BEST K-BEAUTY SKINCARE PRODUCTS FOR FUNGAL ACNE

Been to Seoul, South Korea and what I saw there was really eye-opener. If you see the K-Drama and all the actors & actresses have flawless, poreless and unblemished skin, trust me, those who sold street-food as a living in Seoul, have exactly the same skin. They are fortunate to have such a blessed skin, it’s in their genes.

ME IN SEOUL (CAN YOU GUESS WHERE I WAS?)

However, I do have to admit that their K-beauty skincare products are the best and highly-effective for toners, essences, hydration and sunscreens. They are also great at super fast innovation (new ingredients) and good-looking packaging. As for actives, personally I’d prefer the western brands, (again) based on my experiments.

So, here’s my round up for K-beauty skincare products that are safe for Fungal Acne prone skin.

ESSENCE: AMORE PACIFIC VINTAGE SINGLE EXTRACT ESSENCE, I’M FROM MUGWORT ESSENCE

TONER: SOMEBYMI AHA BHA PHA 30 DAYS MIRACLE TONER, DEAR KLAIRS SUPPLE PREPARATION UNSCENTED TONER

CLEANSER: HEIMISH ALL CLEAN GREEN FOAM, PYUNKANG YUL ACNE FACIAL CLEANSER

AMPOULE: CNP LABORATORY MUGENER AMPOULE, LEEGEEHAAM GROW VITA PROPOLIS AMPOULE (RENAME TO DR CEURACLE ROYAL VITA PROPOLIS 33 AMPOULE)

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

HOW TO KEEP MY FUNGAL-ACNE PRONE SKIN WELL HYDRATED

This post was inspired by Olena Beley’s 3-step moisture method.

Let me explain my current #stayathome battle: clogged pores especially on chin and left cheek, less hormonal acne, and no fungal-acne attack.

For your information, I still try my best to stay away from non-safe for fungal acne skincare products, just because I know that yeast are still inside our lovely skin, waiting for the right time to strike again. So do acne bacteria. But the one that constantly evaporating from our skin is water. They call it TEWL, Transepidermal Water Loss. Just drinking water might not help for this situation. We all need moisturizer for our skin, not to put moisture into them, but to prevent them from evaporating moisture quickly. And Olena said, “Hydrated Skin is less prone to clogging”.

While I still do my other skincare routine, I inserted her 3-step moisture method. It is Water, Humectant, and Emollient. I really hope that if my skin is hydrated enough, maybe my clogged pores problem would be solved for good. Let see, while I will update you guys in a month time.

Here’s how I do it twice daily now (I literally just started, so mind me):

  • Start with water, because we shall never use moisturizer on a clean, dry skin. Instead of plain tap water (which I’m afraid our local water contains lots of unwanted chemicals), I prefer to wet my face after cleansing with Hydrating Toner. I use Abill First Starting Toner (which contains just 4 ingredients and totally feels like good water) that I pour inside a mist bottle, to make it spread nicely rather than just splashing. Making sure skin is only damp not dripping wet.
  • While still damp, apply humectant. Olena recommended Hyaluronic Acid or Sodium Hyaluronate (its’ salt). I use two pumps of Vichy Mineral 89, which contains Sodium Hyaluronate instead of plain HA (later on this matter, as I just found out that some people are reactive to HA).
  • Then quickly apply a pea sized only of emollients to seal the deal. Olena recommended ingredients like Capric Triglycerides or Squalane. Mine is Eau Thermale Avène Tolérance Extreme Emulsion, which contains those two (Capric and Squalane, how convenient).

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

ACTIVES FOR FUNGAL ACNE

Wait, WTH is active? It is the ingredient in a product that addresses our skin concern. It has been proven in a lab by research to change our skin in each of its’ own way.

Check the ingredients’ list on your skincare products, and you might found familiar actives such as Vitamins (A, C & E are the most common ones), Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, AHA, BHA, and Benzoyl Peroxide.

