By incorporating a Korean serum for oily skin into your skincare routine, you’ll not only control oil but also see other benefits depending on the serum formula, like brighter skin, fewer wrinkles and fines lines, and fading acne scars.
You may have oily skin that sometimes gets dehydrated or combination skin that struggles with both oily skin and dry skin at the same time.
Luckily, Korean beauty brands have you covered. Many of these Korean serums for oily skin work for more than one skin type.
Let’s take a look at some of the best Korean serums for oily skin:
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14 Best Korean Serums for Oily Skin
1. SkinFood Peach Sake Pore Serum
Best-selling SkinFood Peach Sake Pore Serum from K-Beauty brand SkinFood combines Japanese sake and peaches to reduce the appearance of pores and control excessive oil production.
Rice ferment filtrate (sake) contains vitamins and amino acids that moisturize your skin and support a healthy skin barrier.
They also contain antioxidants that protect your skin from oxidative stress from UV radiation. Prunus persica (peach) fruit extract can help balance oil production.
Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract brightens the skin and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Centella asiatica extract heals and helps to reduce inflammation.
This serum is PERFECT for oily skin and acne-prone skin because it sinks in quickly and leaves a powder-like matte finish on the skin and smooths my skin texture.
Its elegant texture feels more like a luxury beauty brand serum. It keeps oil in check all day and if you like fragrance, its sweet peachy scent is addictive.
I absolutely love this serum and it’s my pick for the best Korean serum for oily skin.
2. COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule
COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule contains an 83% concentration of Black bee propolis extract to nourish and repair damaged skin.
This ampoule (which is a concentrated serum) helps to soothe reddened and irritated skin from blemishes, acne, post-acne marks, and dryness.
Black bee propolis extract contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. This makes it ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.
The ampoule contains only 10 other ingredients, such as glycerin and betaine, which moisturize the skin. Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, hydrates, and plumps the skin.
Cassia obtusifolia seed extract and panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) soothe the skin. Arginine is an amino acid and Natural Moisturizing Factor that moisturizes the skin.
The serum is incredibly light and non-greasy. It is very helpful for breakouts and irritated sensitive skin. It calms while gently hydrating and soothing the skin.
For more on my experience with this ampoule, please see my COSRX Propolis Light Ampoule review.
3. Cos De Baha Niacinamide 10 Serum
Cos De Baha Niacinamide 10 Serum contains 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc to reduce the look of pores, balance oil production, reduce breakouts and blemishes, and improve uneven skin tone.
The serum contains 78% total organic ingredients.
The serum helps to restore a compromised skin barrier and soothe irritated, reddened, and sensitive skin.
Niacinamide also targets the visible signs of aging and helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and reduce the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Dipotassium glycyrrhizate (licorice) and zinc PCA balance oil production. Zinc PCA also targets bacteria that cause acne. Witch hazel leaf extract offers antibacterial and astringent benefits.
Allantoin, derived from the comfrey plant, soothes and repairs the skin. Sodium hyaluronate hydrates and attracts moisture.
The serum is rich in soothing and healing organic Aloe barbadensis leaf extract from the aloe vera plant which is moisturizing and helps to reduce inflammation.
This non-greasy Korean niacinamide serum is brightening, balancing, and very affordable. The formula is paraben-free, colorant-free, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, and never tested on animals.
The serum protects, soothes, and moisturizes the skin, and even helps to reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Found in many Korean skincare products, snail secretion filtrate heals and repairs the skin. It even helps smooth fine lines on photoaged skin.
Anti-aging peptides improve skin firmness and elasticity. Adenosine helps restore the skin barrier and can help improve collagen production thereby improving skin elasticity.
Panthenol (pro-vitamin B-5) reduces inflammation and moisturizes the skin. Hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate keeps the skin hydrated.
The texture of the serum is thick and elastic and deeply moisturizing. It pairs well with Mizon’s All in One Snail Repair Cream, a very lightweight cream perfect for oily skin that also contains snail secretion filtrate and targets wrinkles and blemishes.
