best korean exfoliator

Here Are The Best Korean Exfoliators Of 2023 | 8 Products For Blemish-Free, Clear Skin

Find out which are the best Korean exfoliators right now. These exfoliators are good for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin and dry skin too. I’ve included scrubs and peeling gels in my review too.

Even with the best K-beauty products, your skin can still look dull and tired. The reason for this is the dead skin cell layer.

Using the best Korean exfoliator can help remove this layer and bring out the natural glow on your skin. 

Skin cells die, new cells take their place – it’s a perfectly natural process! Exfoliation is the process of removing these dead skin cells to make the fresh skin under them visible. 

Korean ExfoliatorsBest ForChief Ingredients
Neogen Dermalogy Bio-peel Gauze Peeling LemonSensitive Skin Lemon Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Papaya Extract, Grapefruit Extract
Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off ExfoliatorDry SkinStrawberry Extracts, Meadowfoam Extracts, Shea Butter, Lanolin
Cosrx Chemical Exfoliator BHA Blackhead Power LiquidAcne Prone SkinWillow Bark Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, 4% BHA
TonyMoly Floria Brightening Peeling GelSkin BrighteningLotus Flower Ferment Water, Pearl Powder, and Coconut Extracts
Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling GelBlackheadsLemon Water, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Donkey Milk
Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep WaterOpen PoresMandelic Acid 5%, Panthenol, Beta Glucan
Mizon Apple Smoothie Peeling GelFine Lines and WrinklesApple Fruit Extract, Grapefruit Extract, Watermelon, Orange, Houttuynia Cordata Extract
Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay MaskOily SkinVolcanic Ash, Silica, Green Tea, Orchid Extract

Exfoliators helps with clogged pores and brighten complexions as well. And they leave your skin looking and feeling younger too.

There are several exfoliators and body scrub products in the market today. There are pads, toners, scrubs, chemical peels, and more. 

Confused as to which exfoliators are the right products for your skin type? Take a look at the best Korean exfoliator list below!

What is the best Korean exfoliator?

After much research and looking at the user’s reviews, we’ve found out that the best Korean exfoliator is the Neogen Dermalogy Bio-peel Gauze Peeling Lemon Pad. It comes in the form of travel-friendly pads that can be used anywhere. A mix of physical and chemical exfoliators, this Neogen exfoliator suits most skin types. A lot of Korean skincare users swear by its vitamin-C rich formula. 

How To Choose The Best Korean Exfoliator?

Chemical Exfoliators Vs Physical Exfoliators

The main ingredients in face scrubs are either chemical exfoliators and physical exfoliators.

Chemical exfoliators are acids or enzymes that help dissolve the loose dead skin cells on your face while physical exfoliators are small granules that have a polishing effect.


The two chief chemical exfoliators are AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acids. AHAs include glycolic acid, citric acid, and lactic acid, BHA includes salicylic acid.

These do not just remove the dead skin cells, but also help unclog pores, increase cell turnover, reduce hyperpigmentation, and decrease fine lines and wrinkles.


While choosing a Korean exfoliator, make sure you select the right concentration of AHAs and BHAs. I would suggest a product that has at least 1-2 percent of BHA and 4-10 percent of AHA.

Also, make sure that the overall pH of the exfoliator is not less than 5 to 6.5 as these products can get quite harsh and leave your skin irritated.

Physical exfoliants

Physical exfoliants are often small particles of clay, silica, walnut shells, salt, sugar, coffee grounds, beads, rice bran, or pumice stones.

These can be used in addition to an exfoliating mitt, a facecloth, face brush, or a Konjac sponge.

A lot of people avoid physical exfoliants as they are thought to be harsh. But if you want a thorough cleanse you should go for it.

Try a milder formula or use a peeling gel instead of a scrub with granules or beads.

Korean exfoliant

Select The Right Formula For Skin Type

Oily Skin

A physical exfoliator is usually the best choice for oily skin.

Salicylic acid also helps as it’s great unclogging pores and removing bacteria that cause acne.

You can also look for products with non-comedogenic oils like jojoba oils that do not clog pores.

