There’s a reason why Japanese have glowing, radiant and beautiful skin even under the harsh summer sun.
Japanese are so diligent in preventing UV damage to their glass-like skin that they tend to use UV protection products every single day.
Japanese sunscreens are one of the best on the market clashing with Korean cosmetics and beauty products, offering variations from sprays, milk, gels creams and more! They are highly popular worldwide, thanks to their great quality, effectiveness, and total value for the price.
Important Factors To Consider
With Japanese sunscreens being on high demand, there are countless products out there, making you confused in choosing the right one for you. So here are some important factors you need to consider when shopping for the best Japanese sunscreen out there.
UVB, UVA, SPF, PA
For the first time buyers, the label can be quite confusing. However, they are pretty much easy to understand.
First off, you need to understand the difference between UVA and UVB. UVA or Ultraviolet A reaches deep into the skin and can cause problems such as sagging and wrinkles. UVB or Ultraviolet B, on the other hand, causes inflammation on the surface of the skin and leads to problems such as spots and freckles.
SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor and the accompanying number indicates the protection you get from UVB rays. PA, on the other hand, stands for the protection grade against UVA rays and is followed by the + sign. The higher the SPF number and the more plus signs offer the higher protection grade.
Physical or Chemical Sunscreen?
There are 2 kinds of sunscreen: physical and chemical.
Also known as mineral sunscreens, a physical sunscreen protects the skin by reflecting and blocking the harmful sun rays. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, absorbs the rays preventing it from penetrating the skin.
Although all physical UV filters can both block UVB and UVA rays, chemical ones can only protect either one. There are some products that are made with both physical and chemical ingredients in order to provide higher protection.
As I’ve mentioned before, Japanese sunscreen is offered in a variety of form. These include:
MILK AND CREAM
Fluid and milky texture, this type of sunscreen are similar to the traditional sunscreens. Although these are still more watery than the regular sunscreens, they offer similar moisturized and thick feeling on the skin. It will take a while for these to sink into the skin, making them quite uncomfortable in a humid environment.
Water gel offers a milky and runny gel formula, making it the lightweight choice. It feels refreshing and cold to the skin and sinks into the skin in just a minute or two. This is the perfect form is you already have oily skin and do not like the slick feeling of lotion on your skin. Water gel sunscreens are also great to wear under makeups, thanks to their lightweight consistency.
UV sprays are relatively new to the cosmetic space but already become so popular. These sunscreens come in aerosol cans that allow you to refresh your sun protection instantly. These are very refreshing when used on a hot day and some can even be used for scalp and hair. Take note, however, that it might leave a slightly greasy film on the hair.
The spray is liquid and dries to a creamy powder. UV sprays may not cover all your skin evenly, but it is great to use it as a reapplying your sun protection and even on top of makeups.
Note that some sprays are labeled as “extra cool” or “cool” and may contain menthol, so you might not want to use it on your face if you got sensitive skin.
Having the most numerous variety, essence is characterized by their serum-like texture. It is thicker than gel but not as runny and is not so different from one another. It comes in various versions including whitening essence, bb essence, and watery essence. Essence sunscreens are generally the most moisturizing in the sunscreen lineup.
UV-CUT POWDER SHEETS
These are quite rare but useful. They come in towelettes infused with sun protection and usually found during the summer months at some Japanese drugstores and convenience stores. The liquid used in the sheets turns into a sunscreen powder and prevents your skin from getting dry for longer.
Whether you are trying a product for the first time or getting your favorite, size is crucial. In general, bigger size means more discount. But, if you are trying out, you can always get the smaller one.
And if you have a whole list of summer adventure, then make sure that you get enough to last throughout the summer season.
Excluding UV sprays, Japanese sunscreens can come in flip caps, twist off caps, and squeeze bottle and more. Find the right one that allows easy dispensing, so you can quickly apply the sunscreen and have fun.
When choosing a sunscreen, you need to make sure that it goes with your skin type. There is Japanese sunscreen available for oily skin, sensitive skin, dry skin or a combination type. Just make sure that you test it on your skin before buying.
