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The best Korean sunscreens to swear by this summer

It’s no secret that K-beauty has taken over the world.

South Korea has been leading the industry with product innovations like cushion foundations, serums and essences — and sunscreen is no exception. After all, the product has always been considered to be an essential part of one’s daily skincare routine to prevent long-term sun damage, rather than an additional step to prevent sunburn from outdoor activities.

Yet, the Korean sunscreen industry took a hit earlier this year with a shocking scandal. The Purito Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+ — which has topped beauty lists and been adored by skincare aficionados for its high sun protection, hydrating-properties, and lightweight feel — garnered interest from cosmetic chemists and ingredients specialists, who started questioning its label claims.

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The controversy heightened when Judit Racz, founder of ingredients glossary INCI Decoder, sent samples of the product to an independent laboratory for testing. The result? The true protection of Purito’s bestseller was proven to be SPF19, which is almost four times lesser than Purito’s self-reported SPF84.5.

This pandora box of issues surrounding the Korean sunscreen industry also casted doubt on the actual level of protection that sunscreen products were able to provide. Following this, the Korea Institute of Dermatological Sciences made it a point to test and provide the public with reliable information about sunscreens that have passed their SPF claims.

We’ve gathered the approved list here — read on for the best Korean sunscreens to swear by this summer.

(Hero and featured image credit: RF._.studio from Pexels)

If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic sunscreen on the list, you don’t have to scroll any further. Enter the Make P:rem Calming Sun Cream, a sunscreen of SPF of 50+ that has been verified with a rating that indicates an extremely high protection against UVA rays.

Highlights from the ingredient list include bamboo water, which is rich in natural silica content, to promote healthier skin and prevent wrinkles. It also speeds up the healing process due to its astringent and antimicrobial properties. The sunscreen also contains Calamine, an ingredient that calms irritated and sensitive skin.Calamine naturally comes in a pink formula, which lends a slight pink hue to the sunscreen.

Make P:rem Calming Sun Cream is best for sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin.

Price
S$17.97

A little goes a long way with the Iope UV Shield Sun Protector. This sunscreen is formulated with a Micro-Filter System™ that shields the skin from environmental stressors, and a V.D. Booster which treats signs of aging from UV rays while strengthening the skin’s barrier to assist the development of even healthier skin.

The Iope UV Shield Sun Protector is best those who prefer a lightweight, sunscreen that leaves a gentle glow on the skin while still maintaining a matte base for makeup.

Price
S$25.38

Round Lab 365 Derma Relief Sunscreen is packed with tons of soothing ingredients that make it a great option for those with sensitive skin. Besides ingredients like Panthenol and Centella that are great for inflamed skin, the sunscreen also contains brightening and hydrating ingredients such as Ceramide and Vitamin E. The best part? Its light, watery formula leaves nothing but a weightless finish on the skin and won’t cake your makeup.

Price
S$27

Nature Republic California Aloe Daily Sun Block is just about the most ideal alternative for those seeking a moisturising sunscreen. Crafted with a high concentration of aloe vera extract and niacinamide, these ingredients work together as a moisturising agent to protect and heal dry skin, wounds, and burns.

Users who have acne-prone skin need not fret — this lightweight option also contains sea water, hibiscus rosa sinesis flower and morinda citrifolia fruit extract, which is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants to battle acne.

Price
S$26.90

Dr.Jart+ is one of the cult favourite Korean skincare brands we’re completely in love with, so it’s safe to say we were relived to find out the Every Sun Day Waterproof Sun Milk is on the list of verified sunscreens. The lotion-like sunscreen contains a good mix of ingredients that benefit the skin. Take ceramide NP, adenosine and niacinamide for instance. Together, they help to prevent photoaging from sun exposure, while moisturising and protecting the skin from other environmental stressors too.

Price
S$17.50

We love how light and quick-absorbing the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel is. Here, you’ll find a whopping eight types of hyaluronic acid to help replenish and lock in moisture in the skin, as well as ingredients like adenosine and niacinamide to battle sun-damage. The sunscreen is also formulated with Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that strengthens skin elasticity.

The Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel is highly recommended for those with dry skin. A fair warning though, breakouts may occur as a result of chemical filters in the product for sensitive skin users.

Price
S$34.99

Jocelyn Tan

Senior Writer

Jocelyn Tan is a travel, food and design writer who's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. Constantly curious (read: chatty), she's the type who'll initiate conversations even with strangers in a shared taxi.

 

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