Dry skin

Cream and oil-based exfoliants are better for dry skin than other gel-based ones.

When it comes to acids, glycolic acid and lactic acid are better for dry skin as they help retain moisture on skin.

Another thing to remember is to never use a physical and chemical exfoliator together if you have dry skin.

Sensitive Skin

Physical exfoliants, especially those with larger granules (such as sugar scrubs) are not ideal for sensitive skin as it can cause micro-tears and irritation.

You can for AHAs and BHAs in lower concentrations, but the best acids to use would be poly-hydroxy acids or PHAs as these act as humectants and retain moisture.

The common types of PHAs are gluconolactone and lactobionic acid.

Look At the Other Ingredients

There are several ingredients in skincare that are best avoided and others that help your skin.

Make sure the Korean exfoliant doesn’t have ingredients like sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, parabens, etc. that are known to cause harm to your body and skin.

Some people with sensitive skin might not like ingredients like synthetic fragrances and alcohol either. And these are also best avoided.

On the flip side, aloe vera, snail mucin, hyaluronic acid are ingredients that are generally used to help add moisture and soothe skin.

So you can choose exfoliants that contain these ingredients along with AHA, BHA, and PHAs.

Can I exfoliate my face daily?

No, not really. Yeah, Korean skincare products are really mild and all that. But even the best Korean exfoliator is still an exfoliator.

Using it too many times a week can be abrasive on your skin, especially if you’re using a scrub or a peel. 

Keep the scrubbing limited to 2-3 times a week. And even less if you’ve got sensitive, acne-prone skin. Another word of advice is to be gentle with your skin.

The scrub shouldn’t feel like sandpaper. Massage it gently on the face and body, and don’t use too much pressure as it can hurt your skin cells. 

We also suggest using a chemical exfoliator like glycolic acid or salicylic acid for sensitive skin. 

There are several gentle exfoliants with active ingredients like pineapple, panthenol, tea tree extracts, rice bran extracts, and more that remove dead cells from your face easily.

Avoid physical exfoliators with harsh ingredients like walnut shell powder as it can lead to irritated skin and the formation of pimples.

What are the benefits of exfoliating your skin?

Your skin cells are born, grow old and die and new cells are formed in their place. But the old, dead skin cells can form a layer on your skin if not removed properly.

This leads to your face looking dull, rough, and coarse. It can also trap in oil, dirt, and other impurities, leading to acne breakouts, whiteheads, blackheads, and more.

Using a facial exfoliator can help prevent this from happening.

So the benefits of using an exfoliator can be summed up as follows:

  • It unclogs your pores
  • It helps hydrate your skin
  • Brings out brighter skin tone
  • Helps with pigmentation
  • Reduces fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of ageing
  • Stimulates collagen production in skin cells
  • Smoothens skin texture
  • Reduces the size of pores
  • Prevents acne breakouts
  • Increases the effectiveness of other skin care products

What are the types of Korean exfoliators?

If you picture a rough, beaded scrub every time you think of the word ‘exfoliator’, you might be mistaken. There are several types of Korean exfoliators. Some of them include:

  • Scrub/Wash-Off Exfoliator: A scrub is the most basic type of exfoliator. You might have even used it before. It’s usually in the form of a paste or gel that contains tiny granules or beads that help in the exfoliation process. Most Korean body exfoliators are of this type. 
  • Exfoliating Masks: Exfoliating masks are another type of physical exfoliator. These are similar to regular face masks, except that they contain clarifying ingredients such as activated charcoal or clay. These ingredients absorb the dead skin layer and impurities from the face. 
  • Peeling Gel or Cream: This is a type of chemical exfoliator. They use AHA (glycolic acid), BHA (salicylic acid), LHA, and PHA, to remove the dead skin layer. Fruit enzymes are most commonly used to get these chemicals. Peeling gels and creams are great for sensitive, acne-prone skin that can get irritated with the physical action of scrubbing.  
  • Peeling Pads: Peeling pads are chemical exfoliators too. But unlike gels or creams, they are cotton pads that are soaked in AHAs or BHAs. These need to be simply swiped over the skin to remove the impurities. 

