Sunscreens are a fundamental part of the Japanese Beauty Routine: Japanese women are extremely attentive when it comes to sun and tan, and it’s not a mystery that they always protect their skin when outside. This habit comes from long ago when a tanned skin meant being a worker and poor and being pale meant being healthy and wealthy.
Today, this idea has slightly changed but it is a matter of fact that Japanese women want to have the whiter skin ever and, most of all, want to avoid the sun at every cost.
Wearing a good sunscreen every day allows us to reduce the risk of skin cancer by 50% and at the same time to avoid premature wrinkles, pigmentation, and dull skin.
The Japanese standards when it comes to sunscreen are very high: the humidity of the country asks for non-oily products and that’s why usually Japanese sunscreens sink into the skin, don’t leave a greasy film and leave a powdery feeling on the skin itself.
On the other hand, the majority of the Japanese sunscreens contain alcohol: the recommendation is to layer every Japanese sunscreen over a serum or a light lotion, to avoid burning the skin.
Japanese brands rate sunscreens using the PA classification (like in South Korea) which means Protection Factor A, the strength of protection from the UVA (Ultra Violet A) rays. PA is measured in plus signs; PA+ is the lowest protection while PA++++ is the highest protection rate.
Check out our ultimate guide to the best Japanese sunscreens 2021 and buy online!
8 Best Japanese Sunscreens for Spring and Summer
The following are some of the Japanese sunscreens we love and use: some are specifically for daily use, others are for extreme situations where extreme can mean a summer holiday, a day at the beach, hiking under the sun, and so on. At the end of the articles, you’ll also find information on how to find the best sunscreen, what to look for, and more.
1. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen contains water capsules along with hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract, and citrus extract. It’s not greasy, doesn’t leave white marks and can also be used as a makeup base.
2. Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel
Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel contains water capsules along with hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract, and citrus extract. It’s not greasy, doesn’t leave white marks and can also be used as a makeup base.
3. Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen
Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen is a milk-type sunscreen, ideal for daily use and for going to the beach or hiking on a mountain. Waterproof, sebum proof, and waterproof.
4. Kose Suncut Sunscreen
Kose Suncut Sunscreen is one of the cheapest yet effective sunscreen from Japan: easy to apply both on face and body, it’s completely transparent and offers an SPF at 50+.
5. Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence
Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence is lavender essence that helps against the sun and, at the same, illuminates the skin acting as a primer. Waterproof, can be bought as a gel as well.
6. Rohto Sarafit Moisture Milk Skin Aqua
Sarafit Moisture Milk by Skin Aqua is perfect for the outdoor. It’s light, fast-drying, sweat-friendly and doesn’t leave stains. You can use on a daily basis, also as a moisturiser.
7. Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-free UV Protector
Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-free UV Protector is an ultra-light, oil-free fluid that absorbs excess sebum for a fresh, matte finish. This sunscreen also works as a primer when worn under makeup. It is non-comedogenic and dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested.
8. Kose Suncut UV Protect Gel
Kose Suncut UV Protect Gel is fresh and light touch, but it’s capable of blocking ultraviolet rays. It prevents spots and freckles caused by sunburn.
Japanese Sunscreens FAQ
Have a look at the following questions and the answers to have a better understanding of how Japanese sunscreens work and can be used.
Do I have to use Japanese sunscreen all day?
Yes, especially in spring and summer when the sun is stronger. UVA and UVB rays can seriously cause problems to our skin, if not well filtered.
Can I use my SPF foundation or cushion without sunscreen?
No! Even if your foundation or cushion contains SPF it’s certainly not enough to protect your skin. It’s thus best to use a standalone SPF product after your moisturizer and before your foundation or cushion compact.
When should I apply my Japanese sunscreen?
It’s important to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure so that the formula has time to work itself into the skin.
What’s the difference between physical and chemical Japanese sunscreens?
Physical sunscreens stay on the surface of the skin, creating a physical layer that deflects UV rays. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, that are converted into heat, which is then released. In this way, the skin doesn’t absorb any UV rays. The majority of chemical sunscreens have textures that are more spreadable and fluid than physical sunscreens but for this reason, they can degrade more quickly and have to be reapplied over and over.
Can I use facial Japanese sunscreens on my body?
Yes, you can. Remember to reapply it throughout the day and make sure you spread it evenly to avoid problems.
Can I use body Japanese sunscreens on my face?
No, you can’t. Sunscreens for the body are formulated in a way that cannot be tolerated by our faces. They can be heavier and not suitable for this sensitive part.
Can I use old Japanese sunscreens?
No, you can’t. When the sunscreen is passed, it means it doesn’t protect your skin anymore. That’s why you should always and only buy from well-known retailers, to avoid these problems.
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