12 Best Japanese Sunscreens: Reviews & Guide

12 Best Japanese Sunscreens

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Japan leads the market in terms of quality skincare for radiant, glowing skin any time of year. The secrets of Japanese skincare lays in two words- UV protection.UV protection is one of the main concerns of the Japanese beauty industry. The Japanese are extremely paranoid of UV damage and are known to use UV protection daily. This means they have established revolutionary formulas that provide the most powerful UV products available.

Japanese sunscreens are some of the most popular on the market. They even clash with Korean cosmetics. These sunscreens are extremely popular because of their high quality, effectiveness, and value for money.

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    Our Top Picks for the Best Japanese Sunscreens

    1. Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen

    Our Pick

    Shiseido Senka UV Sunscreen moisturizes and protects your skin. It has SPF50 PA++++ for increased sun protection. This sunscreen contains mineral water, coenzyme Q10, and hyaluronic acids which offer great anti-aging benefits.        

    Shiseido Senka Aging CareUV Sunscreen is more like a hydrating cream than a heavy sunscreen. It helps reduce fine lines, pigmentation, and sagging skin. 

    This product is very affordable and has no scent. It is suitable for all skin types, including dry and sensitive skin. It can take a while to absorb into your skin and may irritate your eyes if you are not careful to avoid contact.

    Features

    • Agar gel formula allows easy application.
    • Hyaluronic acid and coenzyme Q10 improve skin moisture and fullness.
    • SPF50+ with PA++++ protection.
    • Minerals from the water at Mount Fuji for a smooth, refreshed, vibrant skin.
    • Moisturizes to keep skin hydrated and supple.
    • Protects skin against discoloration and sun damage.
    • Easily washes off the skin.
    • Suitable for All Skin Types including acne-prone skin, oily skin, and sensitive skin.

    2. Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Essence Sunscreen

    Hydrates and Moisturizes Skin

    Biore is a leading international beauty brand that is highly popular in Japan. The Biore UV Rich Essence sunscreen was created to meet the high-quality demand of Japanese clients.

    This sunscreen was awarded the Best Cosmetic Awards 2014. You can use it on the body and face and it now comes in a larger container giving to almost twice the usage! The product is now waterproof and can withstand at least 80 minutes of water immersion.

    It is waterproof so it can be difficult to remove, however you can easily wash it off with soap or makeup remover. It has water capsules that spread easily on the skin and provide rich moisturization thanks to its amazing ingredients including royal jelly extract, citrus, and hyaluronic acids. This sunscreen is suitable for sensitive skin and has been allergy tested to reduce allergy risks. It is suitable for dry and irritated skin.

    Features

    • Provides you with premium protection from harmful UVA and UVB radiation/
    • Great for people with sensitive skin.
    • The smooth formula never causes breakouts or irritation.
    • Reduces the appearance of pores and wrinkles after one week.
    • Waterproof for up to 80 minutes.
    • Easy to use.
    • Hydrates and moisturizes skin.
    • Contains ingredients like royal jelly extract, citrus, and hyaluronic acid.

    3. Canmake Mermaid UV Skin Gel

    Light-Weight Formula

    The Mermaid UV Skin gel is a new sunscreen by Canmake. This sunscreen is lightweight, has a watery consistency, and provides excellent UV protection. You can use it as a stand-alone product for your skin or as a moisturizer base to apply after a cleansing facial wash. It gives high uv protection.

    85 percent of the ingredients of this Japanese sunscreen are beautifying and keep your skin hydrated and smooth. It will also give you complete sun protection.

    Features

    • Infused with moisturizing ingredients.
    • Non-greasy, light, and refreshing.
    • Light-weight and fragrance-free skincare.
    • Smooth consistency that absorbs easily into the skin.
    • Contains 85% beautifying ingredients.
    • Great for acne-prone skin.

    4. Pigeon UV Baby Milk

    Hypoallergenic

    You want your child to be safe when you take them on vacation. Japan has both mild and high-quality sunscreens that are safe for your child’s skin.

    Pigeon UV baby milk has a creamy texture and strong protection against UV radiation. Although this Japanese sunscreen is SPF50+ it you can also purchase SPF25 PA++ and SPF35PA+++ products easily. It is also waterproof, so it will last longer. This baby sunscreen is hypoallergenic and safe to use for newborns. It protects from uva rays.

    Features

    • Non-sticky, non-greasy formula.
    • Safe for sensitive skin.
    • Easy to remove with soap.
    • Provides unbeatable protection.
    • Hypoallergenic.
    • Resistant to water and sweat.

    5. ROHTO Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk

    Suitable for All Skin Types

    This popular Japanese sunscreen uses exceptional moisturizing milk. The 2018 version has SPF50+ and PA++++ milk-type sunscreens for maximum protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. It’s clear in consistency and contains essential collagen and hyaluronic acids to give intense hydration and protection.

    It is safe for sensitive skin because it does not contain any fragrance, mineral oil, or alcohol. It has also been allergy tested to add to your peace of mind. It is waterproof and you can wash it out with regular soap or makeup remover. It has a milky formula.

