Korean beauty products have taken the world by storm, leaving many obsessed with Korean sunscreens. Besides effectively shielding the skin from the damaging sun rays, they are enriched with nourishing ingredients that leave you with healthy and radiant skin.
And if you're struggling with dry skin, there are various Korean products that can ease your concern! Many of them are jam-packed with effective moisturizers such as hyaluronic acid, bamboo water, seabuckthorn oil, and more to drive away dryness and keep your skin soft to the touch. Find out our great choices on our top 9 list! We've also included a buying guide at the end to help you decide on the best one.
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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With all the potential options in mind, selecting a product may be a challenge. If you're confused about which product to choose, this buying guide will come in handy. It contains various useful tips about the types of UV blockers to look for as well as the moisturizing ingredients that will work wonderfully for your dry skin. So keep reading!
When looking through the ingredient list of typical American sunscreens, you'll find that many of them contain chemical UV filters like oxybenzone, octocrylene, octisalate, and avobenzone.
Some Korean sunscreens are also formulated with those chemical filters to provide you with comprehensive protection from sun rays. However, these ingredients might be irritating to those with sensitive skin or skin issues like melasma or rosacea. So if you have dry, sensitive skin, take caution!
Fortunately, the list of UV filters in the world of Korean sunscreens is much more extensive and there are plenty of great alternatives.
Most of the Korean products actually exploit the power of chemical UV blockers such as tinosorb and mexoryl, which are not commonly found in American sunscreens. But they're highly effective and have been proven to do wonders for the skin.
While chemical filters usually absorb either UVA or UVB rays, tinosorb and mexoryl can actually prevent both types from damaging your skin! They also have anti-aging benefits since they help block UV rays that cause premature aging. And they have not been proven to have any negative consequences to your health!
Mineral filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are frequently used in Korean sunscreens as well. They form a protective barrier to reflect all UVA and UVB rays. Plus, they are less likely to trigger allergic reactions and are suitable for babies and pregnant women.
Mexoryl is a wonderful UVA absorber. This means it really helps protect the skin from the rays that cause aging. Unlike other chemical blockers, mexoryl and tinosorb are less irritating and can be tolerated by most skin types. The physical blockers, which are mineral sunscreens, are great for sensitive skin or for those who suffer photosensitive conditions like rosacea or melasma.
You might not be familiar with PA ratings since American sunscreens don't often use this system. But Korean products use them to indicate the level of UVA protection. So why is protection against the UVA rays important? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, these rays are one of the main reasons behind premature aging and might even lead to skin cancer.
Most people seem to be aware only of the harmful effects of UVB rays, and don't pay much attention to UVA rays. But it's crucial to get protection from both of them. And the PA ratings are a helpful indicator to show you the effectiveness of a Korean sunscreen against UVA rays.
There are four levels:
If the PA rating system still sounds like a mystery for you, don't worry. Just know that the more plus signs there are the more protection against UVA rays you'll get.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is an important number that indicates how effectively a sunscreen can filter out UVB rays, which have been shown to induce sunburns, cause DNA damages, and might even lead to skin cancer. As a general rule of thumb, the higher SPF number will provide more UVB protection.
The ranges of SPF vary widely, from 15 all the way to 100. But no sunscreen can filter out 100% of UVB rays, and even SPF100 can only shield your skin from 99% at most. Generally, Korean sunscreens come with a SPF50, which is ideal for extended outdoor activities.
If you live under harsh weather conditions, this level also works great. To get maximum protection from the sun, though, you should still wear long-sleeve shirt, hat, sunglasses, and re-apply your sunscreen every two hours!
Reapplication is especially important since many Korean sunscreens are not designed to be water- or sweat-resistant. And we know that sunscreen can be rubbed off easily.
For daily wear, SPF 50 or above should be sufficient if applied in the appropriate amount and reapplied when it wears off. It's important to reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes or more frequently when exposed to water or heavy sweat since the efficacy becomes reduced in these conditions.
For maximum sun protection, use the SPF but also wear sun-protective clothing like a rash guard and broad rim hat.
Korean sunscreens are formulated with various nourishing ingredients to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. If you're struggling with dry skin, you might want to check and see if there are effective moisturizers in the formula. This sections will introduce you to some ultra-hydrating ingredients that you might want to keep in mind!