Top Korean Exfoliator 2022

Neogen Dermalogy Bio-peel Gauze Peeling Lemon – (best korean peeling gel for sensitive skin)

Best Korean Exfoliator Pad

best korean exfoliator for acne

The Neogen Exfoliator is perhaps one of our favorite beauty products on this list. I think it’s worthy of the best Korean exfoliator title even. First of all, it’s a mix of physical and chemical exfoliators. 

I like that it has lactic acid and fruit extracts that gently remove all the dead skin cells and impurities from your skin. And the lemon-based formula comes packed with vitamin C.

So these peeling pads are super-effective at lightening dark spots, acne scars, and pigmentation too.

The exfoliator also comes in compact packaging, which is great if you want to use it while traveling. But the pads left my face a bit sticky, so I recommend keeping a tissue handy after use. 

Yes, the Neogen Dermalogy Bio-peel Gauze Peeling Lemon is a bit expensive. But it’s also one of the best exfoliators on our list. So we think it’s worth the splurge. 


  • Combines both physical and chemical exfoliants
  • Removes dead skin cell layer
  • Lightens dark spots and pigmentation
  • Travel friendly packaging


  • Expensive
  • Can leave face sticky after use

My Ratings:

  • Ability To Remove Blackheads/Unclog Pores – 5/5
  • Oil-Control – 4.5/5
  • Moisturization – 3.5/5
  • Gentleness on Skin – 4.5/5
  • Ingredients & Formula – 4/5

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator – (best korean exfoliator for combination skin)

Best Korean Chemical Exfoliator For Dry Skin

korean exfoliator for combination skin

The one complaint a lot of people (and me included) have about scrubs and peels is that they leave your skin dry. So I decided to try out this sugar scrub which is supposed to be moisturizing as well.

And hey it works! I think if you’ve got dry skin, the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask is the best Korean exfoliator for you. 

It contains a blend of strawberry seed oil, strawberry seed granules, and organic black sugar granules.

I loved how together, these ingredients remove any impurity from the skin and keep it moisturized at the same time. 

As the primary exfoliators here are the black sugar and strawberry seed granules, this physical exfoliator isn’t the best pick for acne-prone or sensitive skin. 

On the other hand, I think this scrub for a fantastic Korean body exfoliator. So if you’ve got stubborn pigmentation on your elbows or knees, this sugar scrub will take care of it in a jiffy. 

This is also great for cleansing dry skin as it doesn’t strip natural oils from your face.


  • Can be used for body and dave
  • Super moisturizing
  • Removes dead skin layer
  • Removes impurities for pores


  • Too tough on senstive skin
  • Can feel greasy on oily skin
  • Can aggravate acne

My Ratings:

  • Ability To Remove Blackheads/Unclog Pores – 4.5/5
  • Oil-Control – 3.5/5
  • Moisturization – 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on Skin – 3/5
  • Ingredients & Formula – 3.5/5

Cosrx Chemical Exfoliator BHA Blackhead Power Liquid – (best korean exfoliator for oily acne prone skin)

Best Korean Exfoliator For Acne

best korean exfoliator for dry sensitive skin

Worried about scrubs making your acne-prone skin worse? Try this Cosrx Chemical Exfoliator! The formulation contains 4 percent of BHA or salicylic acid that is known to be gentle on the skin and tough on acne. 

The chemical exfoliator comes packed with willow bark extracts. They help remove excess oil and acne-causing impurities from the pores.

I really liked how it prevents blackheads formation by controlling the sebum production on your skin. 

So regular use not only reduces pimples but prevents them from occurring again. 

But be careful not to use this exfoliator if you have dry skin. The formulation is specially created for greasy, blackhead, and acne-prone skin.


