I started wearing sunscreen daily several years ago, and I've tried everything from low-end to high-end, from the US to the other side of the world. And, here are my shocking observations.
I've bounced back and forth from US suncreen to Asian sunscreen multiple times throughout the years. Why you ask?
American sunscreen is thick. Even though they claim to be non-comedogenic, they always seem to break me out. So after a little while, I always go back to Asian sunscreen.
But, then I bounce right back to US sunscreen after a while, because the ingredients in Asian sunscreen are completely foreign to me. But, now, after many years of this back and forth, I'm sticking to Asian sunscreen.
If you've ever had issues with American sunscreens, this may be of interest to you.
American sunscreens are usually very thick, can create a heavy white cast, make your face excessively oily and/or cause acne. Asian sunscreens, on the other hand seem to be the exact opposite, they're extremely fast-drying and oftentimes have a fine powdery finish.
First, let's talk about the differences between UVA and UVB. UVB rays are more associated with burning and redness, whereas UVA rays cause tanning. Both UVA and UVB cause premature aging and are related to skin cancers, so it's obvious that you'll want to avoid both.
While sunscreens in Europe and Asia oftentimes provide good protection from both UVA and UVB rays, US sunscreen usually provides very poor protection against UVA rays. In fact, US sunscreens don't even display a UVA protection rating!
And, really, the term "broad-spectrum" is somewhat meaningless when you don't know how much UVA protection the product provides.
So why are US sunscreens so inferior?
The FDA hasn't approved any new active ingredients or concentrations in nearly 20 years. Read about it more here.
With all this information, why was I bouncing back to American sunscreens? I'm a label reader. The US has made me familiar with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and I understand roughly how they work. Any ingredients that I can't read or don't recognize, worry me, and growing up in the US, I'm not at all familiar with more modern active sunblock ingredients.
So, basically, I was paranoid that these silky, light, feels-like-nothing sunscreens from Asia were far too good to be true and weren't blocking any rays.
But, a couple weeks ago, I finally became bold enough to put Asian sunscreen to the test. My hubby and I were out on a very sunny day at a fair for a full 6 hours. He burns very easily, and with a single application (probably should have applied at least twice :P ), neither of us burned at all, and our skin did not seem to darken either.
This time, I won't be going back to US sunscreens.
I've been delighted with nearly every Korean and Japanese sunscreen I've ever tried, but here are my favorites: A'Pieu natural sunscreen (favorite everyday sunscreen- very good even for the most sensitive skin), Nivea water gel (favorite for the body if you will be applying for everyday use. not for face), and A'Pieu waterproof sunscreen (for activities with sweating and or swimming).
I know that I wish someone would have shared this with me much earlier, so I hope that you found this helpful or at least interesting. :)
Thanks for reading, and here's to aging gracefully! :)