Our Top Picks for the Best Japanese Sunscreen
Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen
The sunscreen that protects your skin and keeps it moisturized, the Shiseido Senka UV Sunscreen has PA++++ and SPF50 for greater sun protection. It is an anti-aging sunscreen formulated with mineral water from Mt. Fuji, Coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, and agar gel, offering a nice texture that is very smooth and light.
It feels more like a hydrating serum than heavy sunscreens and help with fine lines, sagging skin, and pigmentation and is suitable to wear under makeup. It has no fragrance and is quite affordable. It works great for dry to normal skin and even sensitive skin without any alcohol irritations. However, it does take a little time to settle on the skin and may cause your eyes to burn.
Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Essence Sunscreen
When talking about the best Japanese sunscreen, Biore is among the top recommendations. Biore is a global brand, however, the Biore UV Aqua Rich Essence sunscreen is a part of a line which was made specifically for the Japanese market.
This sunscreen won the Best Cosmetic Awards in 2014, proving just how effective it is. The upgraded version is now 1.7 times bigger than the regular size and can now be used for the face and body. Now, it is also waterproof and can stand up at least 80 minutes in the water.
Being waterproof, it may be a problem when removing, but this is not the case. It can be easily washed off with a makeup remover of regular soap. It contains water capsules which spread smoothly on the skin with its rich moisturizing ingredients including citrus mix, royal jelly extract, and hyaluronic acid. Suitable for those with sensitive skin, this sunscreen is allergy tested and is formulated to minimize allergy risks.
Canmake Mermaid UV Skin Gel
A new sunscreen from Canmake, the Mermaid UV Skin Gel is a watery and lightweight sunscreen gel with high UV protection— SPF50+ and PA++++. It can be used as a standalone skin care product or as a moisturizing makeup base after using a cleansing face wash.
This sunscreen contains 85 percent beautifying ingredients that keep your skin smooth and hydrated as well as helping foundations to sit and settle better and last longer. This sunscreen skin gel can also be applied to the body for total sun protection.
Pigeon UV Baby Milk
If you’re taking your baby or kid with you on the beach, then surely you also want them to stay protected from the harmful rays of the sun. Fortunately, Japan also offers mild and high-quality sunscreens for your little one.
The Pigeon UV baby milk offers a creamy texture with strong protection from ultraviolet radiation. This particular product is SPF50+, however, it is also available in SPF15 PA++, SPF25 PA++, and SPF35 PA+++. Plus, it is waterproof so it lasts longer on your little ones. Thanks to its hypoallergenic formula, this baby sunscreen is even safe to apply for newborns
ROHTO Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk
A traditional Japanese moisturizing milk, this Japanese sunscreen from ROHTO Skin Aqua is one of the most-loved product on the market. Its 2018 version is now formulated with SPF50+ and PA++++ milk type sunscreen for high protection to the sun’s harmful rays. It has a clear consistency and contains essential collagen and hyaluronic acid in order to provide intense hydration and prevent the skin from drying out.
The sunscreen is free of fragrance, mineral oil, and alcohol so it is suitable for those with sensitive skin. It has a waterproof formulation that can be easily washed off with a regular makeup remover and soap. Allergy tested, the ROHTO Moisture Milk sunscreen is formulated in order to minimize allergy risks.
Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel
A popular global brand. Nivea offers a sunscreen product that does wonders not only on the face but for the entire body. This Nivea product from Japan does not have the icky sticky and oily sunscreen feeling that quickly rubs off here and there. With a super water gel formula, this sunscreen feels light, easily settles on the skin and does not stain your clothes.
The sunscreen is packed with SPF50 and PA+++ to keep you protected from the harmful sun. Note, however, that this is not a sweat resistant product, so you will have to re-apply it when needed. This is a super affordable option for those who what the conventional sticky feeling of other sunscreens.
Privacy UV Face Powder
Who says sunscreens only come in creamy liquid or cool gel form? This powdery sunscreen is an extremely useful product to touch up your make-up on a hot, sweaty hot afternoon for a shiny and glowing skin with the added sun protection.