This serum is artificial coloring-free, fragrance-free, and paraben-free and can be used by those with sensitive skin.
5. COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum
COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum is ideal for oily and acne prone skin helping to reduce the look of acne, dark spots, and scars.
It works to control excessive sebum production and balance the skin’s natural pH level with COSRX’s proprietary centella complex, CentellAC-RX.
The complex treats acne and offers healing benefits. Madecassic acid, asiaticoside, and asiatic acid work to calm and heal skin damage previously incurred by acne.
Niacinamide is included at a 4% concentration to balance oil production, reduce dullness and hyperpigmentation and reduce the visible signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
Melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil, also known as tea tree oil, is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. This study found that participants who used sunscreen with tea tree oil and resveratrol had less oiliness after 30 days.
EGF boosts collagen and elastin production and Ceramide NP moisturizes and strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
This Korean face serum is ideal for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin. It absorbs quickly without any tackiness or stickiness.
As a bonus, it helps to fade post-acne scars and other discoloration.
The serum is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, and paraben-free. For my complete review, please see COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum Review.
6. SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum
SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum addresses multiple skin concerns while brightening and hydrating the skin.
It helps to minimize the visible signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines, fades hyperpigmentation and sunspots, and helps prevent breakouts and minimize the look of acne scars.
The serum contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable vitamin C derivative that provides the same benefits as pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
This serum brightens the skin, fades dark spots, stimulates collagen production, and offers antioxidant benefits such as photoprotection (cellular protection) from damaging UV rays.
Plus, it can help with acne and breakouts. This study found that sodium ascorbyl phosphate had results comparable to 5% benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne.
Additional ingredients include antioxidant ferulic acid, soothing vitamin E, and healing Centella asiastica extract. Witch hazel offers astringent and antibacterial properties.
This vitamin C serum is light enough to be used by those with oily skin. Regardless of your skin type, applying an antioxidant-rich vitamin C serum during the day will provide many protective benefits for your skin. (For additional UV protection during the day, don’t forget the sunscreen!)
Related Post: Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum Review
7. TIA’M Vita B3 Source
TIA’M Vita B3 Source is formulated with 10% niacinamide plus 2% arbutin to brighten, reduce hyperpigmentation, and even out skin tone.
Ideal for dullness, discoloration, and dark spots, this brightening serum nourishes your skin with niacinamide.
Niacinamide is a multi-benefit ingredient that helps reduce uneven skin tone, calm redness and inflammation, balance oil production, soften fine lines and wrinkles, and strengthen your skin barrier.
Arbutin is derived from the bearberry plant and works to reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin (pigment) in our skin.
This niacinamide serum also contains dipotassium glycyrrhizate and allantoin to soothe and calm your skin. Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate) helps keep your skin hydrated.
Trehalose and panthenol moisturize your skin while keeping it hydrated.
TIA’M Vita B3 Source is perfect for oily acne prone skin types thanks to its lightweight formula that absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving a greasy residue.
8. Anua Peach 70 Niacin Serum
Anua Peach 70 Niacin Serum is a 70% peach fruit extract serum that contains 5% niacinamide to help fade hyperpigmentation, minimize your pores, and strengthen your skin barrier.
Niacinamide is perfect for oily skin since it helps to reduce excess oil production.
Peach flower extract and a blend of natural oils (safflower seed oil and chia seed oil) nourish and hydrate your skin. Centella asiatica extract helps reduce inflammation and calm irritation.
Alpha arbutin and turmeric are two actives that pair with niacinamide to boost its brightening effect. Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, helps keep your skin hydrated.
Lactobacillus ferment is a probiotic-derived ingredient with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits and can even help with acne.
This serum has a lightweight gel-like consistency that absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving behind any greasy residue.
Please note there is added fragrance in this niacinamide serum that is a light fruity peach-like scent.
