Unmasking the Best Korean Skincare for Melasma

korean skincare for melasma featured photo

In the hunt of effective solutions to combat melasma, the skincare industry has turned to K-beauty. Korean skincare brands are famed for their devotion to creating a treasure trove of products for melasma treatment.

But in the vast world of skincare, looking at the ingredients is the first step to achieving flawless skin.

My favorite Korean skincare for melasma is the DearKlairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. It boasts a potent formula that works well in treating scars and hyperpigmentation. This serum is also very soothing. It’s a must-have for sensitive skin.

However, we all have different skin types and what works for me may not work for you. So, I’ve rounded up some of the best Korean skincare products that may help you break free from hyperpigmentation.

Is Korean Skincare Good for Hyperpigmentation?

K-beauty brands have taken the skincare world by storm, and it’s for good reason.

There’s no doubt that Koreans take their skincare seriously, having served as the inspiration for achieving radiant, “glass” skin. They are known for their multi-step skin care regimen, and this dedication has led many K-beauty brands to curate a wide range of potent products, including those for reducing hyperpigmentation.

If you’re considering Korean skincare for melasma, look for these ingredients:

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It helps eliminate hyperpigmentation and brightens to improve uneven skin tone. You’ll find them in many serums.

AHA/BHA. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can exfoliate the skin. Both encourage cell turnover and gradually remove skin pigments. Products containing these acids, such as glycolic acid and betaine salicylate, are popular in Korean skincare.

Niacinamide. This skincare ingredient is a form of B3 known for lightening dark brown spots and improving skin texture. Niacinamide is also great for anti-aging and repairing damaged skin. It’s versatile and you’ll find it in a wide range of K-beauty products.

Alpha Arbutin. This ingredient reduces melanin production due to sun exposure. It’s also good for minimizing scars, all thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Other natural ingredients. K-beauty products also contain a variety of natural ingredients known for their skin-soothing and brightening properties. A lot of products have Centella Asiatica, aloe vera extract, and propolis extract, which are all loved for their soothing and healing effects on the skin.

There are many other natural ingredients used in Korean skincare that are worth exploring. They are usually just an add-on to the active ingredients.

The Best Korean Skincare Products for Melasma

  • Skin Type: All
  • Product Benefits: Antioxidant,Hypoallergenic,Moisturizing,Non-comedogenic
  • Special Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid, Centella Asiatica Extract
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  • Skin Type: Sensitive Skin
  • Product Benefits: Soothing and Moisturizing, Restores Elasticity & Tightens Wrinkles
  • Special Ingredients: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Niacinamide, Adenosine
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  • Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal
  • Product Benefits: Hydrating, Evening skin tone and texture, Mild exfoliation
  • Special Ingredients: Phthalate Free, Sulfate Free, Paraben Free
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  • Skin Type: Sensitive Skin
  • Product Benefits: Antioxidants,Hydrating,Nourishing,Soothing
  • Special Ingredients: 70% fresh green tangerine extract, 4% niacinamide, and arbutin
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  • Skin Type: Oily
  • Product Benefits: Hydrating,Moisturizing
  • Special Ingredients: 1. 59.94% of propolis extract, which is rich in ingredients, helps relieve skin troubles, 2% of niacinamide, which reduces skin troubles by balancing oil and moisture, and 0.5% of betaine salicylate
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  • Skin Type: All
  • Product Benefits: Smoothen and Moisturize
  • Special Ingredients: 1% BHA (Betaine Salicylate), 85.9% White Willow Bark
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DearKlairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop – Best Overall

DearKlairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

This vitamin C serum is one of my favorites and it’s packed with amazing ingredients to soothe, brighten, moisturize, and rejuvenate the skin. I’ve personally used this when I had the worst “maskne” break out during COVID and it’s been one of my staples since.

It contains 5% pure vitamin C, which brightens up the skin, making it suitable for those with discolorations like melasma. Another thing I love about the DearKlairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is that it incorporates the calming and soothing powers of Centella Asiatica Extract, so don’t worry if you have sensitive skin.

This dark spot serum is a bit on the pricey side for such a small bottle, though. But I can vouch for the efficacy of this serum. I use this before I wear sunscreen and it feels like I’m giving my skin a daily detox.

Also, keep in mind that the serum may oxidize quickly if not stored properly. It has a slightly oily consistency, but it absorbs easily. A little goes a long way, though. My first bottle lasted about half a year so I think it’s worth the splurge.


  • Treats acne marks and other skin pigments
  • Non-irritating
  • Easily absorbs into the skin


  • Oxidizes easily
  • Slightly oil consistency
  • Pricey

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence – Best Essence

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence

I remember the first time I heard about snail secretion in skincare, I knew I had to try it myself. The Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence was the first product I purchased and probably one of the best I’ve tried.

This brown bottle packs with skin-loving key ingredients such as niacinamide, which helps with brightening pigmentation and hydration. It also contains the restoring and soothing properties of adenosine.

