Korean Sunscreens: How They Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays
It is a known fact that sunscreen is good for your skin and has to be applied daily whether or not it is sunny or raining outside. It has been reiterated by our parents, experts, and various dermatologists over the years. However, before we get into this blog, it is important to understand what exactly sunscreen does and how we can benefit from using it daily.
What Is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a product that helps shield the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. It has active components that stop UV rays from getting to the skin.
Sunscreen can be applied as a cream or in recent times, sunscreen sprays and sun sticks have also been extensively adopted as it doesn’t require you to get your hands dirty. Sunscreen sprays and sun sticks can also be used on top of makeup and the easy application has made it a preferable option as well.
Why is Sunscreen Important?
Sunscreen products are designed to help prevent sunburn and shield the skin from UVA and UVB rays, which can cause skin damage over time, including premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots.
Sunscreen is also extremely important for protecting against skin cancer, as it has been shown to decrease the risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.
Physical vs Chemical Sunscreen
Did you know there are 2 different types of sunscreen? Let’s get into it!
Physical or mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of your skin and act as a shield, while chemical sunscreens sink into your skin and act more like a sponge.
Physical Sunscreen tends to be heavier and can leave a whitish residue which may make dusky skin tones look gray. However, it is great for sensitive and acne-prone skin and is widely recommended to prevent year-round UVA damage, including wrinkles, brown spots, and photoaging. Though it acts instantly, it needs to be reapplied frequently.
Chemical sunscreen lasts longer but needs to be applied twenty minutes before stepping into the sun. You should look for chemical sunscreen if you need a water-resistant formula. For instance, if you are going swimming, it’s better to use chemical sunscreen. Similarly, if you play sports or sweat a lot during the day, you will find chemical sunscreen more effective.
Ingredients to Look Out For
Physical sunscreen ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are generally better for sensitive skin types because they sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as avobenzone and homosalate, are absorbed into the skin and may be better for people with deeper complexions or melanin skin types.
Sunscreens with hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, can be beneficial for dry skin types.
People with oily or acne-prone skin may want to look for oil-free or non-comedogenic sunscreens.
What’s the Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays?
Both UVA and UVB rays are capable of damaging your skin, but they do so in different ways.
UVA rays have a longer wavelength and can penetrate your skin more deeply, causing your skin cells to age prematurely and leading to wrinkles and other signs of early aging. UVA rays make up about 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface.
UVB rays, on the other hand, have a higher energy and can cause more immediate damage to the top layers of your skin, leading to sunburns and DNA mutations that can eventually lead to skin cancer. UVB rays make up only about 5% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface.
It is important to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Traditional sunscreen products have been more successful at blocking UVB rays than UVA rays.
SPA vs PA Rating
The SPA (Sun Protection Factor) only measures UVB protection while PA rating only measures protection against UVA protection.
Protecting yourself from both UVB and UVA rays is very important so knowing the terms of sun protection is an important skill to have.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and indicates how well sunscreen protects skin against sunburn. It does not indicate how long you can stay out in the sun, but how long it takes to start reddening without it.
The higher number of SPF your sunscreen is better as it prevents your skin from reddening than one with a lower SPF.
The + after SPF means the rating is ‘at least’ the value given. However, it should be noted that sunscreen should be applied in a thick layer. An adequate layer of sunscreen with SPF 30 is more effective than a thin layer of SPF 50.
The PA rating system was established in Japan as a method of informing consumers of the level of protection provided by sunscreen. The pluses indicate how powerful the sunscreen is in sun protection. The more pluses, the higher the protection.
The rating system is as follows:
PA+ = Some UVA protection
PA++ = Moderate UVA protection
PA+++ = High UVA protection
PA++++ = Extremely High UVA protection
In addition to PA rating, sometimes you’ll see that sometimes a sunscreen is labeled as “broad spectrum.” This means that the sunscreen does, in fact, protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Why Choose Korean Sunscreen Over Other Sunscreens?
Korean sunscreens offer more coverage than any other sunscreens that are available in the market, as they extensively use the PA rating system (which indicates UVA protection level) in addition to the SPF numbering system used by Western brands (which indicates UVB protection level).
