Ampoules Offer Major Skincare Benefits—Here's How to Find the Right Ones for Your Skin Concerns

Here's how to add this K-Beauty product to your skincare routine.

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Five Glass Ampoules In A Row With Sunlight Effects
Elena Popova

The skincare lexicon is a lengthy one, but if you've got the mental space, we'd like to introduce you to one more (important) word: ampoules. A K-beauty skincare concept, ampoules are an excellent addition to any skincare routine, particularly when you want to address a specific concern.

"An ampoule is a small, single-service—most often glass—tube containing a supercharged serum with the highest concentrations of active ingredients," says Ava Shamban, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills, Calif. "The term ampoule is derived from a word meaning 'small package.'"

Ampoules are, indeed, similar to serums in that they target specific skin concerns, but they're not quite the same. There are three key factors set ampoules apart:

  • They feature ultra-high concentrations of active ingredients.
  • They're housed in small, single-use vials to provide the perfect dose every time.
  • They're sealed in air-tight containers to reduce oxidation.

"Ampoules are great for targeting skin concerns that your current skincare lineup can't tackle on its own," notes Charlotte Cho, esthetician and founder of Soko Glam. "Due to their high concentration formulas of potent ingredients, they really hone in on what exactly it is you want them to do, whether it be blemish control, pigmentation fading, or hydration."

As for where they fall in your regimen, ampoules are applied after your toner and/or essence, but before your preferred moisturizer. When in doubt, always apply your skincare products in order of thin to thick.

How to Choose the Best Ampoule

Ampoules come in a variety of formulations, depending on the skin concern you want to target. For example, if an ampoule contains a high level of vitamin C, it can help fade hyperpigmentation. Or if an ampoule is formulated with concentrated cica (aka centella asiatica), its purpose is to help soothe an irritated skin barrier.

"If you're interested in finding an ampoule that's formulated to help fight blemishes, look for BHAs [beta hydroxy acids], AHAs [alpha hydroxy acids], and tea tree water on an ingredient list," adds Cho. "For soothing ampoules that are suited for sensitized, dehydrated, and sensitive skin, you'll want to look for an ampoule formulated with cica, mugwort, or houttuynia cordata." For ampoules that can help control oil and reduce the look of pores, Cho says that an ampoule with a high concentration of niacinamide (vitamin b3) will be your best bet.

Dr. Shamban notes that some supercharged ampoules are designed specifically for post-treatment care after getting an in-office procedure, such as lasering or a peel. Because the skin barrier is temporarily "compromised" after these procedures, the ampoules are better absorbed.

Best Ampoules to Try

Now that you know why you need an ampoule, we found the best ampoule for every skincare concern below.

Best Ampoule for Oily Skin: Babor Matte Finish Anti-Shine + Even Tone Ampoule Serum Concentrates

ampoule-Babor Matte Finish Anti-Shine Even Tone Ampoule Serum Concentrates

Oily skin and large pores tend to go hand in hand, and this ampoule from Babor targets both concerns without drying out your skin. It contains extract from the resin of the Wild Mastic Tree, which helps minimize the look of pores while mattifying your skin. The addition of micro-spheres further blur for a soft, filtered effect.

Best Ampoule for Anti-Aging: Blue Copper 5 Intensive Ampoule Series

ampoule-Blue Copper 5 Intensive Ampoule Series

Audrey Kunin, MD, board-certified dermatologist, says these ampoules are some of her favorites. "They're an effective, seven-night intensive anti-aging and reparative regimen to jump start your skin's wellness," she says. Each dose features a potent blend of copper peptides and a proprietary extract to boost skin recovery.

Best Ampoule for Dry Skin: ISDIN Hyaluronic Booster Deep Hydration with Peptide Serum Ampoules

ampoule-ISDIN Hyaluronic Booster Deep Hydration with Peptide Serum Ampoules

Parched dermis? This ultra hydrating ampoule from ISDIN really packs in the hydration. The lightweight formula features hyaluronic acid—a humectant that attracts moisture from the air to your skin—along with peptides to help bolster the skin barrier.

Best Ampoule for Dull Skin: Vichy LiftActiv Anti-Aging Ampoules with Peptide-C

ampoule-Vichy LiftActiv Anti-Aging Ampoules with Peptide-C

This ampoule combines 10 percent pure ascorbic acid, which is considered one of the most bioavailable and stable forms of vitamin C. This antioxidant powerhouse protects your skin from free radicals that cause premature aging and also has a brightening effect. Hyaluronic acid instantly plumps to minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Best Ampoule for Acne-Prone Skin: 111SKIN The Clarity Concentrate

ampoule-111SKIN The Clarity Concentrate

If you're battling breakouts, try this seven-day treatment series from 111Skin. "Willow bark and colloidal sulfur are the stars here to regulate sebum production and keep outbreaks at bay," notes Dr. Shamban.

Best Ampoule for Irritated and Sensitive Skin: SNP Prep Cicaronic SOS Ampoules

ampoule-SNP Prep Cicaronic SOS Ampoules

If you're battling irritated skin or have a naturally sensitive skin type, this cica-infused ampoule is a must-try. It helps soothe redness and irritation while softening and elevating your dew factor.

Best Ampoule for Hyperpigmentation: ​​MZ Skin Pigmentation Correcting Ampoules

ampoule-MZ Skin Pigmentation Correcting Ampoules

This powerhouse ampoule set is a seven-day series that helps promote a more even complexion. Vitamin C brightens while tranexamic acid and glutathione help fade the look of hyperpigmentation.

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Sources
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  1. De Dormael R, Bastien P, Sextius P, et al. Vitamin C prevents ultraviolet-induced pigmentation in healthy volunteers: Bayesian meta-analysis results from 31 randomized controlled versus vehicle clinical studies. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2019;12(2):E53-E59.

  2. Ratz-Łyko A, Arct J, Pytkowska K. Moisturizing and antiinflammatory properties of cosmetic formulations containing centella asiatica extract. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2016;78(1):27-33. doi:10.4103/0250-474x.180247

  3. Yang JH, Hwang EJ, Moon J, et al. Clinical efficacy of herbal extracts in treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris: an 8-week, double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial. J Dermatolog Treat. 2021;32(3):297-301. doi:10.1080/09546634.2019.1657792

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