Sunscreens are a must in your skincare and makeup routine. if you don’t already have your go-to sunscreen here are the best Japanese sunscreens you can try. See what best works for your skin and always keep it handy!
The best part of Japanese sunscreens is that it’s gentle on the skin and is formulated with skin nourishing ingredients. You’ll find Japanese sunscreens that are formulated for different skin types and you can choose the one that best suits you. You can check out our buying guide at the end of the article to figure out what works best for you!
Types of Japanese Sunscreens
Everything You Need To Know Before choosing the between the best Japanese Sunscreens
Did you know there are two types of UV rays you need to protect yourself from?
The two types of UV rays are: UVA rays and UVB rays
UVA rays are present throughout the year whereas the UVB rays are present during the winter and rainy season. Most American sunscreens give protection against UVB rays whereas Japanese sunscreens give protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- UVA rays speedens aging of the skin and cause formation of wrinkles and fine lines
- 90% of UV rays compose of UVA rays and these rays can pass through glass windows and even through the clouds.
- This means even if it’s a cloudy day or your indoors, you’re still being exposed to UVA rays
- When you get a sunburn, that’s because of the UVB rays. The suntan that darkens the skin is caused by UVB rays.
Most American sunscreens only provide protection against UVB rays whereas Japanese sunscreens provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays
There are two types of sunscreen you should be aware of:
- Sunscreen or UV absorber or chemical sunscreens
- Sunblock or UV Filter or physical sunscreens
Differences and similarities between sunscreen and sunblock
|Absorbs UV rays and converts it to heat energy or infrared||Reflects UV rays|
|Prevents the penetration of UV rays into the skin using a chemical reaction||Acts like a barrier so the sun rays bounces off the skin|
|Can be irritating for sensitive skin type||Generally gentler on the skin when compared to UV absorbers|
What kind of sunscreen is better for you – physical sunscreen or chemical sunscreens ?
Just because a particular skincare product has raging reviews doesn’t mean it’s good for YOUR skin. While the popular Japanese sunscreen might work extremely well for a lot of skin types, it might not be the best choice for your skin type.
Many sunscreens use both chemical and physical filters to develop a strong formula in order to provide the user the best protection. While this is extremely effective, it might not suit a lot of skin types.
Choose the kind of sunscreen depending on your skin type:
Physical Japanese Sunscreen
If you have oily skin or skin that’s prone to acne then stay away from physical filters or sunblocks as physical sunscreens have thicker formula. But if you have sensitive skin, physical sunscreens are the best Japanese sunscreens for you as they don’t contain many chemicals that can irritate your skin.
Another thing you should know about sunscreens with physical filters is that it contains zinc oxide that’s known to leave your skin with a white cast. If that’s a big no-no for you then you’re better off with a chemical sunscreen.
Chemical Japanese Sunscreens
When compared to physical sunscreen or sunblocks, chemical sunscreens are better at providing protection from the UV rays. This is because while physical sunscreens just block the sun rays, chemical sunscreens absorb the rays and convert it.
I prefer chemical sunscreens because unlike physical filters, chemical sunscreen’s formulas don’t have that thick consistency. Chemical sunscreens usually come in gel-type and are non-sticky.
But if you have sensitive skin then stay away from chemical sunscreens because the chemicals can cause a bad reaction or irritation.
If you’re applying a chemical sunscreen then make sure you wait at least about 20 minutes before exposing your skin to the sun so that the sunscreen is properly absorbed into your skin.
How to choose the best Japanese sunscreen?
The first thing you need to look for in a Japanese sunscreen is its SPF and PA rating
- SPF rating denotes the protection it offers against UVB rays
- PA rating denotes the protection the sunscreen offers against UVA rays
Choosing a Japanese sunscreen with the right SPF and PA
This guide will help you figure out how much SPF and PA rating is best suited for different activities:
If you’re going to be exposed to the sun for long hours (that is about 5-6 hours or more) + heavy exercise
- In this situation, it’s best to choose a Japanese sunscreen that’s waterproof and with a high SPF and PA rating to ensure you get maximum protection from UVA and UVB rays. Look for Japanese sunscreens with an SPF50 or SPF50+ and PA+++ to PA++++. Also make sure to reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours.
