After years of using drying acne medications, I noticed that my skin barrier wasn’t in great shape. If you’ve ever dealt with acne in any form, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, you become so focused on drying out your acne, that you forget hydration is also absolutely key. (Ask any dermatologist!) Needless to say, I discovered a little over a year ago that I’d done significant damage to my moisture barrier (live and learn). But every expert I spoke to reminded me how resilient an organ skin is, so if you’re struggling with a similar problem, just know that it will heal.
It has been a bit of a slow process finding the right skincare for me, but I recently got very into K-beauty due to its highly effective formulas that all come at a really affordable price point. A lot of Korean skincare focuses on maintaining a healthy skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier is what keeps bacteria and other aggressors from permeating your skin and causing things like acne. I love this approach because many brands offer acne-clearing formulas that are effective yet gentle and non-drying.
One such brand I found that I’m a huge fan of is Aestura. I recently started using its Atobarrier365 Hydro Essence ($29), and let me tell you, the difference I’ve seen in my skin is astounding. My skin used to become dehydrated really easily, which I think was contributing to breakouts. After adding this essence, I’ve seen such a helpful difference in moisture levels and overall skin health. The best part? It’s only $29! I’d say that’s pretty great for a high-quality formula. Pretty much all the products in Aestura’s acne collection are under $35—a win for both your skin and your wallet. TBH, as a beauty editor, I’ve used less effective products that were three times that price. (Don’t @ me.) I spoke to Jeong-Hwan Kim, Ph.D., senior researcher at Aestura Derma Lab, about the products and how you can help maintain a healthy skin barrier. Read on for what he had to share along with a few of my other favorite K-beauty brands for acne.