Korean beauty culture values smooth, even, and dewy skin, which is reflected in their competitive beauty market that constantly innovates sunscreen.
Korean sunscreens are part of a lifestyle that defends the skin from the long-term effects of the sun.
There are also a plethora of sunscreens that use ingredients that do not irritate skin yet are very effective in sun protection. Korean sunscreens are not usually exorbitantly expensive and are cheaper than alternative options.
Korean sunscreens are also considered better than Western ones because they are lighter, easier to spread, and have access to more sunscreen ingredients to work with.
Unique Ingredients Used in Korean Sunscreen
Korean sunscreens are known for their advanced, UV-blocking filters that provide high SPF content (30, 50, and higher) and protection from harmful rays of the sun.
They also have a lightweight, non-greasy texture that doesn't leave a chalky white cast on the skin, making them perfect for those who live in humid environments and find it difficult to wear sunscreen every day.
Additionally, Korean manufacturers are meticulous about the tiny details of their sunscreens, ensuring that they contain ingredients found in popular serums and moisturizers, such as centella asiatica (or cica) and allantoin, to provide additional skincare benefits.
Korean sunscreens commonly use filters like tinosorb and mexoryl, which are not as commonly used in the US.
Mineral filters like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are also popular ingredients that Korean physical sunscreens extensively use. Korean sunscreens are often free of PABA, avobenzone, oxybenzone, fragrance, phthalates, and parabens, and some are water-resistant.
Find the Perfect Sunscreen for You
If you have sensitive skin and most sunscreen products irritate your skin, go for physical (mineral) sunscreen.
Belle Vous recommends Farm Stay Aloe Vera Perfect Sunscreen SPF 50+/ PA +++
This sunscreen provides enough coverage for everyday life and outdoor activities. It is also formulated with Aloe Vera leaf juice and Green Tea extract which helps soothe irritated skin and provides a very moisturized feeling to your skin.
Another great physical (mineral) sunscreen that you can use is the Belif UV Protector Multi Sunscreen SPF 50/ PA++++ which you can find at https://bellevous.in/
This multi-purpose sunscreen has powerful UV-protecting properties as well as a skin smoothening effect. Because it is a tinted sunscreen, it offers a skin tone-correcting effect. With Molokhia (an ingredient that is rich in antioxidants), it is a perfect sunscreen for you. This sunscreen is also water and sweat resistant and leaves your skin with a matte finish. Additionally, it works well as a substitute for a makeup primer.
The Dr. Oracle 21; Stay A-Thera Sunblock is designed for sensitive skin and troubled skin and protects against external irritants and provides deep hydration. With a hypoallergenic formula, it is gentle on the skin and soothes inflammation, and doesn’t leave any white cast or greasy residue.
For people who struggle with white cast and spend a lot of time outdoors, a chemical sunscreen would be best suited for you.
Belle Vous recommends Laboshe Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF50+/ PA++++ which leaves a light creamy texture and is formulated with Hyaluronic Acid which provides an extra boost of hydration and aids in brightening skin.
Another great chemical sunscreen that you can find at https://bellevous.in/ is the CosRx Aloe Soothing Sunscreen which has specs of SPF50+/PA+++. This sunscreen works really well as an everyday sunscreen and feels like a moisturizer that does not leave any white cast.
Tips for Using Sunscreen
- Experts recommend using sunscreen year-round to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's UV rays. Even when staying indoors, your skin is still exposed to UVA rays, which can penetrate through glass and clouds and cause damage. So please layer on your sunscreen for 365 days- whether it is summer, monsoon, or winter!
- ALWAYS REAPPLY SUNSCREEN! Applying and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is key to getting the most protection possible, especially in places with a lot of sun exposure.
It is also important to remember that high-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs. A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication. Remember that applying and reapplying a thick layer of SPF 30 sunscreen is better than applying a thin layer of SPF 50 sunscreen.
We hope that this blog has helped you- even if it’s a tiny bit and that you take everything from this blog and apply it to your skincare routine. Try to always protect yourself from the sun and its harmful UV rays and be sure to pass on the message!