Korean sunscreens have gained worldwide popularity due to their innovative formulas and skin-beneficial ingredients.
Finding the right sunscreen can be especially challenging if you have acne-prone skin. Many sunscreens can be greasy, pore-clogging, or cause irritation.
Luckily, many Korean skincare brands have developed sunscreens suitable for acne-prone skin, providing sun protection without aggravating existing acne concerns, so this post will share some of the best Korean sunscreens for acne-prone skin.
Various types of Korean sunscreens are available, such as physical, chemical, or hybrid options, each offering specific benefits for acne-prone skin.
Remember that selecting a sunscreen with adequate SPF and PA ratings is crucial to ensure that you adequately protect your skin from harmful UV rays while reducing the risk of acne flare-ups.
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8 Best Korean Sunscreens for Acne-Prone Skin
Finding the right sunscreen for acne-prone skin can be challenging, but Korean beauty products have been at the forefront of product innovation, offering the newest formulas to target your acne-related skin concerns.
By choosing one of these Korean sunscreens, you can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays while also managing your acne breakouts.
These top Korean sunscreens work well for acne-prone skin and provide optimal sun protection:
1. COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++
COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++ is the perfect option for gentle yet effective SPF 50+ sun protection.
This Korean sunscreen is formulated with 5.5% Aloe arborescens leaf extract (aloe leaf extract), which offers soothing and moisturizing properties.
This ingredient is an excellent choice for sensitive skin or anyone dealing with acne, as it can help reduce irritation and inflammation.
The SPF 50+ PA+++ rating is a blend of chemical and mineral sun filters and protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, keeping your skin safe from sun damage and reducing the risk of premature aging.
Unlike some sunscreens that can feel heavy on the skin, this sun cream is lightweight and absorbs quickly.
It’s designed to feel like a moisturizer. It applies smoothly and evenly, so it’s perfect for everyday use under makeup or on its own.
This COSRX sunscreen provides lasting hydration, moisturizing your skin throughout the day and layers well under makeup.
Plus, it won’t leave a white cast, so you don’t have to worry about your skin looking lighter than your skin tone. The sunscreen is suitable for both face and body.
2. Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream SPF 40 PA++
If you’re looking for a Korean sunscreen that not only protects your skin but also offers light coverage and a natural finish, the Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream SPF 40 PA++ is worth considering if you have a fair-to-light skin tone.
Since the sunscreen comes in only one shade, if you want to use it alone for lightweight coverage, it works best on lighter skin tones.
This COSRX sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays while providing a natural, illuminating glow.
A previous Glowpick winner for best BB Cream, the tinted blemish cream calms redness and irritation from blemishes and acne with multiple actives.
These ingredients include Centella asiatica extract, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, Portulaca oleracea extract, Scutellaria baicalensis root extract, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and Arctium lappa root extract.
Niacinamide calms inflammation while providing a brighter complexion and balancing oil production. Sodium hyaluronate, a form of hyaluronic acid, helps hydrate the skin while improving its elasticity.
The texture is light and creamy with an SPF 40 PA++ (a mix of chemical and mineral sun filters), so it’s perfect for daily use. Its lightweight texture ensures it can be applied evenly without caking or feeling heavy on your skin.
Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream is formulated with gentle ingredients, making it suitable even for dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin.
3. A’PIEU Pure Block Daily Sun Cream EX SPF50+ PA++++
A’PIEU Pure Block Daily Sun Cream EX SPF50+ PA++++ combines mineral and chemical sunscreen filters to provide high sunscreen protection of SPF50+ PA++++.
Purslane extract contains antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that soothe irritated, inflamed skin and redness from acne.
Aloe vera, watermelon extract, and Berry Blossom Complex moisturize and soothe your skin while protecting it from harmful external aggressors.
Although there is a slight white cast upon application (from the titanium dioxide), it disappears quickly without leaving your skin sticky or feeling weighed down.