If you’re going to exposed to the sun for shorter period of time (less than 3 hours) + light exercise
- In this situation, you can choose a Japanese sunscreen with SPF40 to SPF50 with PA+++ to PA++++. However, if you stay longer and/or sweat then make sure to reapply the sunscreen
For everyday use
- If you’re not exposed to sun for longer hours and say the only time you’d step in the sun is when you’re getting out your car or cab and entering another closed space then you can choose a Japanese sunscreen with lower SPF and PA rating with PA+++ to PA++++ and SPF35 to SPF50. This will just give you minimum protection from the UVA and UVB rays.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen Texture
There are mainly 3 types of sunscreen textures you can choose from and each of them have their own benefits:
- Cream texture
- Milk/Lotion texture
- Gel texture
- Cream Texture Type Sunscreen
Sunscreens that have a cream type texture are very moisturizing in nature which is great for your skin. Because of its texture it spreads evenly. You’ll find a lot of water-proof cream type sunscreens which makes sure that the effectiveness doesn’t reduce when you come in contact with water or sweat.
- Gel texture type Sunscreen
Sunscreens with gel-like texture are usually clear and have a refreshing effect. It’s extremely easy to apply and glides smoothly over your skin.
- Milk/Lotion texture type Sunscreen
Sunscreens with a milk/lotion-like formula spread easily on the skin and doesn’t leave a white cast which is usually the problem with a lot of sunscreens.
If you have dry skin, milk or lotion type sunscreen is one of the best Japanese sunscreens type for you as it usually is moisturizing in nature. And gel-like sunscreens are also great to use under your makeup.
Best Japanese Sunscreens: Quick Summary
|Best Japanese Sunscreens||Best For||SPF|
|Watery Essence By Biore||Acne-prone Skin||SPF50+|
|Urban Oil-Free UV Protector By Shiseido||Oily Skin||SPF42|
|Allie Extra Gel UV Sunscreen||Sensitive Skin||SPF50+|
|Curel UV Milk||Dry Skin||SPF30|
|Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion By Shiseido||Fair Complexion||SPF50+|
|Tone Up UV Essence By Skin Aqua||Fair Complexion||SPF50+|
|UV Bright Milk By Biore||Dark Skin||SPF50+|
|Waterproof Baby Milk By Pigeon||Babies||SPF50+|
|Anessa Aqua Booster Mild By Shiseido||Babies||SPF50+|
|ANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen||Sensitive Skin||SPF50+|
|NIVEA Sun Super Water Gel||Dry Skin||SPF50|
|KOSE SUNCUT Sunscreen Spray||Dark Skin||SPF50+|
|Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen by Shiseido||Mature Skin||SPF50+|
|Privacy UV Face Powder||Sensitive Skin||SPF50+|
|Canmake Mermaid UV Skin Gel||Dark Skin||SPF50+|
|Obagi Sun Shield Matte Sunscreen||Mature Skin||SPF50|
Our Top Picks For Best Japanese Sunscreens
- Biore Watery Essence – Best Japanese sunscreens for acne prone skin
- Curel UV Milk Sunscreen – Best Japanese sunscreens for sensitive skin
- ANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen – Best Japanese sunscreens for all skin types
How we tested the Japanese sunscreens?
With the help of skincare experts and beauty bloggers, we rounded up over 25 Japanese sunscreens to find the best sunscreen. We tested them based on three main parameters:
- Ingredients: The quality of ingredients that were used; the ratio of skin friendly ingredients to chemical ingredients.
- Formula type: We checked to see if it has a moisturizing effect? How long does it last? Does it leave a white cast? What skin types it’s most suitable for? How does the skin feel after applying it.
