Don’t Miss These 15 Best Korean Sunscreens While Heading Outdoors

Written by Oyendrila Kanjilal
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You must be aware of the importance of including an SPF in your everyday skin care routine. While many of the affordable options end up leaving a chalky or sticky residue on your face, the top-shelf brands can make a hole in your pocket. So, what could be the best solution? A Korean sunscreen.

Compared to their western counterparts, Korean sunscreens have lightweight and gentle formulas infused with skin-loving ingredients that leave minimal to no white cast. They are also available in a variety of textures to suit your preferences. Keep scrolling to explore the 15 best Korean sunscreens for every skin type and budget!

TOP 10 PRODUCTSCheck Price
Best Overall Korean Sunscreen: COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++Check Price
Best Sunscreen For Outdoors: Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++Check Price
Best Drugstore Sunscreen: Etude House Surprise Mild Airy Finish Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA+++Check Price
Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin: A'PIEU Pure Block Daily Sun Cream SPF 45, PA+++Check Price
Best Sunscreen With A Cooling Sensation: Make P: rem UV Defense MeCheck Price
Best Dewy Sunscreen: Thank You Farmer Sun Project Shimmer Sun Essence 30Check Price
Best Moisturizing Sunscreen: Espoir Water Splash Sun Cream 50+Check Price
Best Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin: Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen 100 SPF 50+ PA+++Check Price
Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreen: G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF 50 + PA++++Check Price
Best Hyaluronic Acid-Based Sunscreen: ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++Check Price

How Is Korean Sunscreen Different From Other Sunscreens?

Forget the goopy, opaque sunscreens that you used earlier! Korean sunscreens have officially changed the game, and both dermatologists and beauty experts trust them! But, how is it different from the traditional sunscreens? Here are the reasons:

  • Difference In Classification

In the United States, sunscreens are considered a drug under the FDA. The product has to go through rigorous testing to ensure its effectiveness in protecting your skin against UA and UVB rays of the sun. However, these rules do not apply to Asian products. However, most manufacturers test all the ingredients used in a particular skin care product to prevent adverse reactions.

Regular sunscreens have a limited list of ingredients that hasn’t been updated much over the past few decades. On the contrary, Korean brands are regularly updating the formulation of their sunscreens to offer sun protection while brightening the skin and reducing the signs of aging. In functional cosmetics, the approval process is complicated, but it is streamlined to introduce new and distinctive formulations in the market.

  • Different Grading System

Another significant factor that makes Korean sunscreens different from others is the way they are rated. In all Korean sunscreens, you will find PA (Protection Grade of the UVA rays) that measures UVA exposure, as well as SPF that measures UVB exposure. Several ‘+’ signs follow the ‘PA.’ The PA number is based on the PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) test, which measures how long it takes for skin to tan or darken when exposed to UVA rays, as compared to unprotected skin.

You’ll find that a Korean sunscreen can have anywhere between 1-4 ‘+’ signs, and the more ‘+’ signs, the higher the protection from UVA rays. While buying Korean sunscreen, always look out for both PA and SPF protection that will shield your skin against UVA and UVB rays.

In the following section, you’ll find the 15 best Korean Sunscreens that you can try out! Keep reading!

15 Best Korean Sunscreens That You Can Try In Summer

1. Best Overall Korean Sunscreen: COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++

If your skin needs a serious boost of hydration along with sun protection, this product has got you covered. The Sun Cream by Cosrx contains aloe vera extracts that keep your skin moisturized, while SPF 50+ PA+++ protects your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. In addition, its gentle, quick-absorbing formula does not leave a white cast on your skin.

Pros

  • Contains botanical extracts
  • Lightweight
  • Quick-absorbing formula
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Does not leave a white cast

 Cons

  • Greasy

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2. Best Sunscreen For Outdoors: Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++

The Soft Finish Sun Milk’s double layer UV blocking system makes this sunscreen impenetrable against the harmful rays of the sun. It can withstand water and sweat and does not melt in humid weather – making it the perfect sunscreen for outdoors.

This sunscreen has a silky and porous powder-like texture that glides smoothly onto your skin. The formula is infused with a Natural Barrier Complex that gives your skin a fresh boost of hydration, while antozone-rose and glycofilm provide skin protection against environmental stressors. The nourishing helichrysum flower water calms the skin, leaving it with a refreshing feeling throughout the day.

Pros

  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Lightweight
  • Non-irritating
  • Quick-absorbing formula
  • Non-greasy
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • May irritate the skin

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3. Best Drugstore Sunscreen: Etude House Surprise Mild Airy Finish Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA+++

You will be surprised by the way Etude House Surprise Mild Airy Finish Sunscreen feels on your skin. This lightweight sunscreen glides like a breeze on your body and blends effortlessly with your makeup. If you have oily skin, this is the sunscreen for you.

The formula is enriched with 20 plant ingredients, including Carex humilis root extract, sunflower seeds, barbados cherry, and acai berry. These ingredients work as natural UV filters to protect the skin from the sun. A combination of Portulaca oleracea, Centella asiatica, and mistletoe soothes the skin while aloe vera, cactus, and hyaluronic acid provide hydration. The mild formula does not cause skin irritation or leave behind a white cast.