    Features

    • Waterproof formula that won’t leave your skin feeling sticky.
    • No fragrance, color additives, or mineral oils.
    • Allergy tested and hypoallergenic.
    • Creates radiant skin with anti-aging properties (collagen).
    • Contains Hyaluronic acid.
    • Suitable for All Skin Types [including dry skin]

    6. Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel

     Absorbs Quickly

    Nivea is an internationally recognized brand. This Nivea product works wonders for your entire body. The Nivea product made in Japan is not oily or sticky and does not rub off easily. 

    This sunscreen is light and easy to apply, thanks to its super water-gel formula. It also doesn’t stain clothes.

    This sunscreen has SPF50 and PA+++ to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. This sunscreen is not sweat-resistant so you’ll need to reapply it as needed. For those who don’t like the traditional sticky feeling of sunscreens, this is an affordable alternative.

    Features

    • Suitable for all skin types.
    • Fragrance and color-free
    • Hypoallergenic.
    • Contains plant extracts.
    • Protects against UV damage.
    • Similar to lotion in texture for easy application.
    • Absorbs quickly and dries matte for shine-free skin.

    7. Privacy UV Face Powder

    Powered With Vitamin C

    Sunscreens aren’t limited to a cool gel or creamy liquid form. This powdery sunscreen will make your skin glow on a sweaty afternoon.

    You can feel confident that your skin is protected against the damaging sun by using SPF 50+ and PA++++.

    Features

    • Absorbs excess sebum.
    • Contains vitamin C.
    • Removeable with face wash.
    • Additive-free

    8. Obagi Sun Shield Matte Sunscreen

    Recommended by Skin Cancer Foundation

    Obagi Sun Shield provides both UVA and UVB protection with a luxurious matte finish. It contains octinoxate, zinc oxide, is completely fragrance-free, PABA, and sheer. This makes it suitable for all skin types.

    It combines powerful physical and chemical ingredients to provide total protection. This provides daily sun protection that can even prevent premature aging. It’s packed with SPF50 and comes in a lightweight formulation you can apply quickly without leaving behind any messy residues.

    Features

    • Fragrance and PABA free.
    • Safe for all skin types.
    • Non-greasy formula.
    • Skin Cancer Foundation Recommended product.

    9. SKIN AQUA Super Moisture Milk Pink

    Hydrates Your Skin

    The Super Moisture Milk Pink sunscreen offers sun protection with SPF50+ and PA++++++. It is the most UV-protective sunscreen in the SKIN AQUA product line. This sunscreen is waterproof and is safe for swimming or sweating during intense activities. It washes out easily with regular makeup removers or soaps.

    This product is safe to use on your face and body for total protection. The sunscreen has pink pearls that enhance the skin’s natural pinkish glow and brighten it and can accentuate makeup. This sunscreen has a milky texture that may take longer to absorb than other products.

    Features

    • Provides maximum UVA/UVB ray protection.
    • Water-resistant formula.
    • Contains moisturizing ingredients.
    • Perfect to use on the face, body, or as a makeup base.
    • Brightens and hydrates your skin.
    • A quality product that brings out the natural beauty of your skin.

    10. Kanebo Allie Extra UV Gel Sunscreen

    Great Scent

    Kanebo Allie Extra UV Sunscreen has SPF50+ and PA++++++ to allow you to spend more time in the sun. The Kanebo Alley formula is perfect for those who don’t like the feeling of oily heavy sunscreens. This lightweight product deeply moisturizes the skin to prevent dryness.

    This sunscreen has a mild scent, which is enough to get you through the day. It should not leave any white or greasy residue on your skin.

    Features

    • Lotion consistency.
    • Light-weight formula.
    • Deeply moisturizes the skin.
    • Great scent.
    • Non-greasy product.
    • Combats dry skin.

    11. Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen

    Long-Lasting Protection

    The sunscreen milk from Shiseido provides excellent moisturizing effects and UV protection with SPF50+, PA++++++, and the regular version. However, it has a gentle formula that is suitable for babies and those with sensitive skin. 

    The Anessa Perfect UV sunscreen is suitable for outdoor activities such as swimming, surfing, and other water sports. It leaves the skin feeling silky smooth and comfortable while protecting it from the sun and airborne pollutants.

    Aqua booster technology reacts with minerals found in sweat and water to create a uniform protective coating that increases UV protection by 20+%. This sunscreen also features Shiseido’s Light Stamina technology, which converts the energy from the UV light into heat. It provides more durable and longer-lasting protection.

    The sunscreens also contain ingredients such as aloe vera and rosehip oil. These ingredients provide deep hydration and protection against harmful pollutants. It is suitable for sensitive skin.

    Features

    • Double-layered sunscreen that blocks out UV radiation.
    • Non-sticky, milky texture for easy application.
    • Doesn’t leave a white film on skin or clothes.
    • Protects skin from all harmful rays.
    • Enhance your makeup and moisturize the skin.

    12. Sofina Kao Beaute UV Sunscreen

     5 in 1 Lotion With Sunblock

    The Sofina Kao milk sunscreen is the best product on this list for oily skin. It has a dry formula that quickly sinks into the skin and doesn’t leave you feeling greasy. This sunscreen is also moisturizing so your skin will stay nourished and glowing.