This Korean sunscreen is suitable for most skin types, including those with combination, oily, and acne-prone skin, as the texture is lightweight yet creamy and provides long-lasting hydration throughout the day.
Please note there is an added citrus fragrance in this sunscreen.
4. IUNIK Centella Calming Vegan Moisture SPF 50+ PA++++
IUNIK Centella Calming Vegan Moisture SPF 50+ PA++++ is a soothing, fragrance-free chemical sunscreen that provides a potent shield against harmful UV rays and calms irritated and sensitive skin.
The sunscreen quickly soothes inflamed skin, making it a perfect choice for when you are dealing with acne and breakouts.
A 49% concentration of Centella asiatica extract helps reduce redness and inflammation while promoting skin recovery. Beta-glucan provides moisture and strengthens your skin barrier while soothing and healing your skin.
Niacinamide balances oil and helps brighten and even out your skin tone. Adenosine protects collagen from UV rays.
The sunscreen has a light creamy texture but doesn’t feel greasy or crease, making it suitable for those with combination or oily acne-prone skin.
It absorbs quickly and leaves no white cast on the face, so you can wear it alone or under makeup without worrying about discoloration.
Related Post: IUNIK Calming Centella Gel Cream Review
5. Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++
Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++ is a highly-rated Korean liquid sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum UV protection with an SPF of 50+ and PA+++.
Missha’s Double UV Blocking System uses both chemical and physical filters to protect against sweat and water while leaving a soft matte finish on your skin.
One of the reasons this sunscreen is great for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin is its lightweight, non-sticky, milky texture. The formula absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving any greasy residue.
The sunscreen won’t leave a white cast, either, making it a great choice for under makeup.
In addition to its lightweight texture, Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk is packed with beneficial ingredients for your skin. The sunscreen contains nourishing plant extracts, including Aloe leaf extract, to soothe and moisturize your skin.
Please note there is an added fragrance in this Missha sunscreen.
Korean Mineral Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin
If chemical sunscreens irritate your acne-prone skin, try a mineral sunscreen, as mineral filters tend to be less irritating than chemical filters.
6. AXIS–Y Complete No-Stress Physical Sunscreen
AXIS–Y Complete No-Stress Physical Sunscreen is a reef-safe mineral sunscreen that protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays with SPF 50+ PA++++ protection that comes from zinc oxide.
The sunscreen is part of AXIS-Y’s 6+1+1 skincare line. The sunscreen contains 6 nutrient-filled base ingredients, 1 main goal-oriented ingredient (mugwort), and 1 effective technology.
The 6 base ingredients in the sunscreen are:
- Calendula: A plant extract that soothes inflammation and calms irritated skin.
- Grape: Forms a skin-protective film and prevents skin damage from UV rays, pollution, and other external irritants.
- Green Tea: A potent antioxidant that soothes irritation and can even be an effective treatment for mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris
- Chamomile: A gentle plant extract that helps reduce inflammation and redness
- Squalane: A lightweight and non-comedogenic moisturizer that won’t clog pores and allows your skin to breathe
- Allantoin: Derived from the comfrey plant, this ingredient supports skin healing
One of the key ingredients in this sunscreen is mugwort. This natural ingredient can help soothe irritated skin and reduce inflammation, which is particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin.
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 salt form of sodium hyaluronate helps to hydrate and plump the skin.
This Korean mineral sunscreen has a lightweight, calming cream formula and finish that doesn’t feel heavy or greasy on your skin, which makes it ideal for acne-prone skin types.
I notice a minimal white cast on my light complexion that goes away as the sunscreen is absorbed.
This fragrance-free sunscreen is suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone and oily skin.
7. Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+
One of my favorite mineral sunscreens over the years, Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ is a best-selling lightweight mineral sun milk that provides broad-spectrum sun protection in the form of zinc oxide.