Emollients are superfood for dry skin since they help create a protective barrier on top of your skin to minimize moisture loss. They are usually chock-full of lipids to soften dry skin and give it a silky-smooth, glowy look.
Additionally, emollients are generally gentle on the skin and quite effective in calming skin irritations such as burns, redness, and rashes. Those with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis will find relief with emollients as well.
So what ingredients are categorized as emollients? The answer is quite simple: oil- and butter-based ingredients! Many of them are ingredients that you're familiar with and even cook with - coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, to name a few.
If you have acne, avoid sunscreen with coconut oil as it can trigger an acne outbreak. If you don't have acne but have dry skin, then coconut oil as well as other oils can be quite soothing to the skin.
Emollient-based sunscreens are good for those with eczema or rosacea since the skin can be inflamed in these conditions. Many sunscreens, especially mineral ones, can be drying, so looking for one with an emollient base is a must if you have dry skin.
Do you know that one of the main causes behind lackluster and dull complexion is lack of moisture? Therefore, it's crucial to raise the moisture level within your skin layers for a healthy and vibrant skin, and humectants can help you do so! Basically, humectants attract water to your skin and retain moisture within your skin layers.
You might have heard about a little something called hyaluronic acid. This popular ingredient is widely used in Korean cosmetics and is a humectant that exists naturally in our skin. It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water to keep your skin hydrated and leave it with a dewy, plump look.
Glycerin is another super ingredient that can give your skin a serious moisture boost. Plus, it can minimize skin itching and flaking and leave your skin soft and refreshed.
And don't forget aloe vera! This plant has been long-revered for its nourishing properties and is often described as a miracle plant or natural healer. Essentially, aloe vera is a humectant that helps draw moisture from the environment to the skin to drive away dry patches and enhance the skin's elasticity.
Dryness can damage your skin's moisture barrier, so you might want to look for ingredients that can strengthen it to minimize moisture loss.
And antioxidant-rich ingredients are particularly helpful at that. They work by deterring the damages caused by free radicals and are often packed with strong anti-inflammatory properties to reduce any skin irritations caused by extreme dryness.
Bamboo extract is incredibly popular in K-beauty for its powerful healing properties. It helps strengthen the skin's protective barrier and lock in moisture. What further makes this ingredient special is that it contains a high level of silica, a nutrient that promotes collagen production for skin rejuvenation.
What's more, Korean sunscreens are often packed with fruit extracts such as noni, raspberry, and morus alba. They are all rich in antioxidants, which help reduce the damages of environmental aggressors and soothe your dry, flaking, and irritated skin.
Green tea is another great ingredient you might want to look for! Its benefits for the skin have always been well-recognized. Packed with 16 amino acids, green tea nourishes your skin and restores its moisture barrier function.
SPF is the most important ingredient for an anti-aging routine. Any other money or time spent on other products means nothing if you do not use an SPF.
That being said, adding an antioxidant to your sunscreen can really up your skincare routine since you'll be protecting your skin from sun damage as well as repairing any past damage. Antioxidants like Vitamin C can also help lighten hyperpigmentation that may have resulted from sun exposure.
Many American sunscreens have a thick, creamy consistency, while Korean sunscreens are light in texture and can glide nicely onto the skin. This makes the application a breeze! On top of that, they usually don't leave behind any white streaks and will work wonders for those with dark skin tones.
While the general consistency of Korean sunscreens is lightweight, you'll find that they often come in either a gel-like or a watery form. If you're looking for something that is absorbed immediately by the skin and doesn't feel greasy, a watery product is the answer.
On the other hand, a gel sunscreen might feel a little tacky when you first apply, but the stickiness will soon disappear as you let the sunscreen sit for a couple of minutes. Afterward, your skin will feel refreshed for sure!
Gels sunscreens are great to use in humid weather or if you have oily skin. They are absorbed very easily and won’t leave your skin feeling sticky. They're great for morning application to the face as well since makeup can easily be applied over it. For drier skin or in winter months, choose a cream- or lotion-based product. They tend to be more hydrating.