  • Helps control blackhead formation
  • Reduces acne and inflammation
  • BHA helps unclog pores
  • Helps control excess oil production


  • Can leave skin dry

My Ratings:

  • Ability To Remove Blackheads/Unclog Pores – 5/5
  • Oil-Control – 4.5/5
  • Moisturization – 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on Skin – 4.5/5
  • Ingredients & Formula – 4.5/5

TonyMoly Floria Brightening Peeling Gel

Best Korean Peeling Gel

tonymoly floria brightening peeling gel

Chemical exfoliators in the form of peeling gels are really popular K-beauty products. And the best among them is the TonyMoly Floria Brightening Peeling Gel. 

It contains AHA or glycolic acid that helps the peeling process. But the gel does much more than remove dead skin cells. The lotus flower water in the formula helps brighten the complexion. And there’s Korean plum extract that improves hydration too.

We think it’s the best Korean exfoliator if you’re looking for a mild product that suits all skin types. 

This TonyMoly peeling gel also scores extra points with us for being free of mineral oils, parabens, and other harsh ingredients. 


  • AHA helps remove dead skin layer
  • Brightens skin tone
  • Helps remove impurities from skin
  • Suits almost all skin types
  • Gel formula is hydrating but not too heavy
  • Free from most harsh ingredient


  • Not suitable for dry skin types

Ratings: 4.5/5

Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel

Best Korean Exfoliator For Blackheads

exfoliator for oily acne prone skin korean

Most physical exfoliators can remove dead skin layers and grime from the skin. But they don’t work as well for in-depth pore cleansing.

So, a chemical exfoliator like this one by Secret Key is your best bet for removing blackheads, acne scars, and pigmentation.

What makes the Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel is the vitamin C-rich formula. The lemon juice in the peeling gel is super effective at fading dark spots and acne scars.

Plus, there’s also witch hazel to control excess oil production and hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated. 

Made with natural ingredients, it’s one of the more affordable Korean exfoliators in the market today. 


  • Vitamin C helps in skin whitening
  • Helps fade dark spots and pigmentation
  • Controls excess oil production
  • Helps tighten pores and controls acne breakouts


  • Not for dry skin types

Ratings: 4.5/5

Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water

Best Korean Exfoliator Toner

exfoliating toner korea

Do you know what we loved about this product? It’s a dual-threat. The Wishtrend Skin Prep Water is a toner and an exfoliator. And that’s not the only thing.

This is the best Korean exfoliator if you want something to brighten your skin tone. 

The main ingredient here is the 5 percent Mandelic Acid, which acts as a chemical exfoliator. It does the job of removing dead skin cells without irritating your skin.

So if you’ve got sensitive skin, we think you should go for this one. 

There’s also licorice extracts and sodium hyaluronate in the formula that give the skin a bright, dewy look.

We want to give a word of caution, though. Don’t use this toner-exfoliator on broken skin. It’s going to sting.

So if you’ve popped a pimple, wait a few days for it to heal before applying the Wishtrend Prep Water. 


  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Mandelic acid exfoliates without hurting skin
  • Leaves skin hydrated without making it greasy
  • Helps soothe irritated skin


  • Not for acne prone skin

Ratings: 4.5/5

Dermasuri Mitt

Best Korean Exfoliating Cloth

best korean body exfoliator

Okay, the secret’s out! This cloth is what all the Korean spas swear by when it comes to exfoliating. In fact, it’s one of the most sought-after Korean body scrub products out there. 

All you need to do is put it on your hand when you’re heading to take a shower. The viscose, sponge, and polyester mitten helps buff away the dead skin layer. It leaves your skin bright, soft, and free from blackheads and impurities. 

The cloth is gentle enough to be used on your face as well (as long as you don’t have sensitive or acne-prone skin). 

Want to have your personal jjimjilbang at home? Try the Dermasui! 


  • Helps scrub hard to reach body areas


  • Too harsh
  • Not good for unclogging pores
  • Only for body skin
  • No chemical exfoliants

Ratings: 3.5/5

Mizon Apple Smoothie Peeling Gel

Best Affordable Korean Exfoliator

lemon peel face scrub

There are three reasons why we love this peeling gel by Mizon. One, it’s a great Korean anti-aging product. Two, it contains all-natural ingredients.

And three, it gives you amazing skin at a very affordable price. So what’s not to like?