9. Some By Mi Aha.Bha.Pha 30 Days Miracle Serum
Some By Mi Aha.Bha.Pha 30 Days Miracle Serum is a solution for angry (and oily) skin. It contains 10,000 ppm (which stands for parts per million) of tea tree leaf water to control sebum (oil) production.
It also contains 14.77 % of Centella asiatica extract to heal and soothe the skin.
The trio of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), BHA (beta hydroxy acid), and PHA (poly hydroxy acid) clear away dead skin cells and other impurities that cause clogged pores and breakouts and worsen acne.
This also improves the oil-moisture balance in the skin.
Skin appears smoother and brighter and moisture is restored. This Korean skincare product has a low-pH formula, has been tested for skin irritation, and can be used by those with sensitive skin.
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a vitamin C derivative, brightens the skin and fades hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
This derivative is stable and does not irritate the skin like pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid). It also offers antioxidant benefits and boosts collagen synthesis.
Camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) extract is filled with antioxidants that protect the skin from free radical damage from UV rays.
These antioxidants also offer anti-aging benefits and help to smooth the skin and boost skin firmness and elasticity. Green tea is also an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, which helps with acne and breakouts.
This lightweight essence-type Korean serum is ideal for oily and acne-prone skin or if you are having an issue with excess sebum production or large pores.
11. Benton Tea Tree Serum
Benton Tea Tree Serum contains tea tree leaf water and tea tree leaf oil from Korea, which are both ideal for an oily skin type. These ingredients help balance the oil-water balance in your skin.
Tea tree has many additional benefits. It is an anti-inflammatory and helps to soothe irritated and sensitive skin (in a diluted solution). It also has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.
Tea tree oil can even help treat acne. Research has found that 5% tea tree oil gel had comparable results on mild to moderate acne as 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. While tea tree was slower at the onset of action, side effects were fewer when using the tea tree oil gel.
Betaine, an amino acid derived from beets, moisturizes the skin. Dipotassium glycyrrhizate, also known as licorice, soothes the skin and helps to balance sebum (oil) production.
Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, hydrates and plumps the skin while panthenol soothes and repairs the skin.
The gel serum absorbs quickly and has a very light natural tea tree scent. It hydrates, balances, and soothes oily skin.
12. Beplain BHA Peeling Ampoule
Think of ampoules as super-charged serums.
They are very similar to serums but have higher concentrations of active ingredients. Beplain BHA Peeling Ampoule contains salicylic acid to remove pore-clogging impurities, tighten pores and reduce sebum by increasing cell turnover and exfoliating dead skin cells.
The ampoule serum also contains 80% Camellia sinensis leaf water, which soothes irritated skin and combats the premature signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
Anthemis nobilis flower extract offers anti-inflammatory benefits and sodium hyaluronate improves hydration and moisture retention.
Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and beta-glucan which moisturize and nourish the skin.
The serum leaves your skin brighter, smoother, and with improved clarity.
This clean K-Beauty serum should be used in the evening and can be used 3-4 times per week.
Since salicylic acid may cause sensitivity to the sun, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher while using this product and for 7 days after.
Related Post: Dr. Belmeur Skincare Review
Niacinamide helps balance oil production, smooth wrinkles, and fade hyperpigmentation while strengthening the skin barrier. Licorice root helps lighten the skin and also offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
Green tea extract protects the skin from damage, irritation, and reddening from UV radiation exposure. It also offers anti-aging benefits, is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Centella asiatica extract soothes and heals the skin.
Vitamin C derivative ethyl ascorbic acid is a stable and non-irritating alternative to pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that may also offer antioxidant protection, increase collagen production and fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots like pure vitamin C.
Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) and adenosine soothe and repair the skin.
14. I Dew Care Juicy Kitten Purifying Power-Green Face Serum
Like a green juice for blemish-prone skin, I Dew Care Juicy Kitten Purifying Power-Green Face Serum contains kale leaf, spirulina, and chlorella to balance, soothe and purify combination, oily, and acne-prone skin.
This serum also contains powerhouse multi-benefit active niacinamide (vitamin B3).
