19 Jun 2017

My Acne-Rescuing Trio - Review: Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol, Acne Pimple Master Patch and Centella Blemish Cream

Acne isn't always my struggle. In fact, I'm blessed with pretty good skin since teen age. I might have dry lines and freckles which worsen with increased sun exposure, but never really acne. I think it is a genetic thing, or just the food that I am eating, that gives me pretty clear complexion. But my skin isn't always so trouble-free. I will get acne here and there during menstrual cycle. And when I don't get enough sleep, my acne problem worsened.

So in today's review, I will share a few things I use whenever I am suffering from hormonal breakouts. These products may not be suitable for everyone with acne concerns because my acne is caused by internal inflammation due to stress, sleep deprivation and hormonal fluctuation. I am not sure how helpful will they be if comes to genetic acne or those with bacterial infection.

Since anti-acne products I know come almost exclusively from Cosrx, so I will talk about 3 Cosrx anti-acne products in today's review. You can also read my brand overview of Cosrx products here.

Let's begin with Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol.

This A-Sol, despite the confusion in its name, is actually a toner. It is made of 60% propolis extract, and 1% BHA and 1% AHA. Having used both AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner and the A-Sol, I must say that I think the A-Sol is a much potent and effective toner. I don't feel a thing when I was using the AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner but I can see results with the A-Sol.


Propolis Extract, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Water, Glycolic Acid, Betaine Salicylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Allantoin, Cassia Obtusifollia Seed Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Hexan-ediol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Mekakeuca Alternifolia(Tee Tree) Leaf Oil


The ingredients are quite impressive. We have lactic acid, glycolic acid, BHA, and tea tree leaf oil to do the exfoliating and anti-inflammatory jobs. Subsequently, propolis extract, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, allantoin, and senna extract for moisturizing and calming purposes. It is pretty straightforward without any frills.

AHA is the ingredient that clears out surface dead skin cells whereas BHA goes deeper into the pores to unclog them. I don't think the AHA and BHA here are at its optimal pH for exfoliation (4.0) so I normally apply them morning and night, without worrying too much about photosensitivity. Then we have a bunch of anti-inflammatory and moisturizing ingredients to "back-up" the damages and irritation caused by the AHA and BHA. Propolis extract is one of the best things you could have for your skin. It has plenty of vitamins and is excellent at discouraging infection and promoting wound healing. In other words, it can make your skin stronger. Senna extract is a skin conditioning agent with a lot of polysaccharides that mimic hyaluronic acid. It can repair dryness, provide long-lasting suppleness and lock in moisture. It is also effective against acne and have anti-inflammatory properties. Some other stuffs like sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, allantoin, and so on are nice ingredients with skin moisturizing and hydrating benefits.


I have seen results with this toner. I initially wasn't planning to buy this for myself, but for my bf with acne-prone and oily-dehydrated skin. But somehow he is too lazy to use this or just simply doesn't like it so he passes it to me. I don't use it everyday, only occasionally as a liquid treatment for inflamed or acne spot. And I normally soak it with a cotton pad and lightly pressed it against the affected area for better absorption. I find that doing so makes the toner more effective at clearing out the affected area. I won't say that my skin is completely cleared out by this toner, but it does "dry out" or "drain" the affected area so the red dots won't grow bigger. This toner is also quite effective at reducing sebum production but my bf who uses it (without a moisturizer) finds it drying out his skin so he stops using it.

Next, let's look at the cream that is said to be able to heal acne scarring.

Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream

Just like the A-Sol, this is a confusing product by its name. Although it is called "cream", it is actually a spot treatment in the form of a chalky cream. The consistency is similar to Innisfree Jeju Bija Spot Essence, which will provide a waterproof occlusive seal on your skin when applied. However, unlike the Bija Spot Essence, this can be absorbed into the skin (if you apply a small amount), leaving a little bit of tacky and chalky finish (if you apply a little more). A little goes a long way, mine still has more than 50% left in the jar after 6-7 months.

Its main benefit is scars-reducing and skin soothing. It can reduce and calm inflammation and red spots, which is why it is called a blemish cream.


Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Zinc Oxide, Dimethicone, Betaine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Viola Yedoensis Extract, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Centella Asiatica Extract, Zinc PCA, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract


Approximately 50% centella asiatica leaf water and 5,000ppm centella asiatica extract are used in this spot treatment cream, which are mainly responsible for giving this cream its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. In addition, this ingredient is also shown to possess wound-healing, collagen-synthesizing accelerating, and immunity-boosting abilities when applied topically. No studies that link this extract directly to anti-acne but its properties do make it a great healing herb against inflammation caused by acne and blemish. Sunflower seed oil, a non-volatile emollient oil is also added as a skin repairing and inflammation-reducing skin remedy.

We have two zinc ingredients here: zinc oxide and zinc PCA. Zinc oxide is a broad spectrum sunscreen ingredients but it also has many other functions like colouring agent, thickening agent, and antioxidant. Zinc PCA is more commonly used in acne-treating products. It has astringent and anti-microbial properties which allow it to be used in anti-acne products. It is also useful as an anti-aging ingredient as it can thwart destructive enzymes in skin that cause wrinkles and skin damage.

I think, from the ingredients, we can see that this is essentially anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial product. Not sure how effective it is against acne, as neither tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur is involved. And since it doesn't have vitamin C, retinol, AHA, snail ingredients, and so on skin repairing ingredients, I am not sure how effective it will be at acne scarring either. Zinc is good for acne but it is best if consumed instead of applied topically, so I am not so sure how helpful is the zinc in this cream either. And do keep in mind that zinc has concern of bio-accumulation too!


I have a mixed feeling towards this cream or spot treatment. It has fancy ingredients, interesting chewy texture, and is cheap. I like centella asiatica too. But, how helpful it this cream for my acne I am not sure. It sometimes works quite well to calm down those zits and red bumpy things, but sometimes just "meh". Not to mention any skin repairing or scars-reducing benefits. I tried using it on my bf with PIH and blemishes but this cream does almost nothing for his skin too.

Finally, we will talk about my favourite product among these three!

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch

This product is very simple. It is a acne patch. Inside there are 24 hydrocolloid patches of various size to protect and heal affected spot.

Basically, you just properly cleanse your affected spots (acne), and take out a patch that is slightly bigger than your problem spot and attach it to the spot. Make sure the edge is properly pressed and sealed. Doing so protect the wounds from getting worse and maintain humidity of the skin.


This is the product that can give you results immediately. My acne is almost gone (although the inflammation is still there) after I apply this patch to the problem area in as little as 12 hours. I cannot really use this for more than 12 hours because it is not very waterproof and will deform upon contacting with water. So I have to reapply every time after showering. Much more effective than the other two I would say in term of acne-reducing.


In short, I love the Cosrx Master Patch and I will keep repurchasing in the future for future breakouts. I am not sure will I repurchase the A-Sol because it is just a toner and I would prefer using an actual AHA and BHA exfoliants in my skincare routine. I still have not found my holy grail AHA and BHA products so I might just stick to Cosrx first. And I also find A-Sol a bit drying and irritating due to its alcohol and tea tree oil content for my skin type so I think I probably won't repurchase. The Centella Blemish Cream is a clear not-repurchase for me. It sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I would prefer getting a snail cream, vitamin C or anything that will work. There is no point getting a blemish cream that you just apply and see no results or very inconsistent results. I mean... I can't even use it as a moisturizer either you see.

These three are the products that I recently use to calm and reduce acne, but they are not the sole products I used. I have tried a few such as LJH Tea Tree Essence, Innisfree Jeju Bija Spot Essence but they were not that helpful. I have reviewed about LJH previously, which I think is more suitable for genetic or bacterial-causing acne. Innisfree Jeju Bija Spot Essence, as shared in my Innisfree product overview, is also more suitable for oily skin with acne because it will form a waterproof wrap around the skin (kinda similar to the concept of acne patch) to "drain" the infected pores. So I am not saying that Cosrx is the only solution to acne, I just used them more exclusively at the time I am writing this review. I am still open to better options and you are welcomed to share your favourites with me in the comment section below!

Worth Trying?
Cosrx Natural BHA Skin-Returning A-Sol ★★★☆ (if you want a toner-type acne-suppressing spot treatment)
Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream ★★★★ (if you have blemish concern)
Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch ★★★★★

Will I Repurchase?
Cosrx Natural BHA Skin-Returning A-Sol ★★ (want to try out other better options)
Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream ★ (ineffective, inconsistent result)
Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch ★★★★★ (effective, affordable)

You can get this from: Hermo | Watson's | Wako | Jolse | Koreadepart etc.
[Disclaimer] Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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