The formula comes packed with fruit extracts like apple, apricot, grapefruit, and papaya.

These extracts contain tannic acid that, along with the 0.001 percent AHA, help create a gommage-like peel. And the presence of enzymes also helps.

We love how the antioxidants in the gel leave skin smooth and improve skin textures. Oh, and the fruity smell it leaves behind on the skin is just so yummy!


  • Affordable
  • Helps control fine lines and aging
  • Removes dead skin cells from face
  • Pleasant fruity fragrance


  • Added fragrance can irritate very sensitive skin

Ratings: 4/5

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Masks

Best Korean Exfoliator For Oily Skin

innisfree exfoliator edited

Another product to add to your weekly skincare routine are clay masks. We love this one by Innisfree as it gives you both chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation.

It’s a fantastic product for oily skin types and combination skin type too.

It helps remove dead skin cells from your face, leaving you with brighter skin.

The volcanic ash formula of this wash-off mask helps control sebum production, reduces the appearance of pores, and prevents breakouts.

This Korean product improves the texture of your face within minutes, and gives you radiant skin and a glowing appearance.


  • Good for oily skin types
  • Volcanic ashh thoroughly cleanses skine
  • Helps control excess sebum production
  • Brightens complexion
  • Prevents acne breakouts


  • Can irritate very sensitive skin
  • Makes skin dry

Ratings: 4/5

FAQs About Korean Exfoliators For All Skin Types

How to exfoliate skin like Koreans?

The Korean approach to skincare is to prevent a skin issue rather than treat it. It also involves using skincare products at several steps to reduce the issue holistically rather than simply apply a product that can reduce the problem (like an exfoliator for blackheads and whiteheads).
There are a few ways you can exfoliate your skin to reduce acne and blackheads. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Use a scrub – Scrubs are good for removing dead skin cells and dirt from your skin. They can also work to break down oils and residue that can cause acne and blackheads.
Use a face wash – A good face wash will kill the bacteria that causes acne and blackheads. It will also help to cleanse and moisturize your skin.
Use a mask – A mask is a great way to deep-clean your skin, remove oils, and reduce inflammation. They work best when used two or three times per week.
Use sunscreens – Yes, that’s right! Sunscreen is essential for reducing the appearance of acne and blackheads as it prevents UV damage that causes loosening of skin, sunburn, dryness, etc. all of which can lead to formation of acne and blackheads.
Apply it liberally every day before going out in the sun, and make sure to reapply it throughout the day if you’re spending time in the sun.
Hopefully, these tips will help you exfoliate your skin effectively to reduce acne and blackheads!

What are some tips to reduce blackheads and whiteheads?

The best way to reduce blackheads is to exfoliate skin using Korean skincare. But how to avoid the formation of blackheads and whiteheads depends on the individual’s skin type and practices.
However, some general tips that may be useful include using a gentle, oil-free cleanser to remove any makeup or sunscreen before starting the skincare routine, followed by an essence or toner that hydrates and refreshes the skin.
Some specific ingredients that may be helpful for exfoliating skin include AHA, BHA, PHA, arbutin, licorice extract, and camellia japonica oil, as these are known to be gentle yet very cleansing on skin.

Wondering where to use your Korean exfoliator? It comes 3rd in the skincare routine right after your cleansing oil and face wash!


So there you have it, our review of the best Korean exfoliator of 2021! Choose the ones that are best suited for you. If you have a sensitive, acne-prone face, you might want to choose a chemical exfoliator.

Or try the physical scrubs for the body. Whatever your needs are, there is a K-beauty product to save your skin – you can be sure of that.

Also Read

Best Korean serum for acne scars and pigmentation

Best Korean toner for oily skin

Best Korean anti aging skincare products

Cosrx Chemical Exfoliator BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
best korean exfoliator

These Korean exfoliators help smoothen skin texture and reduce blackheads. The Cosrx Chemical Exfoliator BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is suitable for all skin types.

Product SKU: NLOG4969G2

Product Brand: Cosrx

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $16.34

Price Valid Until: 2022-03-13

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

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