- SPF and PA rating: The SPF and PA rating of a sunscreen denotes the level of protection it offers. The higher the rating, the more effective the protection
Which is the best Japanese sunscreen?
Based on the testing process conducted by our team of skincare experts, we found that Anessa Perfect UV sunscreen by Shiseido is the best Japanese sunscreen. Anessa UV sunscreen offers high UV protection against UVA and UVB rays with SPF50+ and PA++++. This Japanese sunscreen has a waterproof formula that contains plenty of skincare ingredients to nourish the skin.
While the Anessa perfect UV sunscreen was voted as one of the best Japanese sunscreens amongst our expert review group, it’s not necessary that this is the best Japanese sunscreen for you. We have listed some more Japanese sunscreens that were equally good and offer protection for different skin types. Check out the full reviews of best Japanese sunscreens below!
Best Japanese Sunscreens For Oily Skin
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel
Best Japanese Sunscreens For Acne-prone Skin
The first one on this list of best Japanese sunscreens is the Biore UV Aqua Rich
The Watery Essence by Japanese sunscreen Biore remains true to its name; it feels weightless and is super-hydrating, just like water. In 2014, this product won the Best Cosmetic Award which is why it’s one of the best Japanese sunscreens. It is one of the most trusted Japanese sunscreens for oily and acne-prone skin.
It protects your skin without clogging the pores. It is waterproof, and you can wash it off using your regular makeup remover.
Watery Essence by Biore Sunscreen, Japan Ingredients:
The sunscreen contains hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract, and citrus, which all work wonders on your skin. Hyaluronic acid is famed for its numerous benefits on the skin. It helps get rid of fine lines and wrinkles.
The Watery Essence sunscreen keeps your skin looking fresh, plump, and healthy. The watery essence by Biore sunscreen, Japan price is ¥ 798.
- SPF: 50+
- PA: +++
Urban Oil-Free UV Protector By Shiseido
Best Japanese Sunscreens 2021
Shiseido is a popular brand, not only in Japan but all over the world. Shiseido’s Urban Oil-Free UV Protector comes with SPF 42 broad-spectrum and is for the face.
It is ultra-light and oil-free, which makes it a preferable option for people with oily skin that are prone to breakouts.
It has a matte finish, which helps make your face look oil-free. The formula is water-resistant for about 40 minutes. It is easy to wash off; you can use your regular makeup remover.
- SPF: 42
- PA: +++
Best Japanese Sunscreens For Sensitive Skin Or Dry Skin
It can be problematic to take care of dry and sensitive skin. You need to use targeted products to ensure your skin does not feel stretched and flaky. If your current sunscreen makes your skin feel tight, you need to change it. Use the best Japanese sunscreens for sensitive mentioned below to help parched skin.
2e Sun Protection SPF45+ PA+++ Sunscreen
This is a hypoallergenic sunscreen that is specifically made for sensitive skin types. It is free from additives such as paraben and sulfate. The SPF45+ formula acts as a barrier and protects your skin from harmful UV rays.
It has a mild creamy texture that absorbs well to your skin and nourishes from within. It does not leave any grease or white cast behind. It is also free from alcohol and fragrances.
This is an ideal sunscreen if you are going out for a little while. Apply all over the face, neck, and body. Make sure to reapply every 2-3 hours to keep your skin protected. You can use this as a base before you apply makeup.
The downside of this product is that it is not SPF50+ and it does not have a broad spectrum. The zinc oxide in this sunscreen might leave a minimal white cast on your skin.
&be UV Milk SPF50 PA+++
This is one of my favorite sunscreen products. As the name goes, it has a milky, non-sticky texture that can be applied smoothly on the skin.
It has a delicate pearl formula that soothes and brightens your skin within seconds of application and makes you look naturally beautiful. It gives off a natural orange and lavender scent that is so refreshing and lively.
The plant extracts in this sunscreen keep your skin healthy and free from any skin irritation and rashes.
The SPF50 PA+ formula protects your skin from UV rays and pollutants. This sunscreen is suitable for all skin types and ages, even for babies. It is free from chemicals like petroleum, mineral oils, and paraben.
