inflammatory response when dehydrated. And you want to basically keep inflammation at bay when it comes to acne…and lots of other ailments! To topically hydrate skin effectively without clogging pores, we love essences as they’re very watery, typically non-comedogenic and is and packed with humectants that draw moisture to the skin.


How to Prevent Acne: Cleansing and Hydrating Blemish-Prone Skin
  1. Hyaluronic Acid 100 – super silky and fast-absorbing. Powerful, packed with hyaluronic acid that occurs naturally in the body. Holds 1,000 times its weight in water! Has 50% hyaluronic acid. A must-have. Great for all skin types. In fact, we might add that ALL skin types would benefit from this invisible, lightweight powerhouse.
  2. Atoclassic Real Tonic Soothing Origin Essence – sodium hyaluronate draws water to the skin, but the real hero is the “hanbang” ingredients that drench skin with hydration, but also soothes and helps calm redness. Angry, acne-prone skin? Sensitive skin? This is a winner for your hydrating needs.
  3. Peach & Lily Good Skin Day Mask – need hydration FAST? Use a sheet mask. This one is formulated to literally soak skin with all the hydration skin needs to get results ASAP. To boot, chia seed, centella asiatica, pumpkin and more (a medley of 16 SuperSkin Ingredients) work together to also rebalance and nourish skin with necessary vitamins.

Next, find out how to keep your skin barrier intact and how to exfoliate dead skin cells without compromising your complexion.

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