Research has shown that niacinamide, in the form of 4% nicotinamide gel, offers comparable results to 1% clindamycin gel in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to balance sebum (oil) production.
Niacinamide also helps to improve collagen production, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, strengthen the skin barrier and fade hyperpigmentation.
Salix alba bark extract, also known as willow bark extract, is often considered a natural alternative to salicylic acid.
It provides a mild exfoliation for the skin while reducing sebum production. It also contains antioxidants that offer anti-aging benefits.
Centella asiatica extract and Curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract offer anti-inflammatory and healing benefits.
This study found that turmeric root extract can help regulate sebum production in human skin which makes it very helpful for those with oily skin.
Zinc PCA is another active that helps to regulate sebum production and reduce the bacteria that cause acne.
Please note that there is fragrance in this green-hued serum. The serum is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or silicones.
Ingredients To Look For In A Korean Serum For Oily Skin
When choosing a Korean serum for oily skin, there are certain ingredients you should consider to ensure that the serum is not only effective but also tailored to your specific skin needs.
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients to look for:
- What it does: Also known as Vitamin B3, it helps to balance oil production and reduce inflammation.
- Benefits: Reduces sebum production, diminishes the appearance of large pores, and improves skin barrier function.
Salicylic Acid (BHA)
- What it does: Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that deeply penetrates your pores, exfoliating inside the pore lining. This helps unclog pores, thus reducing breakouts and blackheads.
- Benefits: Reduces acne, minimizes pore appearance, and aids in the removal of excess sebum.
- What it does: Reduces inflammation, unclogs pores, and has antibacterial properties.
- Benefits: Helps in treating acne, reduces redness, and can also help in treating rosacea.
- What it does: Attracts moisture to the skin, ensuring hydration without adding oil.
- Benefits: Keeps skin hydrated, plump, and youthful without making it greasy.
Bentonite Clay and Kaolin Clay
- What it does: These clays absorb excess oil and draw out impurities from the skin.
- Benefits: Detoxifies your skin, reduces shine, and helps in preventing breakouts.
Retinoids (i.e., Retinol, Retinal, Tretinoin)
- What it does: Increases cell turnover and reduces the cohesion of epithelial cells, preventing clogged pores.
- Benefits: Reduces acne, wrinkles and fine lines, and boosts collagen production.
- What it does: Regulates sebum production and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Benefits: Helps reduce acne breakouts and controls oiliness.
Tea Tree Oil
- What it does: A natural antiseptic that helps in reducing inflammation and fighting acne-causing bacteria.
- Benefits: Helps treat and prevent pimples, soothes the skin, and reduces redness.
Green Tea Extract
- What it does: Contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Benefits: Helps reduce sebum production, fights acne, and protects the skin from environmental damage.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
- What it does: Exfoliates the skin’s surface, promoting cell turnover.
- Benefits: Reduces the appearance of large pores, brightens the skin, and helps in fading scars and discoloration.
- What it does: Helps to dry out blemishes and reduce oiliness.
- Benefits: Prevents and treats breakouts, reduces shine, and can help exfoliate the skin.
- What it does: Acts as an astringent to minimize the appearance of pores and reduce oiliness.
- Benefits: Helps tighten your skin, reduces inflammation, and can have a soothing effect on your skin.
These are just some of the effective ingredients for oily skin to look for in a Korean serum.
Always remember to introduce new ingredients gradually and monitor your skin’s response. There is such a thing as overdoing it. You don’t need to use all these ingredients at once.
It’s also essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, especially when using exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs, and retinoids, as these can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
The Best Korean Serums for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you know it can be challenging to find a serum that addresses your skin concerns but doesn’t worsen your oily skin.
These Korean serums for oily skin are formulated to keep oil in check without sacrificing performance and effective results.
Whether you follow a complex Korean skincare routine or prefer a simple routine, pair one of these serums with a Korean moisturizer for oily skin, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier balanced complexion.
For more of the best Korean products, be sure to check out these posts:
Thanks for reading, and until next time, here’s to your good skin health!