Based on my experience, I’d probably recommend not to use any actives if your fungal acne is still flaring up. The simpler your skincare routine is the better. But, if you decided to add one to your regimen, based on my own personal experiences, I’d recommend these:

MY GO-TO GLYCOLIC ACID

EXFOLIATING ACIDS
Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid & Salicylic Acid. Lactic comes from lactobacillus which you might suddenly think of yoghurt. Well, this specific active might help to control the production of the yeast. Glycolic is a type of AHA (same like Lactic) that’s derived from sugar cane. Salicylic Acid is a BHA, known for reducing acne & keeping pores clear. You have to try which one is the best for your skin, though.

MY GO-TO HYALURONIC ACID

HYALURONIC ACID
Also known as hyaluronan, it’s actually a substance that can also be found in our body and naturally produced by our body. It helps to hold water and keep our skin hydrated and plump.

MY COLLECTION OF NIACINAMIDE

NIACINAMIDE
It is a water soluble derivative of vitamin B3, that help to visibly minimize enlarge pores, improve uneven skin tone and strengthen a weakened surface.

TIPS:

  • The downside of using active ingredients is the risk of potential adverse reactions, so it’s recommended to start with lowest concentration levels of actives.
  • Even though some actives are usually compatible with others, like Niacinamide with AHA, BHA or Vitamin C, better to go solo. Yes, use one active at a time due to FA attack.
  • Stick to the rules on when to apply each of them (day or night or twice in a day), do not go overboard.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

NO MASKNE, PLEASE

Wow, what a cool word invention during this crazy time. Mask + Acne = Maskne. OK, so what can we do about it?

Fortunately, I don’t have this problem myself. I only went out four times since March 2020, just to have meetings for an hour or so. Other than that, I did all my things online. Shop online, groceries online and food delivery online. And I only spent like an hour wearing a mask, so yeah…I don’t have maskne, but I do have regular acne showing up during this pandemic.

But I can imagine those who have to wear mask all day, especially where I live here in Jakarta, Indonesia. The sun is blasting, it’s super hot and humid out there. Mask is not just suffocating us in terms of breathing, but also our skin. It’s like sweat + oil + bacteria trapped for hours on that mask-covered area.

Though I know we can’t get away with it (until God knows when), here are some skincare tips for maskne:

  • Change your mask whenever it gets moist. Personally, I prefer disposable mask, because cloth ones need to be laundered using hot water to keep it effective (and I don’t have the luxury of washing machine with hot water, so nevermind). So far, I use this KF94 mask that I bought online (not cheap because it’s imported from Korea), but it’s the most fitted and comfortable for me.
  • Use gentler skincare options. Use gentler cleanser, hydrating (instead of exfoliating) toner and avoid using harsh exfoliants (avoid scrubs, please).
  • Choose more soothing/calming ingredients and avoid actives if possible. Hyaluronic Acid is my best bet, but some people might love Aloe. Opt for LHA instead of AHA and BHA, it’s a popular alternative with less risk of skin irritation.
  • Texture-wise, opt for gel than lotion or cream.
  • Wait for all of your skincare to absorb first before putting on the mask. Do not rush, make sure they dry completely before you cover your skin with mask.
  • Let your skin breathe while it can at home. Avoid using sheet mask that might irritate them more.
  • Bid adieu to your favorite foundation. Why bother adding another layer that will suffocate your skin further? Opt for concealer to cover any spots, or use tinted moisturizer instead.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

COMBATTING #STAYATHOME CONGESTION

So, we believe we’ve done a good and proper skincare, even when this world looks like it’s going to fall apart. But still, clogged pores are haunting our skin. Welcome to my club!

Whitehead, blackheads, comedo, whatever they name it, that’s our skin being congested. Thanks for the lethal combination of oil, dead skin cells, dirt, debris, and bacteria.

Read on to find out what’s the best & the worst thing that we can do to combat congestion during this crazy time.

