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A Guide to Ingredients in K-Beauty

When buying skincare products one of the biggest challenges we all face is figuring out the ingredients and finding out which one works best for the different skin types and concerns.

In today’s K-beauty article I will take you through some of the most common ingredients you can find in Korean skincare products, and what they do to your skin. 

Vitamin B3:

Known as Niacinamide, this active ingredient works to prevent water loss on the skin and retain its moisture. On top of this, niacinamide is suitable for most skin types, and it is commonly used for sebum control, improving skin texture, hyperpigmentation, and unevenness.

K-beauty products containing Niacinamide:

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is well known for its brightening effects, as well as, promoting elastin and collagen production. This active ingredient protects the skin from irritation of stress caused by UV rays or pollution. 

However, this ingredient is not recommended for those with extremely sensitive skin or people with excessive sebum production. 

K-beauty products that contain Vitamin C: 

Hyaluronic Acid: 

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient that helps maintain the skin moisture and reduces the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, and promotes collagen formation, helping the skin to look plumpy, healthy and smooth.

Hyaluronic acid is great for people with a dry skin type, but generally works well with all skin types by trapping the moisture the skin needs to stay balanced and healthy.

K-beauty products containing Hyaluronic Acid: 

  • COSRX – Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence 
  • Mizon – Hyaluronic Acid Ultra Suboon Cream 

Salicylic Acid:

A common ingredient in acne-fighting products, Salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that helps the skin get rid-off dead skin to reveal brighter and clearer skin, as well as, reducing oiliness. 

This active ingredient is able to penetrate deep into the skin and clear blockages, helping to minimize acne but also prevent its appearance in the first place. 

K-beauty products containing Salicylic Acid:

  • COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid 
  • COSRX Salicylic Acid daily gentle cleanser

Centella Asiatica:

Centella asiatica is a herb used not just for skin care but also culinary purposes. This holy grail of K-beauty helps the skin trap the moisture needed by strengthening its protective barrier, and its antioxidant properties and amino acids help soothe irritated skin.

Cica (Centella asiatica) is one of the most common ingredients in K-beauty, due to its soothing, humectant and healing properties.

K-Beauty Products containing centella asiatica:

Rice Water:

Rice water is another common ingredient in K-beauty, this one is said to protect and heal the skin. This ingredient also works great to minimize skin unevenness. 

In its fermented form, rice water helps to battle enlarged oily pores that cause acne, as well as, blackheads, excessive sebum production, improving skin damage from sun exposure and even has anti-aging benefits.

K-beauty products containing rice water (normal or fermented):

  • The Face Shop: Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil
  • The Face Shop: Rice Water Bright Cleansing Cream

Green Tea:

Green Tea has a great amount of antioxidants which help rejuvenate skin cells as well as fighting redness, inflammation and acne. 

Also containing several vitamins, including vitamin E, this ingredient is also well known for its moisturizing properties.

K-Beauty products including Green Tea:

Tea Tree:

Tea Tree is an essential oil that helps treat acne due to its anti-bacterial and fungal properties. This ingredient is beneficial to oily skin as it helps reduce the excess production of sebum, as well as being healing wounds. 

K-beauty products containing Tea Tree:

We hope this article helps you in finding the right skincare product for your skin concern, and let us know in the comments if you have used any of them and which one is your favourite.

Kathleen Herrera
K-Beauty enthusiast, Drama Lover, Melophile and Foodie, writing about her faves on a daily basis.