The Real Korean Skin Care Routine: Sunscreen
The Real Korean Skin Care Routine: Sunscreen

The Real Korean Skin Care Routine: Sunscreen

How Do Koreans With Beautiful Skin Block UV Rays?
It is that time of the year that we must begin to worry about UV rays. Koreans generally experience all 4 seasons. The weather in spring and autumn is one of the best but the winter is as cold as Russia and the summer is as hot as Africa. As Koreans must care for their skin in multiple different types of weathers, Koreans have many secret know-hows when taking care of their skin. May is the end of spring. Therefore, Korean women usually buy many types of strong sunscreen to prepare for summer.

There is a saying in Korea ‘Send the daughter-in-law out into the spring sun and send the daughter out into the fall sun’. It means that the mother unknowingly prefers her daughter over her daughter-in-law and subconsciously treats them differently. Though the temperature in Korea is similar in spring and fall, the spring sun has about 1.5 times solar radiation than the autumn sun and also has a much higher ultraviolet index.

Physical Sunscreen VS Chemical Sunscreen
So, what kinds of sunscreen should we use? There are two types of methods that sunscreens block ultraviolet rays. First type, physical sunscreen makes a physical barrier over the skin and reflects the sunlight to block ultraviolet rays. They are usually the cream-type sunscreens that are white or light blue in color. It is recommended to people with sensitive skin as it is safe and not irritating to skin. However, there is the white cast of sunscreens and you need to cleanse properly to prevent acne as the physical barrier can clog pores. Go and read our blog post ‘THE REAL KOREAN SKIN CARE ROUTINE: 4-STEP CLEANSING METHOD’ for more details about cleansing!


Another type, Chemical sunscreen blocks UV rays by changing the light that is received into heat energy. Therefore, this sunscreen needs some time after application for it take effect. It needs to be applied 30 minutes before leaving. They are usually in a clear gel and stick type and is easy to use as there are no white residues and applies very well. However, the chemical products may lead to acne or discomfort in the eye.

Ultraviolet is divided into UVA and UVB. UVB affects the outer part of the skin and causes sun burns. The affects of UVA can not be immediately seen by the naked eye, but it affects deep underneath the skin. UVA and UVB are both the main causes of skin cancer. UVB is the strongest from 10 am to 4 pm, but UVA is strong throughout the entire time that the sun is up. The UVB protection factor is marked as an SPF and the higher it is, the longer it prevents the rays. UVA protection factors are marked using PA and the pluses behind it show the strength of its protection.

There are many types of sunscreen. Traditionally, there is the cream type. The cream texture is good for sensitive and dry skin. There are also gel types that do not have the white case of sunscreens and have a cooling effect. These are recommended to oily skin types. The stick type is easy to use so it is a must for summer vacations. Cushion types are a popular type that was invented in South Korea. It was developed so that liquid makeup could be carried around in a compact. It has been the most popular type recently because it allows people to apply the sunscreen evenly at anywhere anytime using the puff that is included inside.

The largest enemy when preventing skin aging is ultraviolet rays. Not only this, it causes pigmentation and skin cancer. It is important to apply sunscreen to protect the skin. It is good to apply a light layer at first and keep applying more layers every 2~3 hours. Choose a sunscreen that suits your skin type among the ones that have a high SPF and PA factor.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to put on sunscreen before you leave!



Learn more about Korean Skincare Routine

Yang Junghwa

I love Korea, kittens, kindness, kimchi, and knowledge. I am the Earth and life wanderer who was born in Seoul, South Korea. I wanted to be the Wonder Woman, but now be a quite similar Wander Woman, anyway :) There is a birth myth about me. I was the wonder baby, surprised the whole maternity hospital by drinking up a full big bottle of milk within hours of being born. King Kool!

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