SAY BYE TO COMEDOGENIC INGREDIENTS
You can analyze your skincare ingredients on cosmily.com to see if they are comedogenic or not, and then try to part with them gradually. Famous comedogenic ingredients: Butylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, Lanolin.

MY CURRENT SKIN SUPPLEMENT

INSIDE COUNTS
Over-active oil glands can also be triggered by hormones, poor gut health and diet. As much as I hate to say this to myself, try to eat more veggies and fruits. And limit those sugar intake (being a sweet tooth myself). You can also add supplements for skin’s health.

MY HG SUNSCREEN

WATCH OUT FOR THE SUN…SCREEN
Chemical UV-blocking agents might cause clogged pores. Yes, mineral sunscreens and waterproof ones might leave our skin with clogged pores. But do not skip them, like..ever. Again, I recommend to check the ingredients for non-comedogenic sunscreen.

SKIN TREATMENT

  • Always double cleanse at your PM routine. I use cleansing oil with high Linoleic Acid and cleansing gel as second cleanser.
  • Exfoliate. I prefer BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid), a chemical exfoliator that will help loosen dead skin cells. Salicylic Acid is the most common one, so try to look for it in the ingredients list. If you are new with this, try the low dose first (0.5%) then gradually move up to 2%.
  • Use Retinol to increase skin cells turnover. It can also reduce our sebum production.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

COMPARISON REVIEW: HYDRATING FACE MIST (ROSES)

OK, this is tricky, folks. If you ask me “do I need to buy face mist?”, I’d probably say “No”. Because, if you’re on a budget (like me), I personally believe that you don’t need to purchase one. You can easily create your own face mist by putting your regular hydrating toner inside a mist bottle, and voila!

But, if you currently using hydrating toner (the type that you have to pour from the bottle and pat), you’d probably will love using these for their practicality. Let see: pour and pat, OR spray and leave? Which one will you choose?

Both of them are Fungal-Acne Safe (yeay!) and roses scent fans, you can thank me later.

Let’s begin with:

TRILOGY HYDRATING MIST TONER

It’s a NZ brand

Claim: instantly delivers moisture to thirsty skin. Leave skin toned, cooled, hydrated and dewy.

Plus points:

  • Can be use as toner, makeup prep and makeup setting spray.
  • Great for hot humid climates

How to use: Hold at least 30cm away from the face and gently spritz. Allow mist to dry naturally. Or you can spray them onto a cotton pad and wipe.

Price: IDR410K for 100ml

HERITAGE STORE ROSE WATER

It’s an US brand

Claim: calms redness, tones & soothes skin.

Plus points:

  • Minimal ingredients: only two listed, Purified Water and Damask Rose.
  • Formula hasn’t changed since 1969 (very reassuring for me).
  • No coloring, no alcohol, no preservatives, no sulfate and phthalates.
  • Can be used as hair, scalp & body mist.

How to use: Hold at least 30cm away from the face and gently spritz. Allow mist to dry naturally. Or you can spray them onto a cotton pad and wipe.

Price: IDR65K for 59ml

MY THOUGHTS:
– Both of them use essential oils (Trilogy has 3 of them, while Heritage Store only 1), so if you are sensitive to essential oils, better watch out.
– Trilogy gives that dewy look more than Heritage Store (just like they claimed). Dry skin will love Trilogy for its’ hydrating ability.
– Personally, I love to put them inside the refrigerator, for extra coolness on a very hot day.
– Trilogy comes with a glass bottle, while Heritage Store in plastic.
– In term of sprayer, Trilogy is way better than Heritage Store, just make sure not to go overboard while spraying.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

FUNGAL-ACNE SAFE TONER

Unlike some people who don’t think it’s important, I do enjoy using toner and will never stop using it.

Some use toner for that pH balancing purpose, but I believe my skin is clearer (free from oil plugs and such) when I use one. And I can definitely judge the effectiveness of my cleansers, just by looking at how dirty my (soaked with toner) cotton pads. I found it very satisfying.

Personally I prefer toner with no scent and water-like in texture.