It is also alcohol-free and does not contain any artificial fragrances. It can be removed by using soap and water. Make sure to apply it all over the face and body. Use regularly for best results.
KOSE SUNCUT Protect UV Spray
This is a spray type sunscreen so it’s really easy to apply on the go. And you can apply it all over your body including the face. There’s no white cast after application. It has SPF50+ and PA++++.
- SPF: 50+
- PA: ++++
Canmake Mermaid UV Skin Gel
The next best Japanese sunscreens we have for you is the Canmake Mermaid UV Skin Gel. It has a watery foula and is lightweight. It gives you high sun protection with SPF50+ and PA++++. It is packed with moisturizing skin ingredients so you even use it as a moisturizing makeup base. You can also apply this Japanese sunscreen gel to your body for complete sunscreen protection!
Best Japanese Sunscreens For Mature Skin
Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen by Shiseido
This is one of the best Japanese sunscreens for mature skin. This sunscreen works double duty when it comes to protecting your skin from the UV rays. It also protects your skin from other signs of aging caused due to UV rays. It has a dewy finish and also moisturizes your skin along with protecting you from the harmful radiation. It has SPF50+ and PA++++
- SPF 50+
Obagi Sun Shield Matte Sunscreen
This is one of the best Japanese sunscreens with matte finish. The Obagi Sun Shield’s formula contains zinc oxide and octinoxate. The sunscreen is PABA-free and fragrance-free which makes it suitable for all skin types. It also prevents signs of aging due to sun damage. The sunscreen is SPF50 with a non-greasy formula.
Best Japanese Sunscreens For Babies and Kids
Baby’s and kids’ skin is delicate and needs extra care. The sun can damage their skin if not taken care of. However, you cannot just apply any sunscreen on their face.
Their skin needs a special and gentle formulation that will protect it without being too harsh. The sunscreens below are sensitive and perfect for your baby.
Waterproof Baby Milk by Pigeon
Best Japanese Sunscreens For Baby Skin
When we think of sunscreens, we only tend to focus on adults. Kids have sensitive skin and are more prone to damage.
The waterproof UV baby milk by Pigeon protects your baby’s delicate skin against the harmful UV rays and keeps it looking plump and healthy.
Pigeon is a well-known Japanese brand leading in baby and toddler goods. And the Pigeon brand of sunscreens is widely used in Japan.
The sunscreen leaves a faint white shine.
Check out the best Japanese sunscreens by Pigeon below
- SPF: 50+
- PA: +++
Anessa Aqua Booster Mild by Shiseido
Best Alcohol-free Japanese Sunscreen For Kids
You should not trust your baby’s skin with just any product. They have skin that needs special care and attention. Using the wrong product can do more damage than good.
The mild UV milk from Anessa is perfect for sensitive skin and can be used on your baby’s delicate skin as well. It is free of paraben, fragrance, and alcohol, making the formula safe for your baby’s sensitive skin.
Anessa sunscreen Japan is one of the best Japanese sunscreens and can be trusted without a doubt!
- SPF: 50+
- PA: ++++
Sunscreens are flooding the market today, but there is none I trust more than these top Japanese sunscreens. They have a high SPF rating, feel weightless, have moisturizing properties (which is such a huge plus point), and works as a primer.
Tons of Japanese sunscreens are widely available, so there is bound to be some confusion about which one to choose. But, fret not. I have selected some of the best Japanese sunscreens and divided them into categories based on the skin. This way, you can jump right into your skin type and find the right sunscreen for you.
I have a simple skincare regime, but the vital part of it is sunscreen. I can skip using my makeup, but I can never leave the house without a layer of sunscreen to protect my skin from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
I make sure that I apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before I leave the house. Giving it those 20 minutes ensures that the product gets absorbed in the skin, and works as a shield.