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Soft Airy UV Essence
Non-Greasy Sunscreen With Sea Buckthorn Oil to Provide Hydration
Aloe Soothing Sun Cream
Ultra-Hydrating Sunscreen With Aloe Vera
All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun
A Blend of Moisturizing Botanicals for Long-Lasting Moisture
Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF36
Green Tea and Sunflower Seed Oil to Moisturize and Soothe the Skin
Soothe Bamboo Sun Essence
Bamboo Water to Moisturize and Calm Dry, Sensitive Skin
Thank You Farmer
Sun Project Water Sun Cream
Fast-Absorbing Sunscreen Delivering a Glowy Finish
SOME BY MI
Truecica Mineral 100 Calming Sunscreen
Moisturizing Sunscreen With Antioxidant-Rich Ingredients to Reduce Wrinkles
Village 11 Factory
Hydra Sun Fluid
Moringa Seed Extract to Help Retain Moisture
UV Defense Me Watery Sun Gel With Moisture Essence
Strengthen Your Skin's Barrier With This Watery Sunscreen
This sunscreen touts sea buckthorn oil, a well-beloved ingredient in Korean cosmetics that helps provide hydration to the skin, improve its elasticity, as well as promote cell regeneration for a younger and more radiant appearance.
This superfood for skin is also chock-full of anti-inflammatory properties to treat acne and redness. Additionally, the combination of beta-glucan, panthenol, and allantoin calm and reduce skin irritations.
A few users weren't a fan of this product and further elaborated that it felt a bit too greasy on the skin. Some people with oily skin also shared that it made their skin look shiny. Still, for many others, this sunscreen was a holy grail product; it drenched their skin with moisture and effectively protected it from harmful sun rays.
After using the product, they noticed that their skin became soft to the touch and glowy! Meanwhile, those with dry, sensitive skin appreciated the non-irritating formula that contained no alcohol and fragrance.
Aloe vera has long enjoyed a reputation in the beauty community as a powerful moisturizer that can effectively tackle your skin's dryness and help repair your fragile moisture barrier. This soothing botanical is also jam-packed with anti-inflammatory properties to reduce irritation and treat redness.
Dimethicone and glycerin are two other effective moisturizers that can relieve your skin and prevent it from drying out further. A few reviewers weren't that crazy about the consistency of this product, though, saying it weighed their skin down and was too oily for them.
Nevertheless, this sunscreen worked like a charm for many. It didn't cause any breakouts or trigger allergic reactions. Many also vouched for the moisturizing ability of this product and further added that it helped get rid of dry patches. Those with dark skin tones also loved that the sunscreen didn't leave any white cast.
This sunscreen features a blend of various moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera, cucumber fruit extract, and witch hazel water, which provides your skin with long-lasting moisture and prevents dryness.
This product also does wonders for aging or dull-looking skin. It's jam-packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as morus alba fruit extract, licorice root extract, and green tea extract to neutralize the effects of free radicals and brighten up your complexion.
A few buyers were disappointed that the bottle was nearly half-empty. Some also noticed that the product had a floral scent. So if you're allergic to fragrance, take caution! Nevertheless, this sunblock wowed various reviewers in many ways.
The consistency was lightweight and didn't feel greasy at all, so this product was great to wear under makeup and also suitable for everyday use. Plus, this sunscreen helped soften the skin significantly and delivered a glowy look. Another huge selling point for reviewers, particularly those with dark skin tones - this product left no white streaks.
Those with dry, irritated skin might find relief with this lightweight sunblock. It's infused with green tea extract and sunflower seed oil which contain powerful antioxidant properties to revive your skin's condition and protect it from environmental aggressors such as pollution and harsh weather.
On top of that, the sunscreen keeps your skin moisturized while not clogging your pores. Another super ingredient in this sunscreen is cica. Korean brands love including this nourishing botanical in their skincare products since it has a powerful wound-healing ability and can treat redness, combat breakouts, and heal your skin.
Some users who had sensitive skin warned that this product was formulated with fragrance and therefore didn't work well for them.
Regardless, this sunscreen was a huge hit for reviewers. It didn't pill at all and didn't feel greasy on the skin. Not to mention, this sunscreen worked well under makeup and was lightweight enough to wear every day. The moisturizing effect was top-notch and many people found their skin looking dewy and vibrant.
Crafted with 40% bamboo water, this product is packed with various essential compounds such as amino acids and flavonoids to strengthen your skin. And with seven types of hyaluronic acid, it deeply moisturizes your dry skin and leaves it soft to the touch.