Here’s some of my favorite Fungal-Acne Safe Toner, and I include the ingredients analyzed by cosmily.com (which I thought is more detail than skincarisma.com)

DEAR KLAIRS DAILY SKIN SOFTENING WATER
  • Literally like water with no viscosity, no scent too!
  • Perfect to use with cotton pads. No matter how I cleaned my face, my cotton pads will get dirty somehow when I use this toner.
  • Big size (500ml). Perfect size for toner fans like me, and it’s very affordable.
  • It is a gentle exfoliating toner, so I don’t recommend this for toner masking.
  • Great if you have whiteheads and sensitive skin. It didn’t sting at all.
  • No Butylene Glycol inside, so it won’t trigger comedo.
ABILL FIRST STARTING TONER
  • Same thing, literally like water with no viscosity and no scent.
  • Only 4 ingredients inside, which I love.
  • Can be use as first toner with cotton pads, or if you’re using exfoliating toner, use this as hydrating toner with no pads.
  • Or you can use it for toner masking, it is that gentle.
  • Affordable price but not much of my local online shops here carry this brand.
EUCERIN DERMATOCLEAN CLARIFYING TONER
  • Great daily toner, feels just like water with no scent and no viscosity.
  • To be use with cotton pads as first toner. Somehow, I always see dirt left on cotton pads when I use this.
  • Recommended for sensitive skin.
  • It’s a drugstore brand, but they don’t have this officially where I live. But some online shops do carry this from neighbors’ countries like Singapore or Malaysia.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA & SCREENSHOT FROM COSMILY.COM

COMPARISON REVIEW: SUNSCREEN SPRAY

Summer or not, outdoor or not, sunscreen is a must. Even though there are some contradictions out there about how the spray one is not as effective as the lotion one, it’s all about personal preferences.

However, I do keep sunscreen spray for touch up purpose, as it’s more practical, especially on this pandemic situation when dirty hands are our biggest enemy. With sunscreen spray, we can just spray over makeup and no need to blot, let it dry by itself. They won’t mess up our makeup. Just make sure to close your eyes and don’t breathe in while doing so.

And by the end of the day, please take your sunscreen properly with your choice of first cleanser (mine will be cleansing oil). Please don’t just wash them with soap and water to avoid clogged pores.

OK, now on with the review.

KOSE COSMEPORT SUNCUT UV PROTECT SPRAY SPF50+PA++++

It’s a Japanese brand.
Claim: maximum UV protection for complete full-body sun protection. Protect skin and hair from UV damage.
Plus points:

  • waterproof
  • comes off with soap
  • can spray upside down
  • can be used on hair and scalp
  • transparent, no mineral oil and paraben free
  • fragrance-free

How to use: shake the bottle vigorously four to five times and spray evenly at a distance of 10-15cm.
Price: IDR255K for 60gr

BANILA CO HELLO SUNNY WATER ESSENCE SUN SPRAY SPF50+PA++++

It’s a SoKo brand.
Claim: shield & hydrates, enriched with ceramides to impart moisture & ensure sunscreen sticks effectively on skin.
Plus points:

  • also infused with birch tree & spirulina extracts to help nourish & soothe stressed skin.
  • can also be used on body.
  • lightly fragranced.

How to use: after fully shake the bottle, spray for 3 seconds from a distance of 20cm on skin areas exposed to UV rays.
Price IDR370K for 150ml

MY THOUGHTS:

  • First of all, (unfortunately) both of them are not Fungal-Acne safe. But since they’re sitting on top of everything, I don’t mind at all and both didn’t trigger my FA either.
  • Both come in an aluminium bottle, KOSE has small ball inside for easier shaking purpose. Obviously BANILA CO is more attractive in terms of packaging, just look at that bright orange shade.
  • Both also contain alcohol, which I believe to make them dry faster. But again, I don’t mind at all and they didn’t irritate or dry out my skin.
  • In fact, speaking of dryness, BANILA CO is faster to dry than KOSE.
  • But, in term of shine & glow, KOSE gives more shiny effect on skin (great for dry skin). For oilier skin, I think BANILA CO will work greatly.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

VEGAN & FUNGAL-ACNE SAFE SERUM/AMPOULE

Disclaimer: this is not a comparison review, but both are Vegan.