Pros

  • 100% mineral filter
  • Natural ingredients
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Soothes the skin
  • Does not leave a white cast
  • Non-sticky
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May dry out your skin

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4. Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin: A’PIEU Pure Block Daily Sun Cream SPF 45, PA+++

If you’re looking for a sunblock that does not irritate your sensitive skin, then try out the A’Pieu Pure Block Natural Sun Cream. The SPF 45 PA+++ formula protects your skin from harmful UV rays without triggering irritation or allergies. It has a creamy texture that spreads evenly, leaving your skin with a dewy texture. The formula is enriched aloe leaf extracts that soothe tired skin, a berry blossom complex to restore skin vitality, and desert watermelon extract to offer moisturization.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Quick-absorbing formula
  • Does not look cakey
  • Creamy texture
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Non-sticky
  • Non-greasy
  • Can be applied under makeup

Cons

  • Strong fragrance

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5. Best Sunscreen With A Cooling Sensation: Make P: rem UV Defense Me

Make P:rem UV Defense Me contains natural ingredients and claims to lower your skin temperature. With SPF 50+ PA+++ and a 100% mineral filter, it offers maximum protection to your skin from harmful UV rays. The formula is enriched with bamboo water because of its soothing and moisturizing properties. Madecassoside protects your skin, and zinc oxide acts as a shield against UV exposure. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Pros

  • No white cast
  • 100% safe ingredients
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • No color additives

Cons

None

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6. Best Dewy Sunscreen: Thank You Farmer Sun Project Shimmer Sun Essence 30

Don’t prefer a matte look? Then, pick up the Thank You Farmer Sun Project Shimmer Sun Essence with SPF 30 and PA+++ that leaves your skin with a beautiful dewy glow. It contains hydrating and soothing ingredients like aloe leaf extract, African walnut oil, Althaea rosea flower extract, and niacinamide. These ingredients brighten your skin tone and add a nourishing glow to your face. This multipurpose sunscreen works as a makeup primer or a highlighter.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Adds a natural glow
  • Evens out the skin tone
  • Works as a primer or highlighter
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Irritation-free
  • Clinically tested

Cons

None

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7. Best Moisturizing Sunscreen: Espoir Water Splash Sun Cream 50+

Want to add that extra boost of hydration to your skin? The Espoir Water Splash Sun Cream offers ample moisturization to your skin along with a day-long refreshing feeling. Infused with SPF 50+ PA+++, this sunblock offers protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays while adding a dewy finish to your face. It has a lightweight texture that spreads evenly on your face without leaving a white cast. The Espoir Water Splash Sun Cream is also free from eight harmful ingredients.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Non-sticky
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Talc-free
  • No added colorants

Cons

None

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8. Best Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin: Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen 100 SPF 50+ PA+++

Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen 100 has a featherlight texture that offers maximum protection against sun damage without clogging your pores or breaking out your skin. The sunscreen combines chemical and mineral-based sun filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that decompose and deflect the UVA and UVB rays. Hydrolyzed collagen prevents premature skin aging and revives dull, dry skin, while acetyl hexapeptide enhances skin elasticity. Plus, lavender extract provides a subtle and refreshing scent.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Prevents premature aging
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • No added color
  • Refreshing scent

Cons

None

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9. Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreen: G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF 50 + PA++++

Finding the correct fragrance-free sunscreen for sensitive skin can be tricky. The Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun+ has a mild and hypoallergenic formula with SPF 50 PA+++ that shields sensitive skin from the damaging effects of the UV rays. The smooth and non-sticky formula of this sunscreen glides smoothly on the skin without leaving any white cast. It contains a blend of carefully chosen ingredients like Centella asiatica and fish mint to soothe and moisturize your skin.

Pros

  • Does not leave a white cast
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-sticky
  • Non-greasy
  • No artificial fragrances

Cons

None

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10. Best Hyaluronic Acid-Based Sunscreen: ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

The ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel has a gentle formula that offers long-lasting moisturization. Its SPF 50+ PA+++ provides adequate protection against the harmful effects of the UVA and UVB rays. It is enriched with eight types of hyaluronic acids, which penetrate the layers of your skin to increase firmness and maintains a healthy look. The other ingredients include Centella asiatica extract that soothes irritated skin, while astaxanthin promotes skin elasticity. Ceramides replenish moisture, and fig fruit extract makes the skin silky and smooth. Due to its lotion-like consistency, this sunscreen is easy to apply and gets absorbed into the skin quickly.

Pros

  • Long-lasting moisturization
  • Quick-absorbing formula
  • Increases skin firmness and elasticity
  • Does not leave a white cast
  • PEG-free

Cons

  • Not suitable for all skin types

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11. IPKN Big Apple Sun Cream SPF 50

The IpKN Big Apple Sun Cream’s oil-free formula does not clog your pores and controls excess sebum production. It is enriched with antioxidant-rich apple water extract, zinc oxide, niacinamide, and other herbal ingredients that work wonders for your skin. This moisturizing formula with SPF 50+ is a potent multitasker – it smoothens, color-corrects, and protects the skin all day long. Your skin keeps glowing without any greasiness.