    It provides sun protection with SPF50+ and PA++++. The lid is easy to twist and allows you to dispense the exact amount you need.

    Features

    • Provides blemish-free, sun-kissed skin.
    • 5 in 1 lotion.
    • Enhances makeup.
    • Anti-aging formula.
    • Moist and comfortable to wear.

    Important Factors to Consider

    There are many Japanese sunscreens on the market, which can make it difficult to choose the right one. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for the best Japanese sunscreen.

     

    UVB, UVA, SPF, PA

    The label may be confusing for first-time buyers but they are easy to comprehend once you get familiar with them!

    Understanding the differences between UVA/UVB is important. UVA, or Ultraviolet A, penetrates deep into the skin and causes sagging and wrinkles. UVB, or Ultraviolet B, causes inflammation and can lead to skin problems like spots and freckles.

    SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number that is associated with it indicates how much protection you receive from UVB rays. PA stands for Protection Grade Against UVA Rays. It is followed by the + sign, higher protection grades are signified by plus signs and a higher SPF number.

    Physical or Chemical Sunscreen?

    There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical.

    Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, are designed to protect the skin from damage from sunlight. Chemical sunscreens on the other side absorb the sun’s rays to prevent them from reaching the skin.

    All physical UV filters can block both UVB and UVA radiations. However, only chemical UV filters sunlight to thoroughly prevent damage. Some products combine both chemical and physical ingredients to offer greater protection.

    UV-CUT POWDER SHEETS

    These are rare, but they can be very useful. These towelettes are infused with sun protection, and you can often find them in Japanese convenience stores and Japanese drugstores during summer. The sunscreen powder is made from the liquid in the sheets and protects your skin from dryness for longer than other products.

    Size

    Size is important, whether you’re trying a new product or returning a favor. A larger size generally means a lower price. However, if you’re trying something new, the smaller size will always work as a sample of the product’s effectiveness.

    If you’re looking for summer adventures, make sure you have enough to last the season.

    Dispenser

    Japanese sunscreens do not include UV sprays. They can be purchased in twist-off caps or flip caps. You want to be able to quickly apply sunscreen, so make sure you choose one that is easy to dispense.

    Skin Type [including sensitive skin]

    You need to ensure that the sunscreen you choose matches your skin type. You can find Japanese sunscreen for dry, oily, or combination skin types. Make sure to test it on your skin before you use it to test for adverse reactions. 

    Forms of Japanese Sunscreens

    Japanese sunscreen comes in many forms, as I have mentioned. These are:

    1. MILK AND CREAM

    This sunscreen is similar to traditional sunscreens in that it has a fluid and milky texture. These sunscreens are more watery than regular sunscreens, and often feel similar to an ordinary moisturizer. These sunscreens will take some time to get absorbed into the skin and can be uncomfortable in humid environments.

    2. WATERY GEL

    Water gel is lightweight because it has a milky, runny formula. It is refreshingly cool and sinks in the skin within a matter of minutes. This is the best form of sunscreen if you have oily skin but don’t like the feeling of lotion on the skin. You can wear water gel sunscreens under makeup thanks to their light consistency.

    3. UV SPRAYS

    Although UV sprays are still relatively new in the cosmetics industry, they have already gained popularity. These sunscreens are available in aerosol cans, which allow you to instantly refresh your sun protection. These sunscreens are great for refreshing your skin on hot days.

    Some sprays can treat hair and scalp. However, this may leave a slightly greasy residue on your hair.

    The spray is liquid, and it dries in a creamy paste. Although UV sprays won’t cover your entire skin, they are great for reapplying sun protection or as an addition to protecting your makeup.

    Some sprays may be labeled “extra cool” or even “cool” and may contain menthol. If you have sensitive skin, you might not want to use these products as they may irritate you.

    4. ESSENCE

    Essence is the most versatile type of sunscreen. It has a serum-like texture, making it thicker and more liquid than gel, but it is not as thin. 

    There are many versions including watery essence, bb essence, and whitening essence. Essence sunscreens offer the best moisturization for your skin.

    Conclusion

    Japanese sunscreens are among the most effective and offer great value for money. The Japanese have something for everyone, whether you like heavy creams on your skin, prefer light products, or need quick protection.

    Make sure you have some Japanese sunscreen on hand before you head out to the beach or any outdoor adventure. This ensures you can enjoy the entire summer with your family without impacting your skin!

    Emma Smith

    Emma Smith

    I am Emma Smith a freelance beauty and wellness writer. I graduated from New York University, where I studied English Literature and Creative Writing. After working in the beauty industry for several years, I decided to pursue my passion for writing about things related to beauty and health - from skincare tips to makeup tutorials to interviews with leading experts on the field. I have also done dermatology course 'Dermatology: Trip to skin' from Novosibirsk State University (NSU).

    I love staying healthy by doing working out and yoga. I am mother of a beautiful baby girl, I spend most of my time caring for her while still managing work obligations.