It is packed with SPF 50+ and PA++++ so you can rest assured that you look fresh and pretty while being protected from the harmful sun.
Obagi Sun Shield Matte Sunscreen
A sunscreen which combines UVA and UVB protection in a luxurious matte finish, the Obagi Sun Shield contains octinoxate and zinc oxide and is free of PABA, fragrance, and sheer, making it suitable for all skin types.
This combines strong physical and chemical sunscreen ingredients for total protection and provides daily protection from the sun in order to prevent signs of skin aging. It is packed with SPF50 and has a non-greasy formulation for quick application without any messy residues.
SKIN AQUA Super Moisture Milk Pink
Offering sun protection of SPF50+ and PA++++, the Super Moisture Milk Pink sunscreen has the highest class UV protection effect in the SKIN AQUA lineup. This is a super waterproof sunscreen, making it suitable for swimming or when sweating during intense activity, but can be easily removed and washed off with a regular makeup remover or soap.
This sunscreen can be used on the face and on the body for total protection and is also recommended as a makeup base. It features fine pearls in pink color that brighten the skin and making it look healthy and have a natural pinkish glow. However, because of its milky texture, this sunscreen might take a bit of time to settle on the skin.
Skin Research Hadarabo Skin Lab Gokujun UV Gel
With sun protection of SPF50+ and PA++++, the Skin Lab Gokujun UV Gel prevents sunburns and is highly moisturizing to the skin. This product has a reasonable price tag than a lot of comparable products and provides a total value for your money.
It has a really nice texture that is light and easily absorbs into the skin. In addition, this sunscreen has no fragrance, making it suitable for people that are fussy about scents or just have sensitive skins. This UV white gel leaves no white cast and residue on the skin, even when rubbing it in and causes no irritation with its hypoallergenic formula.
Kanebo Allie Extra UV Gel Sunscreen
The Kanebo Allie Extra UV Sunscreen offers SPF50+ and PA++++ so you can take more time under the sun. If you hate the sticky and greasy feeling of heavy and oily sunscreens, then you will surely love the formula of Kanebo Allie. It has a lightweight consistency but still deeply moisturize the skin to keep it from drying out.
In addition, this sunscreen also has a light scent that is not overpowering, so you can get through the day. Also, it should not leave a white or messy residue on your skin.
Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen
This sunscreen milk from Shiseido has the same moisturizing effect and UV protection of SPF50+ and PA++++ as the regular version, but it comes with the gentle formula tailored for those with sensitive skins as well as for baby’s skin. Suitable for pools, beach, and other outdoor water activities, the Anessa UV sunscreen protects the delicate skin from the sun and airborne particles without the sticky and greasy feeling, leaving the skin silky smooth and comfortable.
It uses Aqua booster technology that reacts with minerals in water and sweat, upon contact and creates a more uniform protective coat that boosts the UV protection by at least 20 percent. In addition, this sunscreen also uses the Shiseido’s signature Light Stamina technology that releases the energy collected from the UV light as heat for more stable and long-lasting protection.
Moreover, the sunscreens contain skincare ingredients like aloe vera, marine collagen, rosehip oil, and hyaluronic acid in order to provide deeper hydration and protection from harmful pollutants. It has no paraben, fragrance, and alcohol, making it suitable for the most sensitive skin.
Sofina Kao Beaute UV Sunscreen
Best for those with oily skin, the Sofina Kao Milk Sunscreen has a drier formula that sinks into your skin quickly and prevents the greasy feeling. Other than that, this sunscreen also has moisturizing and skin-firing effects, keeping your skin well-nourished and glowing.
It has sun protection of SPF50+ and PA++++ and comes in an easy twist off lid with a super easy and quick dispenser that provides just the right amount.
As you can see, Japanese sunscreen is among the best there is and they offer good value to your money. Whether you enjoy slapping heavy cream on your body, need something light before jumping to the water, or a quick touch up spray protection— the Japanese will have something to offer.
So, before driving to the beach or heading outdoor for a great adventure, make sure to pack up some awesome Japanese sunscreen to protect you and your family from the burning sun and enjoy the whole summer.