This report is available in English only.
Japanese sunscreen lotions have gained popularity worldwide for being lightweight and protecting from UVA and UVB rays at a low price point. In this article, we introduce the popular types of sunscreens, as well as what PA is and why you need it!
All About Sunscreen in Japan
In Japan, having a fair skintone is seen as beautiful and everyone takes great care of their skin. Sun protection is an important part of the daily beauty routine. Nowadays, Japanese sunscreens have become popular worldwide for their high UV ray protection and light-weight formula.
In this article, we introduce you to some of the varieties of Japanese sunscreens, specifying the differences between them so that you can choose the one that's best for you.
Japanese Sunscreens - What Makes Them Different?
One of the main reasons why many people from all over the world fall in love with Japanese sunscreen lotions is that they are not heavy or feel greasy.
The Japanese summer is very humid, so most kinds of lotions would build a film on the skin and sweat would gather underneath this film, making them very uncomfortable to wear.
Japanese sunscreen, on the other hand, is made to sink into the skin within minutes and doesn't leave an oily residue. The skin is able to breathe and many Japanese sunscreens tend to leave a powdery feeling, keeping your skin dry for longer.
Please note is that Japanese sunscreens often contain alcohol which some people can be sensitive to. If you apply it to your face, it is advised to layer it over a face serum or a light face lotion and not directly on the facial skin.
What is PA and Why Is It Important?
Most of the Japanese sunscreens have a very high SPF (Sun Protection Factor), namely between 35 to 50, as well as something called PA (Protection Factor A).
SPF is known all over the world as a universal sun protection measuring scale. Even clothes can have an SPF. The SPF number multiplies the time you can stay in the sun without getting a sunburn according to your skin type. For example, SPF 20 means you can stay in the sun safely 20 times longer than you would without applying sunscreen.
However, SPF only refers to the UVB (Ultra Violet B) rays that penetrate the upper layer of your skin, so if you're concerned about skin aging, you should look into the PA factor of your sun protection.
PA measures the strength of protection from the UVA (Ultra Violet A) rays which damage the deeper layers of the skin and can cause premature aging of the skin. PA is measured in plus signs not in numbers. PA+ is the lowest protection while PA++++ is the highest protection rate at the moment.
Gel, Essence, Lotion or Spray - Which One to Choose?
Standing in the Japanese drugstore in front of a wall full of sunscreen options can be very overwhelming. Let's compare some of the most popular options.
1. Watery Gel - The Light-Weight Choice
Watery Gel or water gel (the name is depending on the brand) has a milky, very runny gel formula. It feels cold and refreshing on the skin and it sinks into the skin within one or two minutes.
This kind of sunscreen is perfect if you have oily skin or don't like the feeling of lotion on your skin. It is also great to wear under makeup for a lightweight sun protection.
The gel-type sunscreen is the most light-weight option but it can separate in the bottle, so shake well before use. The NIVEA version is slightly moisturizing while the Biore version sinks into the skin without a trace. The NIVEA water gel is available in SPF 35 and 50, while Biore Watery Gel is only available in 50+ currently.
You can purchase these sunscreens online via Amazon Japan. See the merchandise below for more details and to buy (Biore SPF 50, Nivea SPF 50):
2. Essence - Available in the Largest Variety
Watery essence, bb (beauty balm) essence, and whitening essence are some of the many versions available. Essence is thicker than the gel and not as runny. They are not so different from one another.
"Whitening essence" might sound rather weird to someone who is not used to Japanese skincare products. Don't worry, whitening products in Japan are formulated to even out an uneven skin tone, not to bleach your skin.
If you are sensitive and want to avoid alcohol in your skin care, you should get the SUNKILLER PERFECT WATER ESSENCE alcohol free. It is one of the only alcohol free sunscreen versions available at Japanese drugstores.
Below are the products available on Amazon Japan (Biore Aqua Rich Essence, alcohol-free Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence):
read the rest of the article on the MATCHA website......