No matter what the weather outside is like, you cannot miss out on sunscreen. I have made such mistakes in the past when, looking at the cloudy sky outside, I would think sunscreen is not required. It was only later that I found out UV rays can damage the skin even when there is cloud cover. So no matter what the weather is, always apply your sunscreen.
Why are Japanese sunscreens so popular?
The reason why a lot of people prefer Japanese sunscreens is because of its lightweight formulas that are gentle on the skin. Even though Japanese sunscreens are lightweight, it provides maximum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Another reason for the growing popularity of Japanese sunscreens is that it is formulated with skin-nourishing ingredients that keep the skin moisturized for long hours.
Japanese sunscreens vs American sunscreens
The main different between Japanese sunscreens and American sunscreens is that American sunscreen focus on providing protection against only the UVB rays while Japanese sunscreens provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Japanese sunscreens specify the protection rating for both SPF and PA (UVA rays) whereas most American sunscreens come with a SPF rating only. However, you’ll find broad spectrum American sunscreens that provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays but you can’t be sure of the effectiveness of the American sunscreen against the UVA rays.
Are Japanese Sunscreens Better Than Other Brands?
Japanese sunscreens are better than most other brands. Japanese sunscreens are light and don’t leave your skin feeling greasy after application. Sunscreen developed by Japanese brands is absorbed by the skin very quickly, thanks to its unique formula. And since it doesn’t build a film over your skin, you skin can breathe easy.
When it comes to Japanese sunscreen vs Korean sunscreens – it’s a really close call. Skincare products from both are really effective. But I, obviously, prefer Japanese skincare products and with that Japanese sunscreens!
So are you ready to dive into the world of Japanese sunscreens? Japanese brands take special care when formulating their products, and that is why they are so popular all over the world. Beauticians swear by these Japanese sunscreens. They are gentle on the skin.
With these products, you are sure to stay protected from the harmful ultraviolet rays. Keep damaged skin at bay, and get one of these products today based on your skin type.
Ready to switch over, now?
Are Japanese Sunscreens safe?
Japan’s standard for safety of skincare products is incredibly high. However, Japanese skincare brands do offer sunscreens that are chemical-based along with the regular physical sunscreen blocks. However both are safe to use. It’s best to use a Japanese sunscreen as best Japanese sunscreens offer both UVA and UVB protection, unlike the American sunscreens that only provide UVB protection. Best Japanese sunscreens are more effective and come at an affordable price. Also, the product label on Japanese sunscreens clearly states the ingredients and UVA and UVB protection information.
#1 — What Sunscreens Are Best In Japan?
The best Japanese sunscreens are Watery essence by Biore, Urban oil-free UV protector By Shiseido, Allie Extra Gel UV Sunscreen by Kanebo, Curel UV Milk sunscreen, Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion by Shiseido, Tone Up UV Essence by Skin Aqua, UV Bright Milk by Biore, Super Moisture Gel Pump Sunscreen by Skin Aqua, Waterproof Baby Milk Sunscreen by Pigeon, and Anessa Aqua Booster Mild Sunscreen by Shiseido.
#2 — How much is Biore sunscreen in Japan?
The cost of Biore sunscreen in Japan is about JPY 798. Biore watery essence sunscreen is an SPF50+ sunscreen with PA+++. It is one of the best Japanese sunscreens for acne-prone skin.
#3 — What is the best Biore sunscreen?
One of the best Biore sunscreens is the Watery essence sunscreen. It’s one of the best Japanese sunscreens for oily skin and acne-prone skin. In fact, Watery Essence by Biore won the Best Cosmetic Award in 2014. It contains hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract, and citrus and helps visibly reduce fine lines, and wrinkles.
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Takashi Nomoni is a proud Japanese and loves everything about Japan – be it food, culture, or movies! She’s a passionate about writing and her love for writing and Japanese products makes her the best fit at Best Japanese Products. Takashi is a total workaholic so you’ll always find her with her laptop researching or testing the next best Japanese product. When she’s not working, you’ll find Takashi exploring local cafes and restaurants (where she can work out of!)