In my previous post, I mentioned how much I love physical sunscreens. I also wanted to take the time to go over Japanese and Asian-brand sunscreens as well, since most of them do contain physical sunblockers. Japan is the heaven of physical sunscreens. Due to their hot and humid climates, their sunscreens are generally extremely strong, matte and stick to the skin like glue.
In my personal opinion, a lot of sunscreens from Japan, China and Korea are superior to those available in the Western markets in terms of all the cosmetic properties that they can provide. Sunscreen in Asian countries are generally marketed towards women as a cosmetic item, as opposed to a skincare necessity. In addition to protection from UVA/UVB rays, most Asian sunscreens are also marketed as make-up bases and primers that aid in oil-control. They are generally also lighter in consistency/texture and are sold as “face milks” as opposed to thick lotions.
If you are anything like me, it is extremely easy to be sucked up into the world of Japanese sunscreens and the “miracle work” that these sunscreens are marketed to do for our skin. Especially for those of us (me!) who can’t exactly read any of the ingredients on the bottle. It can get pretty risky to go putting on unknown chemicals and products on your acne – you never know what can irritate it! Below are two of the main types of ingredients you should be aware of:
Silicones are compounds that generate that silky, soft feeling in cosmetics such as bases, primers and BB cream. This compounds helps to smooth the skin by filling in your pores, forming a thin film on the skin. Common forms of silicones are cyclomethicone and dimethicone. It is probably why the Monistat Anti-Chaffing Gel is such a great primer, since it’s main active ingredient is none other than dimethicone. Silicones are also used in hair products such as leave-in conditioners and shine serums, since they help to coat hair follicules and help to seal in the moisture.
It is important to use a cleansing oil of some sort to remove sunscreens (and any other primer, base, foundation, etc) that contains silicones. Silicones are insoluble in water and require cleansing oils to fully remove it. NOTE: Some people claim that silicones can cause or worsen acne because it can be irrirtating or “suffocating” to the skin. I personally have no had a problem with any of my primers and BB creams that contain silicones. I do believe that using too many products that contain silicones will exacerbate acne. I generally will not use a primer, sunscreen and bb cream that all contain silicones all at once. Just go easy on your skin, don’t suffocate it with too much.
Alcohol is almost always a main component of Japanese sunscreens. In order to increase the mattifying effect, alcohols are added so that the sunscreen dries quickly and minimizes the amount of time needed to prep for make-up. Alcohol is a very irritating and harsh compound that can exacerbate skin conditions such as acne. If you have dry or sensitive skin, it is also suggested that you test sunscreens containing alcohol before you cover your entire face with it.
If you are interested in trying some Japanese sunscreens, here are some of the most highly rated and popular:
- Sofina Perfect UV sunscreens
- Shiseido ANESSA sunscreens
- Mentholatum sunscreens
- Kao Biore Perfect Face Milk SPF50+/PA+++
- ALLIE Extra UV Protector (Perfect Alpha)
I have personally tried the following sunscreens and will be posting my reviews shortly:
- Kao Biore Perfect Face Milk SPF50+/PA+++ (supposedly the dupe for Sofina Perfect UV sunscreens)
- Kose SUNCUT Essence In UV Protect Milk SPF50 PA+++ Waterproof
- C + M SUN CARE Extra Screen Milk SPF 90 (35 ml)