This fantastic sunscreen is also infused with B-circadin and cica to soothe sensitive skin. Many reviewers, particularly those with dry and sensitive skin, raved about this product, saying that it had a lightweight texture that blended seamlessly into the skin without causing any white sheens.
They further shared that their skin felt refreshed and silky-smooth after application. Various people also loved that the product didn't contain fragrance ingredients and was not irritating to their sensitive skin.
Creamy sunscreen might feel annoyingly greasy, but this product can resolve that issue for you! It features a fast-absorbing consistency that won't suffocate your skin or leave behind a white cast. The moisturizing property of this sunscreen is quite impressive as well.
Indeed, this product is infused with walnut oil, aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, and many other ultra-hydrating ingredients to give your skin the needed moisture. What's more, it touts many soothing botanicals like mistletoe, gotu kola, and centella extract to diminish irritation and blur away your skin blemishes.
According to a few reviewers, this product was formulated with fragrance and stung the eyes. So do a patch test beforehand to make sure it's safe for you. Try to avoid the eye area when applying as well!
For various buyers, this sunscreen was so hydrating that it felt just like a moisturizer. It kept their skin supple and delivered a glowy finish while not being too sticky on the skin. Many reviewers also tried using this product under their makeup layer and found it worked wonderfully.
This zinc oxide sunscreen brims with moisturizing ingredients that leave your skin feeling refreshed, healthy, and protected. Particularly, tea tree leaf water helps restore your skin barrier while calming irritation. What further sets this product apart from its counterparts is the anti-aging benefit.
You'll find many antioxidant-rich botanicals on the ingredient list, including gotu kola extract, orange peel oil, mugwort extract, and more. All of those nutrient-dense ingredients have been proven to make your skin imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles much less visible and to brighten your complexion.
However, some buyers were disappointed that the sunscreen balled away from their skin. A few others further complained that it contained too many essential oils and the scent was noticeable.
Still, this sunscreen was a life-saver for various buyers. It was lightweight and left zero white streaks on dark skin despite being a physical sunscreen. The application was beyond easy as well, since the sunscreen glided smoothly onto the skin. Another plus point for reviewers - it didn't give their skin a shiny look!
One of the special ingredients in this sunscreen is moringa seed extract which is rich in protein and fatty acids to help maintain your skin's protective barrier and deliver moisture to your skin layers. It's also especially soothing on the skin and can help treat scars and cuts.
Meanwhile, chia seed extract, Centella extract, and houttuynia cordata extract are packed with antioxidants to reduce skin irritation, keep inflammation away, and shield your skin from environmental aggressors.
A few buyers were not that impressed with this sunscreen, noting the fragrance was a little bit overbearing. On the other hand, others were amazed at the hydrating power of this sunscreen and further mentioned that it was gentle and non-irritating, even to sensitive skin.
After using the product, their skin looked much healthier with a gorgeous glow. The gel-like texture was another selling point for reviewers since it was quickly absorbed and made the sunscreen comfortable for everyday wear.
Birch sap, one of the key ingredients in this sunscreen, is a hydrating powerhouse that can maintain your skin's moisture level and keep it supple throughout the day while driving away inflammation.
Other nourishing ingredients such as Japanese cypress, Nordic berries, and lotus can also fortify your skin's protective barrier and fade away imperfections to reveal a fresh, radiant, and youthful-looking complexion. So if you're struggling with dull-looking skin, this product might be of help.
A few buyers were not that happy with this sunscreen as it made their skin look a little bit too shiny.
Still, most reviewers agreed that the product had a lightweight texture that didn't feel sticky at all and went on smoothly. There were also no white marks, making this sunscreen great for those with dark skin. Many people also loved the hydrating and gentle formula that didn't cause breakouts or skin irritation.
Aside from applying sunscreen regularly, you may want to introduce beauty products such as a toner, moisturizer, and face mist into your routine to keep your skin healthy and nourished. Not sure which product will work for you? Check out our articles for some suggestions!
No. 1: Klairs | Soft Airy UV Essence
No. 2: COSRX | Aloe Soothing Sun Cream
No. 3: Missha | All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun
No. 4: innisfree | Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF36
No. 5: Keep Cool | Soothe Bamboo Sun Essence
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