I agree when someone said “Serum is like the Couture of skincare”. And just in case you are still wondering, serum and ampoule are basically the same. Both belong to the same step, after essence and before emulsion/moisturizer. But I believe, ampoules are slightly thicker than serums, so in accordance with the thinnest to thickest rule, always apply serum before ampoule. And according to Director Pi, if you already use Essence in your skincare routine, you can skip the Ampoule.

ALPHA-H VITAMIN B WITH COPPER TRIPEPTIDE SERUM
You know how I love their Liquid Gold, so when Sephora Indonesia had a (rare) sale, I know I have to purchase this too. This vitamin serum contains powerful natural antioxidant Chia to assist in plumping and hydrating, plus Ferulic Acid (extracted from Rice Bran Oil) to help diminish the appearance of uneven skin tone. And of course, it has Niacinamide (you know it’s my favorite too) and Copper Tripeptide (Copper with Amino Acids) to prevent premature ageing and promote elasticity.

They recommend to apply twice daily, but considering the hefty price tag, I’m using this at my PM routine. I can say this is the ‘do it all’ serum for me, for its’ ability to prevent moisture loss, regulates excess oil, boost skin immunity and reduce hyper-pigmentation.

Price IDR787K for 25ml

Full Ingredients List:
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Niacinamide, Methyl Gluceth-20, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Wheat Amino Acids, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Lactobacillus Ferment, Copper Tripeptide-1, Hydroxyproline, CI 42090 (Blue 1)

ROVECTIN LHA BLEMISH AMPOULE
I guess this launch earlier this year, but stay under the radar. But I believe this deserve some attention, people!

It doesn’t use purified water as their main ingredient, but they use 85% of Neroli Flower Water Extract, known to help soothe and calm skin with its anti-inflammatory properties.

As the name stated, it contains LHA, excellent yet gentle exfoliant (with pH 5.5) to combat clogged pores. So gentle, it can be use day and night everyday.

Texture is thick like a light gel, that’s why it’s easy to use as a spot treatment. But, I dislike the droplet as it’s slightly hard to pick up, and the size (it’s only 15ml). Other than that, I love everything about this ampoule. It instantly calms down the redness of a huge pimple within hours. Might be a bit sticky at the first application but after it absorb, it feels like nothing on my skin. Will definitely repurchase this, and using it only as a spot treatment.

Price IDR252K for 15ml

Full Ingredients List:
Citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower water, propanediol, 1, 2-hexanediol, methylpropanediol, niacinamide, purified water, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, glutathione, hyaluronic acid, capryloyl salicylic acid, hyrolyzed hyaluronic acid, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, panthenol, carbomer, glycerin, raspberry ketone, hydroxyethyl urea, hydroxyethylcellulose, tromethamine, ethylhexyglycerin, allantoin, hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, butylene glycol, benzyl glycol, beta-glucan, hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin, disodium edta, plant-based ethanol.

TIPS:

  • First timer of using serum/ampoule? Try them as spot treatment first, then gradually apply on the whole face if needed.
  • Use it after cleansing & toning steps. Usually I need 3-4 drops for the entire face, but you can adjust accordingly.
  • If you’re not a dropper expert, just drop them on your hand and gently press onto skin.
  • If you’re using hydrating toner (the viscous one), use serum first than your hydrating toner.
  • You can layer with other serum if you wish. My safest bet is Hyaluronic Acid Serum/Booster.
  • Let the serum/ampoule sink fully into skin before moving on to other steps/layers.
  • Personally, I think it’s best to apply them in an air-conditioned room. Somehow, I feel like they absorb better and won’t sting in colder temperature.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA