If you are a fan of Korean beauty, then you know that Korean skincare products are innovative and effective. This also is true when it comes to Korean mineral sunscreens. The 9 best Korean mineral sunscreens offer broad-spectrum sun protection in the form of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
Forget the thick and chalky mineral sunscreen formulas of the past. Today’s Korean mineral sunscreens are enriched with protective skincare ingredients and have elegant textures, allowing them to blend into the skin with a minimal white cast.
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10 Best Korean Mineral Sunscreens
1. Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA++++
Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ / PA++++ is a 100% mineral sunscreen with multiple skin benefits.
Due to its lightweight texture and oil control properties, this Etude House sunscreen is my pick for the best Korean mineral sunscreen for oily skin!
It not only provides SPF50+ PA++++ mineral sunscreen protection in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but it also helps to control oil production and brighten skin tone.
This Korean sunscreen offers the highest UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
Ideal for oily and combination skin types, this sunscreen is a lightweight liquid that absorbs easily without leaving a white cast on your skin.
The lightweight matte formula of this mineral sunscreen would also be ideal for acne prone skin.
Although there is fragrance in this sunscreen, it is free of talc, animal ingredients, mineral oils, and dyes. It dries down to a matte finish and works really well under makeup.
Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ / PA++ Key Ingredients:
- Centella Asiatica Extract: An antioxidant that has wound-healing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps stimulate hyaluronic acid production in our skin and moisturizes the skin too.
- Portulaca Oleracea Extract: A plant extract used in Korean traditional medicine that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It offers anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera): From the Aloe Vera plant, this extract has soothing and moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties.
- Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract: This fruit extract is an antioxidant that helps to brighten the skin.
- Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract: Otherwise known as prickly pear extract, it hydrates, soothes, and protects the skin.
2. Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF50+ PA++++
Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF50+ PA++++ is a hypoallergenic physical sunscreen that protects skin with 100% zinc oxide.
The lightweight, non-sticky formula protects against harmful UV rays and blue light. Its gentle ingredients are ideal for sensitive skin.
This zinc oxide sunscreen offers extremely high UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
This mineral sun cream is lightweight and very moisturizing on the skin.
It not only provides sun and blue light protection but also contains multiple ingredients to protect that skin barrier, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin.
Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun SPF50+/PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Centella Asiatica Extract: An antioxidant that has soothing, wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Houttuynia Cordata Extract: A plant extract used in Chinese medicine that is rich in polyphenolic flavonoids that offer anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits.
- Safflower Seed Oil: Plant oil rich in fatty acids and vitamin E.
- Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract: Also known as Pycnogenol, this plant extract is known for its antioxidant properties and helps to improve skin hydration and elasticity.
- Phytosphingosine: A lipid present in the upper layers of the skin that has antimicrobial properties.
- Ceramide EOP: Also known as Ceramide 1, Ceramide EOP contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid and helps to support the skin barrier.
- Ceramide NP: Helps skin retain moisture for improved hydration and when paired with Ceramide EOP, efficacy is improved.
- Ceramide AP: Supports skin hydration. Ceramides are lipids that are found in the upper layers of skin and are considered to be the building blocks of skin as they hold skin cells together and lock in skin hydration.
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This broad-spectrum sunscreen offers the highest level of UV protection in Korea in the form of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
It provides extremely high UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
The sunscreen protection lasts about 12 hours. It also helps to brighten the skin and improve elasticity.
The pH of this sunscreen is slightly acidic, at 6, similar to healthy skin. It’s also waterproof, forming a film that protects from UV light.
This sun cream reduces oiliness on the skin while moisturizing skin. It starts out white but sinks into the skin quickly, without leaving a white cast.
Benton Mineral Sun Cream SPF50+/PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Niacinamide: A multi-benefit active that offers anti-aging and brightening benefits, and helps to strengthen the skin barrier.
- Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract: A potent antioxidant that also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
- Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate: This ingredient comes from the licorice plant. It soothes and is an anti-inflammatory.
- Tea Tree Leaf Extract: antimicrobial and anti-acne properties.
- Tocopherol: Also known as pure vitamin E, this antioxidant offers photoprotection against damaging UV rays.
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4. innisfree Tone Up No Sebum Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++
Innisfree Tone Up No Sebum Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ is a lightweight sunscreen formula to control excess sebum while leaving your skin soft and smooth with a matte finish.
Zinc oxide and titanium oxide provide SPF 50+ PA++++ broad-spectrum sunscreen protection.
The sebum control powder in the sunscreen creates a silky smooth matte finish and works really well to keep oil at bay all day.
Perfect for normal to oily skin, this Korean sunscreen has a slight pink tint that dissipates after application. This sunscreen also works well as a primer under makeup to blur imperfections.
innisfree Tone Up No Sebum Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Witch Hazel Leaf Water: Shares some of the same benefits as witch hazel extract, including astringent, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits.
- Sodium Hyaluronate: Provides hydration and plumps to the skin.
- Tea Tree Leaf Extract: Controls excess sebum production.
Please note that there is added fragrance in this face sunscreen.
5. Some By Mi Truecica Mineral Calming Tone-Up Suncream SPF 50+ PA++++
Some By Mi Truecica Mineral Calming Tone-Up Suncream SPF 50+ PA++++ is a lightweight creamy non-nano mineral suncream that contains 85% moisturizing essence.
It forms a lightweight film on the skin to reflect damaging UV rays with SPF 50+ PA++++ protection while leaving the skin soft, moisturized, and plump.
This triple-functioning suncream offers:
- UV protection
- Anti-Wrinkle Benefits
Some By Mi Truecica Mineral 100 Calming Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Artemisia Princeps Extract: Moisturizes and soothes the skin.
- Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Water: Calms and protects sensitive skin.
- Centella Asiatica Extract: An anti-inflammatory that contains antioxidants that protect the skin from environmental stress which can cause premature aging, like wrinkles and fine lines.
- Niacinamide: Brightens the skin and helps to fade darks spots while reducing redness. It also stimulates collagen production, which helps to keep the skin firm and elastic.
This sunscreen has a white shade that disappears once it is massaged into the skin. It has a somewhat medical scent due to the orange peel and lavender essential oils in the formula.
It contains no artificial colors or fragrances, which is ideal if you have sensitive skin that gets easily irritated.
6. AXIS–Y Complete No-Stress Physical Sunscreen
AXIS–Y Complete No-Stress Physical Sunscreen is a reef-safe mugwort-based mineral sunscreen that protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays with SPF 50+ PA++++ sunscreen protection in the form of zinc oxide.
Part of AXIS-Y’s 6+1+1 series, the sunscreen contains 6 nutrient-filled base ingredients, 1 main goal-oriented ingredient (mugwort), and 1 effective technology.
The 6 base ingredients are:
- Calendula: Anti-inflammatory
- Grape: Forms a skin-protective film
- Green Tea: Antioxidant that soothes irritation
- Chamomile: Soothes sensitive skin and irritation from sun exposure
- Squalane: Lightweight, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) moisturizer
- Allantoin: Supports skin healing
Mugwort is an herb that helps hydrate, protect, and soothe your skin. It also contains natural antioxidants to help reduce inflammation, redness, and irritation.
The effective technology in the sunscreen, Syn-Coll, is a peptide sequence that offers anti-aging benefits as it mimics the body’s collagen production.
This physical sunscreen also contains 2% niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that helps to brighten the skin and reduce dark spots while balancing oil production, calming redness, and supporting a healthy skin barrier.
Hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate helps hydrate and plump your skin.
This sunscreen has a lightweight creamy formula and essence-gel finish, that melts into my skin without feeling heavy on my face.
There is a minimal white cast that quickly dissipates on my skin, as you can see in the image above.
This fragrance-free sunscreen is suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone and oily skin types.
7. LabNo Cicaloe Relief Sun Milk SPF50+ PA++++
LabNo Cicaloe Relief Sun Milk SPF50+ PA++++ is a thin liquid sun milk that contains mineral sunscreen protection in the form of titanium dioxide.
This Korean sunscreen offers extremely high UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
This gentle sunscreen is filled with soothing ingredients making it ideal for sensitive skin.
It works well under makeup, doesn’t leave a white cast, and doesn’t dry out the skin like some mineral sunscreens.
LabNo Cicaloe Relief Sun Milk SPF50+ PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Madecassoside: A compound found in Centella Asiatica extract that has been shown to have antioxidant benefits, supports collagen expression, protects the skin barrier, and helps to protect against irritation.
- Portulaca Oleracea Extract: This Korean plant extract contains antioxidants, vitamins and mineral and offers anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
- Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract: Also known as green tea extract, this antioxidant offers UV protection, and is an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera): A plant extract that offers soothes and miosturizes, while offering anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.
- Houttuynia Cordata Extract: Calms and soothes irritation, as it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
8. Make P:Rem UV Defense Me Calming Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA++++
Make P:Rem UV Defense Me Calming Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA++++ is a 100% mineral low irritation sunscreen that you can use on both your face and body.
It protects against both UVA and UVB rays without leaving a sticky or greasy residue.
This mineral sunscreen in the form of zinc oxide offers extremely high UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
This is a non-nano sun fluid that comes in a generously sized bottle so that you can use it on your body too.
The sunscreen ingredients are at least 100nm (nanometers) to reduce the chances of it being absorbed by the skin.
It has a lightweight and thin consistency. It is also suitable for those with sensitive skin. Plus, the white cast is very minimal.
What is Non-Nano Sunscreen?
Non-nano sunscreen is a type of sunscreen whose particles are not small enough to penetrate the skin and get absorbed into the blood. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter. A nanoparticle is smaller than 100 nanometers, so a non-nano particle is greater than 100 nanometers.
Make P:Rem UV Defense Me Calming Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Hyaluronic Acid: Hydrates and plumps the skin, as it has the ability to attract 1,000 times its own weight in water.
- Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract: Rosemary extract offers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits for the skin.
- Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil: A lightweight plant oil and miosturizer that is rich in nourishing fatty acids and supports a healthy skin barrier.
- Tocopherol: This pure form of vitamin E is an antioxidant that provides photoprotection and for the skin against UVB damage.
- Madecassoside: A component of Centella Asiatica extract, it helps to protect against irritation, supports the skin barrier, and has antioxidant properties.
9. Self Beauty Airlasting Probiotics Worry Free Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++
Self Beauty Airlasting Probiotics Worry Free Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ is a mineral-based sunscreen formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide plus probiotics to protect skin from UVA and UVB rays.
It offers extremely high UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
It’s a lightweight, non-comedogenic formula, which means that it won’t clog pores. It doesn’t contain comedogenic ingredients like benzophenone, triethanolamine, or phenoxyethanol.
This Korean mineral sunscreen is oil-free, won’t make your skin shiny, greasy, or sticky, and leaves a matte finish. Plus, it’s fast-absorbing and won’t leave a white cast.
Self Beauty Airlasting Probiotics Worry Free Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ Key Ingredients:
- Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract: Also known as marigold extract. A plant extract offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Houttuynia Cordata Extract: Native to Southeast Asia. A plant extract that contains humectants for hydration, is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and has antibacterial benefits.
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant that has emollient properties that soften the skin and offers photoprotection against UVB Rays.
10. Haruharu Black Rice Pure Mineral Relief Daily Sunscreen
Haruharu Black Rice Pure Mineral Relief Daily Sunscreen is formulated with rice bran oil and antioxidant-filled black rice to moisturize your skin.
Ideal for sensitive skin, the sunscreen contains 100% mineral sunscreen in the form of zinc oxide.
Heartleaf extract soothes your skin while multi-tasking niacinamide to balance oil production and even out skin tone.
The sunscreen hydrates without making your skin feel greasy or feeling heavy.
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Chemical vs Mineral Sunscreens
You may be wondering whether you should use chemical or mineral sunscreen. There are important differences between the two. One of the main differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens is how they work.
While chemical sunscreens absorb UV light, mineral sunscreens deflect UV light. Let’s take a closer look at both chemical and mineral sunscreens.
Chemical sunscreens convert UV rays to heat, which then gets released from the skin.
Chemical sunscreens generally work well with makeup and don’t leave a white cast like mineral sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens are often more comfortable to wear than mineral sunscreens.
Chemical sunscreens have come under fire in recent years due to the fact that they are absorbed by the skin.
The FDA has asked manufacturers to provide additional data on the safety of these ingredients. They want to determine how much of these chemical ingredients we absorb and their effects on the human body.
Some chemical sunscreen ingredients have a negative effect on the environment.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate are not reef safe and can cause coral bleaching and damage. Luckily, there is an alternative to chemical sunscreens: mineral sunscreens.
The two mineral sunscreen ingredients that are generally recognized as safe and effective by the FDA are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Zinc oxide offers broad-spectrum short and long wave UVA and UVB protection.
Titanium dioxide does not protect as well against long-wave UVA rays but protects against short wave UVA and UVB rays, making it an excellent addition to zinc oxide.
There are many benefits to mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, over chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens deflect UV rays, and your skin does not absorb them.
Mineral sunscreens are effective the moment they are applied to your skin, while chemical sunscreens take about 20 minutes to absorb into your skin.
Mineral sunscreens won’t clog your pores and tend to be less irritating than chemical sunscreens, especially those with sensitive skin.
Keep in mind that there are drawbacks to mineral sunscreen, too. Mineral sunscreens may leave a white cast on your skin and, depending on the formula, may feel heavy and may not work well with makeup.
Regardless of what type of sunscreen you use, it is important that you apply sunscreen every day, regardless of whether or not the sun is shining.
Sunscreens protect your skin from harmful UV light from the sun and help reduce your risk of getting skin cancer.
The FDA (US) recommends that you wear a waterproof broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for optimal protection from UV rays.
UVA vs UVB Rays
UV radiation from sunlight produces UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The Earth’s ozone layer blocks UVC rays, so only UVA and UVB rays reach the Earth.
Both UVA and UVB rays can damage the DNA of skin cells, which can lead to cancer.
Ultraviolet A rays (UVA) have the longest wavelengths and reach into the dermis (middle layers) of your skin to accelerate the visible signs of aging and reduce skin elasticity.
The signs of aging include wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots (also known as age spots or sun spots), discoloration, and hyperpigmentation. UVA rays also can cause skin cancer.
Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) reach the outer layers of the skin (epidermis), cause sunburns, and can cause skin cancer.
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, an indicator on sunscreen labels, expresses how long skin is protected from UVB Rays.
How the Korean Sunscreen Protection Scale Works
PA+ to PA++++
The PA System is an indicator used in Asian skincare that expresses how long a sunscreen product will protect against UVA rays.
Developed in Japan, the ratings include PA+, PA++, PA+++, and PA++++.
The more pluses, the higher the protection:
PA+ provides some protection, PA++ provides moderate protection, PA+++ provides high protection while PA++++ provides extremely high protection.
This rating system is related to PPD, Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD), which measures how long it takes for your skin to tan.
So if a sunscreen you are using has a PPD of 5, it would take your skin five times as long to tan than without it.
- PA+ = PPD of 2-4
- PA++ = PPD of 4 to 8
- PA+++ = PPD of 8 to 16
- PA++++ = PPD of 16 or higher
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Korean Mineral Sunscreens
How do Korean mineral sunscreens differ from others?
Korean mineral sunscreens often combine sun protection with skincare benefits. They frequently use innovative formulas to reduce the traditional white cast, providing a more elegant texture that blends well with your skin.
Are Korean mineral sunscreens safe for sensitive skin?
Many Korean mineral sunscreens are formulated to be gentle, hypoallergenic, and suitable for sensitive skin. However, it’s always good practice to read the ingredient list and patch-test any new product.
Do Korean mineral sunscreens leave a white cast?
While some mineral sunscreens are known to leave a white cast, many Korean brands have perfected their formulations to reduce or eliminate this effect, offering a more transparent finish after absorption.
Are Korean mineral sunscreens reef-safe?
Many Korean mineral sunscreens avoid chemicals that are harmful to coral reefs, like oxybenzone and octinoxate. However, it’s crucial to check the product details or packaging for a “reef-safe” label.
How do I choose the best Korean mineral sunscreen for my skin type?
Consider factors like your skin’s sensitivity, the desired finish (i.e., matte or dewy), and any additional skincare concerns (i.e., acne, aging, dryness). Product descriptions and reviews can help guide your choice.
What is the two-finger method of sunscreen application?
The “two-finger” method is a guideline some people use to ensure they’re applying an adequate amount of sunscreen, especially on your face and neck.
Squeeze the sunscreen along the length of your index and middle fingers, from the base to the tip. This usually amounts to about 1/4 to 1/3 of a teaspoon. The idea is that this should be a sufficient amount to cover your face and neck for proper sun protection.
Remember, no matter how much sunscreen you apply in the morning, it’s essential to reapply every 2 hours or immediately after sweating or swimming for continuous protection.
It’s worth noting that while the two-finger method provides a useful guideline, the exact amount you need can vary based on the specific sunscreen’s consistency and your face size.
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Final Thoughts on the Best Korean Mineral Sunscreens
There are several options when it comes to Korean mineral sunscreens. These Korean mineral sunscreens come in formulas that work well under makeup and are formulated with skin-loving ingredients.
Regardless of which Korean mineral sunscreen you choose, you’ll be getting effective physical sun protection in an advanced Korean formula.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to your good skin health!
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