Pros

  • Oil-free formula
  • Reduces excess oil production
  • Improves the skin tone
  • Can be used as a color corrector

Cons

None

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12. IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector XP SPF 50+ PA++++

The IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector XP has a featherlight and non-sticky texture that gets absorbed into the skin quickly. The Micro Filter System it combats external stressors and helps you maintain healthy skin. The VD Booster strengthens the skin and also treats the visible signs of aging.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Combats environmental stressors
  • Minimizes the signs of aging
  • Non-sticky

Cons

None

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13. Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++

With SPF 50+/ PA+++, the Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream offers a protective shield against harmful UV rays while keeping your skin hydrated. Ingredients like aloe leaf extract, hollyhock root, and patented Phyto-oligo soothe and protect the skin’s moisture barrier without leaving behind a white cast or stickiness. It targets the signs of aging and keeps your skin hydrated all day long. This combination sunblock contains both chemical and mineral ingredients that deflects harmful UV rays. The quick-absorbing formula leaves a dewy finish on the skin post-application.

Pros

  • Protects the skin’s moisture barrier
  • No white cast
  • Non-sticky
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • No artificial colors

Cons

  • Strong fragrance

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14.  Suntique I’m Pure Cica Suncream

The Suntique I’m Pure Cica Suncream has a non-sticky, non-greasy, fast-absorbing formula that heals and protects your skin. It contains Centella asiatica that restores damaged skin and nutrient-rich galactomyces that moisturize the skin. This mineral-based sunscreen powered by SPF 50 PA +++ protection physically blocks the harmful UV rays. On application, it leaves a matte finish without a white cast. This cream doubles up as a subtle skin tone corrector.

Pros

  • 100% physical UV blocker
  • Improves the skin tone
  • Does not leave white cast
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Non-sticky
  • Non-greasy
  • Cruelty-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • Avobenzone-free
  • Synthetic fragrances-free
  • Free from chemical UV filters

Cons

None

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15. Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50+ PA+++

Are you on the hunt for a lightweight sunscreen? The Sun Project Light Sun Essence is here to give you the perfect, non-sticky look without leaving any white cast on the skin. It has a hydrating and fast-absorbing formula that contains lotus flower extract, aloe leaf extract, and soybean lipids. It offers a semi-matte finish with a subtle hint of apricot fragrance. The SPF 50+ and PA+++ offer maximum protection from the UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen by Thank You Farmer minimizes pores, moisturizes the skin, and repairs the skin barrier. It is suitable for all skin types.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Quick-absorbing formula
  • Semi-matte finish
  • Does not leave a white cast
  • Paraben-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No artificial pigments

Cons

None

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That was our list of the top-rated Korean sunscreens that you can buy. However, there are a few factors that you should always keep in mind before buying sunscreen. Check them out below!

What Should You Look For In A Korean Sunscreen?

  • Before buying sunscreen, you need to have a clear understanding of specific terms. Spot out the difference between SPF, PA, UVA, and UVB. Choose a product with both PA and SPF mentioned on it. This ensures that your skin is protected from the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Look out for the consistency depending on your skin type. Cream-based formulas work best on dry or normal skin. UV sprays, gel-based, or water-based formulas are ideal for oily skin.
  • Buy a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30. Avoid buying anything lower than that. Sunscreens with SPF 30 can filter 97% of the UVA and UVB rays.
  • When a sunscreen claims to be ‘water-resistant,’ it does not mean that it won’t wash off your skin. Check for the duration for which it lasts. It should be either 40 or 80 minutes. That means water-resistant sunscreen will stay on your skin for 40 or 80 minutes while you sweat or swim. You will then need to reapply for it.
  • When it comes to ingredients, it depends on how your skin reacts to different elements. Some may be allergic to chemical UV blockers, while others may get skin rashes after using physical UV blockers. Which ingredient works best for you depends on how your skin reacts to it. Korean sunscreens are primarily formulated with natural ingredients that are beneficial for your skin.

Sunscreens may not be as effective unless applied correctly. Follow these tips for applying sunscreen to get good results.

How To Use Korean Sunscreens To Get Good Results

  1. Choose a sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher, is water-resistant, and provides broad-spectrum protection. This means you’ll get enough protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Apply a generous amount of your favorite sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before stepping outdoors. This is because the sunscreen needs to get absorbed into your skin before stepping out.
  3. Make sure you apply it evenly all over your face, neck, and the back of your ears.
  4. To remain constantly protected when you’re outdoors, reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours or immediately after sweating or swimming. Remember, your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter.

Korean sunscreens are good for your skin as they have nourishing and moisturizing properties. They form a protective layer on your skin without looking cakey and clogging your pores. Hopefully, this list of the best Korean sunscreens will help you make the right choice. So, go ahead and grab your favorite one now!

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Oyendrila Kanjilal has a Master's Degree in English Literature. As a Beauty and Lifestyle writer, she writes about everything that the modern woman needs to know about grooming and self-care. She also reviews makeup, skin care, and lifestyle products to help readers make the best purchase. She is a trained classical dancer and loves binge-watching web series of different genres.