Japanese Beauty Products with SPF

Posted on May 26 2021

Sunlight for Healthy Skin

Summer is just around the corner, and aren’t we all excited to feel the warmth of the sun and enjoy this beautiful weather? Little doses of sunlight can be beneficial to health and well-being, but too much UV rays can lead to sunburns and skin damage. So, it is extremely important to wear sunscreen and protect your skin from UV rays all the time. Sunscreens are known to lower skin cancer risk, premature aging of the skin (photoaging), and maintain even skin tone. Too much exposure to sun causes sunspots, discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles, which are detrimental to skin’s overall health. Since UV rays are present throughout the day, even on cloudy days, make sure to wear sunscreens whenever you are going out. There are so many different types of sunscreens and your skin types, preferences, and needs, can influence which products or brands to purchase. J-beauty offers amazing options since protecting skin from sunlight is one of the most crucial steps in a J-beauty skincare routine. I’m pretty sure we’ve all come across all these terms: UVA, UVB, SPF, PA. But what do they all mean and how can we figure out which sunscreens are the best fit for our skin types? To make Summer 2021 the most memorable time of the year, I want to share basic tips and knowledge on sunscreen so you can try out amazing J-beauty products with SPF! 

Differences between UVA and UVB

Both UVA and UVB are types of ultraviolet rays, and while they differ in how they affect the skin, they both do harm that can lead to skin cancer as well as premature aging.  

  • UVA rays can penetrate your skin more deeply. They are associated with skin aging, which causes hyperpigmentation. They damage our skin’s genes where most skin cancer occurs. They account for 95% of the UV rays. UVA is connected to the PA part of the sunscreen label as we see on most J-beauty skin care products.

  • UVB rays damage the outermost layers of your skin that causes sunburn and redness. Despite taking up only 5% of the UV rays, they can actually damage your skin year-round. UVB is connected to the SPF of sunscreen products.

What are PA and SPF?

  • PA (Protection Grade of UVA) is commonly used in Japan and South Korea. It deals with the UVA part of ultraviolet energy. PA, followed by plus signs, are a rating system developed in Japan to indicate how much UVA protection the product offers. Check PA rates to prevent wrinkles and skin aging.

  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor) deals with the UVB part, and the numbers indicate how long the sun’s UVB rays will take to turn your skin red compared with the amount of time without sunscreen. In other words, if you use SPF 30 products, it will take 30 times longer for your skin to burn than skin without sunscreen.  

Two types of sunscreens: Chemical and Physical

Sunscreens can be divided into two categories: chemical and physical (mineral) sunscreens. Below is a list of pros and cons of each type of sunscreens to make things a little less complicated. Knowing these differences will surely help you achieve healthy, tanned skin and prevent serious skin damage!

  1. Chemical sunscreen: The active ingredients are ultraviolet absorbers, (like avobenzone and octisalate), which absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. This type of sunscreen is absorbed into your skin and is recommended for swimmers and athletes due to its water-resistant formulation.
  • No white cast (white layer on your skin)
  • Refreshing, good feeling
  • Easy to remove with cleanser
  • Allows for skin care ingredients to be added easily
  • Needs to be reapplied multiple times throughout the day
  • Tends to have a distinctive scent
  • Can clog pores and increase breakouts on acne-prone skin

  1. Physical (mineral) sunscreen: The active ingredients are the minerals, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin by sitting on top of the skin.  
  • Less likely to cause skin irritation
  • More moisturizing
  • Offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Safe for use on babies and during pregnancy
  • Can appear white or chalky on the skin
  • Prone to wearing off easily
  • Difficult to blend into skin

Top 3 J-Beauty Products with SPF

  1. Sekkisei Treatment BB Cream 00 (SPF 37) 

This BB cream covers imperfections while providing skincare benefits: moisturizes, brightens, and protects skin from UV damage-resulting in dewy, radiant, and flawless skin. It has Broad Spectrum SPF 37 and is free of mineral oils.  

Best For: Natural or minimalistic makeup, since it already contains SPF. You can use it not only as a sunscreen and a foundation, but also as a beauty essence! It nourishes your skin while protecting it from sun damage. If you don’t want to cake your face with layers of concealer and foundations, this BB Cream is perfect for a simple sophisticated look!

  1. MAQUILLAGE Dramatic Skin Sensor Base (SPF 25, PA +++)

The "skin sensor" formula provides a balance of skin moisture and sebum, which gives you a long-lasting performance for as long as 13 hours. It contains super hyaluronic acid and collagen for skin nourishment and has no fragrance. This is my go-to makeup primer which reduces the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, and excess shine. Shake well before use and apply to your entire face for sufficient UV protection. Because it is a chemical sunscreen, it contains active ingredients that are UV absorbers.

Best For: Hot summer days! It is the best smudge-proof makeup primer that helps keep your makeup from sliding off with sweat. It also keeps my skin smooth and silky, even on humid days as it absorbs excessive sweat and sebum to maintain a much more comfortable skin with no noticeable pores or shine. 


This lavender-colored face and body sunscreen controls color and light while UV-cutting to tone up the skin. The fine strobe pearls reflect sunlight and light which gives a gloss while increasing skin clarity. It contains sodium hyaluronate and Vitamin C derivatives as skin care and moisturizing ingredients. I always apply this sunscreen before going running or kayaking. When I know that I am going to stay in the sun for a long time, I make sure that my entire skin is protected with this physical sunscreen!

Best For: If you are staying outdoors for a long period of time, this color toning sunscreen will work best for you. Since it has the highest rated UV protection of SPF 50 and PA++++ and offers protection from both UVA And UVB rays, you don’t have to worry about sunburns and skin irritation. Definitely a must-have Japanese sunscreen for this summer season. 


Enjoy the Sunshine!

Say no to sunburns and tan lines this summer! Sunlight helps us achieve a healthy body and mind. It also boosts our body’s level of serotonin, which is a chemical that improves our mood and helps you stay calm and focused. Sunshine is essential to our well being, but just make sure to protect your skin from UV rays at all costs! For the best outcome, look for products that match your skin type, and make sure to check ingredients to prevent skin irritation and further damage. I hope that this article helps you understand how sunscreen works and has inspired you to try out Japanese sunscreens this summer!  


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Sayaka Kato

Sayaka was born and raised in Aichi, Japan. After spending several years of her childhood in the US, she came back to New York for college. Loves to travel, eat, and play the guitar in her free time.

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