The essence packs some interesting ingredients, too. It contains snail secretion filtrate and bee venom, which have soothing and anti-bacterial properties. The aloe vera leaf juice also boosts the soothing effect of the essence. So it’s formulated for sensitive skin, as well.

But despite all that goodness, it’s on the more expensive side. However, all of the amazing ingredients together offer a potent potion against a range of skin concerns like dryness, inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and just overall dull skin.

To me, it’s the jack-of-all-trades of a skincare product. It absorbs into the skin easily and doesn’t feel tacky. Some days I just slather 2 to 3 pumps of this on my face and go about my business.


  • Targets a range of skin concerns
  • Suits all sensitive skin
  • Doesn’t feel tacky


  • Pricey

COSRX AHA/BHA Treatment Toner – Best Toner

COSRX AHA BHA Treatment Toner

If you’re looking for a great exfoliating toner, the COSRX AHA/BHA Treatment Toner gains a lot of praise among K-beauty skincare junkies because, well, it just works. It’s also one of the most effective toners I’ve used.

This toner is very simple yet so effective. It has only two perfectly combined ingredients: glycolic acid and betaine salicylate. Glycolic acid is a form of AHA that helps slough off dead skin cells. Betaine salicylate is a form of BHA that improves the skin’s texture and encourages the growth of new healthy cells.

With these two ingredients, I think it has more than enough power to brighten up skin complexion. The ingredients are also what make it a good toner if you have acne-prone skin.

However, while I really love this toner and COSRX claims it suits all skin types, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it. Some days, my skin feels good. Other times, it leaves my combination skin dry. But that’s why it’s also important to use a good moisturizer afterward.

I also appreciate that this toner comes in a generous spray bottle—yup, no cotton pads required. Just spritz it over your face a few times and you’re good to go.


  • Sloughs off dead skin cells
  • Easy to use; no cotton pads needed


  • Can be drying

Best K-beauty Serums for Melasma

goodal Green Tangerine Vitamin C Serum

goodal Green Tangerine Vitamin C Serum

The goodal Green Tangerine Vitamin C Serum is one of the most popular vitamin C-based serums that works effectively for treating melasma. This yellow bottle contains concentrated extract from Korean Jeju green tangerine. It has 10 times more vitamin C than lemons.

This serum also packs amazing skincare ingredients such as niacinamide, which is great for calming inflammation, and alpha arbutin, which is one of your besties against melasma and sun damage. It also contains Centella Asiatica as another soothing.

I’ve only tried this goodal green tangerine vita on a few occasions so I didn’t really see the effects on my skin. But according to some of its users, it does a pretty good job at targeting skin pigments. However, it can leave a sticky feeling, which I understand because it does have a gel texture.

It’s also a bit pricey for its size but I think it still makes a good addition to your k-beauty skincare routine.


  • Fade dark spots while calming the skin


  • Can leave a sticky feeling
  • Pricey

Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum

Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum

I don’t think I could tell you enough how much I love everything from Beauty of Joseon. Their Glow Serum is one of my favorite serums in their line. I used to love the Beauty of Joseon Glow Deep Serum, but I find this glow serum more calming.

It also has niacinamide and BHA to lighten hyperpigmentation while healing your skin with propolis extract. What I love the most about the glow serum is the dash of luxe it adds to my nightly skincare ritual. It’s smooth like honey and glazes my skin with all of its amazing ingredients.

However, while it’s claimed to suit oily skin, I find the consistency too thick and takes a while to sink into the skin.

But overall, it’s a wonderful glow-boosting serum. I enjoy using this during the summer when I get sunburns.


  • Brightens and heals the skin
  • Good for oily skin


  • Too thick consistency

COSRX One Step Original Clear Pads – Best Exfoliating Pads

COSRX One Step Original Clear Pads

My trust and love for COSRX is set in stone. I’ve been using their One Step Original Clear Pads for a while now because they give me the best post-facial skin after each pad.

This product is an excellent alternative to toners because the pads are already soaked in exfoliating ingredients like betaine salicylate. It also contains White Willow Bark to soothe irritated skin and clear the pores.

My only concern with soaked toner pads is the risk of bacteria when it comes into contact with my hands. So make sure to use the tweezer that comes with it.


  • Brightens the skin; offers a spa-like feeling
  • Great alternative to toners


  • Unhygienic

Conclusion: What Korean Product Is Good for Melasma?

There’s a wide range of Korean skincare products in the market. But when it comes to melasma, you’ll want to go for something with brightening ingredients such as vitamin C. My all-time favorite is the DearKlairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop because it’s effective and my skin soaks the products without any irritation.

Melasma also responds well to exfoliating products with AHAs and BHAs. You’ll find them in milder yet effective formulations with COSRX’s AHA/BHA Treatment Toner and One Step Original Clear Pads.

Feel free to check out the rest of the Korean skincare products on the list. I’ve tried most of the products here, so I’m confident that they do the job. I hope you get to try them all to see which one works best on your skin.

Good luck!

Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson