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The Best Korean Dupes for American Acne Products

If you’re new to K-beauty, you’ve probably been curious about the wide selection of acne products Korean brands offer. These are the best Korean dupes for American acne products.

When you’ve been struggling with acne since you were a teen, it’s natural to be completely devoted to your American standbys. (Hey, we understand the draw that the Neutrogena Rapid Clear line has.) However, there are a bunch of Korean acne products that we think do just as good of a job as American products—with usually way cuter packaging.
American product: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Korean product: Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Anyone with acne loves exfoliating acids, which is why this Paula’s Choice product is a popular favorite. Formulated with salicylic acid and two percent beta hydroxy acid, this exfoliator is a serious pore clearer.
But may we introduce you to the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid? It’s one of the best Korean dupes for American acne products. This essence goes beyond just clearing pores and helps wipe out the appearance of stubborn blackheads. Plus, it costs a good $10 less than the Paula’s Choice exfoliant and it contains double the amount of BHA.
American product: Proactiv+ Green Tea Moisturizer
Korean product: Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
You’ve most likely been devoted to Proactiv for years and this green tea moisturizer is tailor made for sensitive skin, but if you’re looking for a more natural alternative, give the Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel a try. It’s filled with 80 percent aloe extract for extra-soothing benefits. On top of calming skin, it will help fade acne scars faster. Bonus: It’s fragrance free, so it’s perfect for extra sensitive skin types!
American product: Stridex Strength Medicated Pads
Korean product: Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pads

Ever since you were 14-years-old, you’ve been snatching up these Stridex pads from Walgreens, because they’re saturated in salicylic acid, making them super strong and effective. But you know what else they can be? Drying. It’s time for you to graduate to something new.
Enter the Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pads. These pre-soaked pads’ main ingredient is betaine salicylate, a natural alternative to salicylic acid that’s derived from sugar beets. They’re also infused with willow bark extract to keep skin calm and hydrated.
American product: Clean & Clear Advantage Mark Treatment
Korean product: Innisfree Jeju Bija Anti Trouble Spot Essence
Clean & Clear is one of those brands you put your utmost trust in. After all, it’s been a standby ever since your first blemish appeared back in 2000.
But now that you’re older, you should find a spot treatment that doesn’t just douse the pimple in salicylic acid and call it a day. You want a treatment that eliminates the sebum but keeps your skin moisturized at the same time. This Innisfree product contains salicylic acid and torreya seed oil, which helps heal your skin after the salicylic acid does its work. It also has calamine and chlorella extract to soothe and calm skin so there’s no dry, flaky patches or acne scars leftover after any pimples clear up.
American product: Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers
Korean product: Missha Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patch
When you have one of those monster pimples, sometimes the best thing you can do is slap on one of those Nexcare covers that prevents you from touching it. But guess what? Those covers don’t contain any medicine. All they do is cover up the pimple and let the medicine you’ve already put on the pimple seep in.
What you really should look for is an advanced pimple patch, like the Missha Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patches. These genius covers not only provide a shield for your zit, they are also medicated with salicylic acid and tea tree oil to give your blemish the kick it needs to get out of your face.
American product: Clinique Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum
Korean product: Cosrx Centella Blemish Ampoule
Finding the right serum for acne-prone skin can be tricky. You require something that’s going to hydrate you but also effectively prevent breakouts. People love this Clinique serum because it contains both salicylic acid and anti-aging ingredients.
But what if we told you there’s a serum that contains anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients, as well as skin-soothing ingredients for sensitive skin? That’s what the Cosrx Centella Blemish Ampoule has. Cosrx formulated this ampoule for the person who wants a strong blemish-busting serum that will also be gentle on their skin (since it can easily become inflamed). Centella Asiatica Leaf Water—a medicinal herb—is the base of this ampoule and it’s a gentle ingredient that’s perfect for treating small infections as well as aiding in the production of collagen. The result is clear and renewed skin that isn’t red at all.
As someone who suffers from hormonal acne and has really sensitive skin, I personally love this product!
American product: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion
Korean product: Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion
You’ve been using this Neutrogena lotion for years and it’s great! It has every company’s favorite acne-fighting ingredient—salicylic acid—and it contains beeswax to help keep your skin hydrated.
Yet, these days, your skin is craving more moisture. Sure, you still have oily skin (which is why you get breakouts), but you need a product that’s going to keep you moisturized to prevent fine lines. The Cosrx Natural BHA Emulsion combines the power of hyaluronic acid and natural BHAs to keep your skin fully hydrated while also exfoliating to remove dead skin cells. Plus, the base of the formula contains Centella Asiatica Extract Water, which is way more moisturizing than regular water. You’ll never go back to a drugstore lotion again.

+ What are your favorite Korean dupes for American acne products? Let us know below!

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