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5 Korean sunscreens that are light years ahead

Korean sunscreens, which are also widely available online, aren’t the gooey, pore-clogging products you might be used to. Instead, they’re light, fragrant, and easy to apply. Many of them are stellar multitasking, offering hydration, antioxidants and even skin tone, as well as UVA and UVB protection. And because they don’t leave a chalky white residue, they’re often the favorite brands of people of color.

Korean skincare, after all, has won awards over the past decade in the beauty industry, known for creating a “glass skin” “that dewy, hazy perfection that you adore in your photos. favorite K-pop stars. This summer is a great time to expand your H Mart shopping list with Korean-made sunscreens that are a big improvement over the sticky, mushy tubes currently sitting at the bottom of your beach bag. Let’s take a look at what dermatologists love about them, and when they say you might need something more substantial.

What is the difference?

If you are wondering why Korea has BTS and The best sunscreen in the world, the short answer is: the United States Food and Drug Administration is not advancing at breakneck speed when it comes to innovation in the sunscreen world. “It’s been about 20 years since the last sunscreen ingredient was approved in the United States,” dermatologist Uchenna R. Okereke says HuffPost. The reason is, she explained, that the United States considers sunscreen to be an over-the-counter drug, which is why it is regulated by the FDA. “In several other countries, including Korea, sunscreens are considered cosmetics, so these sunscreen manufacturers have more ingredients to choose from,” she said.

But why does Korea specifically rule so harshly with sunscreen? “The Korean market is evolving faster and full of innovations in terms of new ingredients and combinations of ingredients,” said Deanne Mraz Robinson, dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital. She is also a fan of product advice from this country. “Korean brands use the sound system [Protection Grade of UVA Rays] to identify the degree of protection from UVA rays, in addition to disclosing the SPF, which measures protection against UVB rays. Here in the United States, brands are not required to specify UVA protection against UVB. Instead, we just say “broad spectrum,” which means there is coverage against both types of rays. “

Dermatologist Suchismita Paul told HuffPost that one of the reasons Korean sunscreens are so popular is that their user experience is often superior: “They have a variety of formulation options that are lightweight and easier to apply to the skin without leave white marks, ”she said. “This is especially important for people with colored skin who might be reluctant to use sunscreen when it leaves a chalky white cast on the skin.” In addition to handling the basics so well, Korean sunscreens often add all kinds of skin treats. “You can find brands with ingredients like soothing aloe vera, moisturizing hyaluronic acid, brightening niacinamide, and ceramides that have additional benefits for the skin,” she said.

Which Korean sunscreen is better (and worse) for

“In Korea, it is generally accepted that sunscreen is part of a sunscreen lifestyle, so sunscreens are generally designed to have a stylish formulation compared to Western sunscreens, which tend to be heavier. , water resistant and intended for outdoor use, ”said Okereke. mentionned.

His observation is supported by Michelle wong, the doctorate in chemistry behind the Beauty science muffin lab blog, who said it’s important to know that these products have a better time and a better place to be used. “They are not a quick fix,” she told HuffPost. “Korean sunscreens are very light and stylish to use, and they tend to use the latest filters, which are the active ingredients in sunscreens that protect against UV. But if you are planning a day at the beach this would not be a good option.

Finally, Okereke noted that popularity is not a science. “A claim of superiority is based on the clinical efficacy or the efficacy of a product,” she said. “This information can only be obtained in face-to-face clinical trials, and to date there is no evidence that Korean sunscreens are superior to other sunscreens.”

Application tips

“Sunscreens tinted with iron oxide are essential in protecting against exposure to visible light,” Okereke said. “This is especially important in people with colored skin, because exposure to visible light can exacerbate certain photosensitive skin conditions, such as melasma or hyperpigmentation.” She said that whatever brand you use, it’s important to reapply any sunscreen every two hours. “If you are wearing makeup it can be difficult, so I recommend using SPF powder and reapplying it during the day,” she added.

It is also important to apply any product at the right time, depending on what you are using. “Physical / mineral sunscreens (with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) should be applied last in your skin care routine, and they should always be on the outermost surface of your skin. skin in order to repel the sun’s rays as effectively as possible, ”said Robinson. . “But chemical sunscreens (with ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate) should be applied first, to clean, dry skin, because they must be able to be absorbed through the skin to convert UVA / UVB rays into heat and release it.

“While sunscreens are absolutely necessary, there is no sunscreen that provides 100% sun protection,” Paul concluded. “It is always very important to practice other sun protection habits, such as seeking shade, avoiding the midday sun from 10 am to 4 pm, and wearing sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses. “

5 Korean Sunscreens Recommended By Experts You Should Try

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Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun SPF 50+


“It’s a popular product, thanks to its fantastic protection against 100% pure zinc oxide,” said Robinson. “The formula is fragrance free, which is good for sensitive skin. It combines zinc with ceramides for a pleasant and light application.

Get Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun SPF 50+ for $ 19.99

COSRX Aloe Soothing Sunscreen SPF50 +


This product has the consistency of a light moisturizer and is quickly absorbed by the skin, without a greasy feeling or white streak. The popularity of the product has been overwhelming: “A hit is sold every 30 seconds in the UK alone,” said Hye-Young Lee, director of brand growth.

Get COSRX SPF50 + Soothing Aloe Sunscreen for $ 24

Acwell UV Cut SPF 50+ Natural Sunscreen


“I’m a huge fan of sunscreen that travels well with you because you’re more likely to reapply it,” said Robinson. “This product is transparent for transparent reapplication on the go. Sun protection comes from zinc oxide, which is associated with willow bark extract, also known as “acne superstar” salicylic acid.

Get Acwell UV Cut SPF 50+ Natural Sun Cushion for $ 42

Innisfree Anti-UV Daily Sunscreen SPF 36


“It’s an economical and popular option,” said Paul. “It’s especially good for people with colored skin because there is no white cast.” The company uses natural ingredients which it claims are sourced from the Korean island of Jeju.

Get Innisfree Daily UV Defense SPF 36 Sunscreen for $ 15

Neogen Day-Light Protection Sun Cream SPF 50



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