The sunscreen balances oil and is a favorite of those with oily and acne-prone skin.
The formula also contains butyloctyl salicylate, a solvent and helper ingredient that acts like a chemical sunscreen since it boosts the SPF ratings of sunscreens.
Butyloctyl salicylate is similar in structure to octisalate (ethylhexyl salicylate), a chemical sunscreen, but the FDA hasn’t approved it as a chemical sunscreen.
The sunscreen is enriched with sunflower seed oil and baobab seed oil to support a healthy skin barrier. Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) extract hydrates and protects against UV light.
Aloe vera and other plant extracts soothe irritation and redness and moisturize your skin.
The liquid formula spreads easily and doesn’t leave your skin greasy or sticky. The white cast lessens as it absorbs into your skin.
It’s super lightweight and dries to a matte finish, making it an excellent choice for oily skin and acne.
8. Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun SPF 50+ PA++++
Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF50+ PA++++ is a mineral sunscreen that protects skin with 100% zinc oxide.
This zinc oxide sunscreen offers extremely high UVA protection with its PA++++ rating.
The sunscreen provides sun and blue light protection and contains multiple ingredients that offer antibacterial benefits and soothe irritated acne-prone skin.
Centella asiatica extract is known for its wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties and soothes the skin. Houttuynia cordata extract, a staple in Chinese medicine, is rich in antioxidants and offers antibacterial benefits.
Safflower seed oil nourishes, while Pinus pinaster bark extract supports skin elasticity and hydration. Phytosphingosine, a skin-nourishing lipid, contains antimicrobial properties.
A trio of ceramides (Ceramide EOP, Ceramide NP, and Ceramide AP) lock in moisture and fortify the skin’s natural barrier.
This fragrance-free sunscreen promotes skin healing and can even help reduce redness and inflammation often associated with acne-prone skin.
Chemical vs Mineral Sunscreen
Sunscreens can be classified by their active ingredients, either mineral (physical) or chemical. Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, use minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a barrier on your skin’s surface.
Physical sunscreens are usually less likely to clog pores, making them better for people with acne-prone skin. However, they can leave a white cast on the skin, which may be a concern for some people.
Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV rays, convert them to heat, and release them from your skin. Common chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate.
While chemical sunscreens tend to be more cosmetically elegant and easier to blend in, they can sometimes irritate sensitive skin or lead to breakouts, especially if you have acne-prone skin.
Many Korean sunscreens blend both physical and chemical filters, offering broad-spectrum coverage with a lightweight and easy-to-apply formula.
These sunscreens are often a great choice for people with acne-prone skin as they provide ample protection with less risk of irritation or breakouts.
No matter which sunscreen type you choose, it’s essential to always apply sunscreen as part of your daily skincare routine to protect your skin from the sun and maintain a healthy complexion.
What To Look for in a Korean Sunscreen for Acne
When choosing a Korean sunscreen for acne-prone skin, there are several factors to consider to ensure the product is compatible with your skin type.
Your ideal sunscreen should provide broad-spectrum sun protection (a minimum of SPF 30) while also addressing acne-related skin concerns.
First and foremost, look for sunscreens labeled non-comedogenic. This means that the product’s ingredients are less likely to clog your pores, which is essential for acne-prone skin.
It’s also a good idea to choose sunscreens designed for sensitive skin to minimize irritation and reduce the likelihood of breakouts.
Also, look for ingredients that offer antibacterial benefits that can help prevent acne, such as tea tree oil and salicylic acid.
If you have oily acne-prone skin, you can also opt for a Korean sunscreen that provides a matte finish that absorbs excess sebum and leaves you with a shine-free complexion.
Look for sunscreens that contain nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides to keep your skin hydrated since we all (even an acne-prone or oily skin type) need hydration and moisture.
Finally, make sure the sunscreen has an SPF rating of at least 30 to provide adequate protection from UVA and UVB rays.
The Role of SPF and PA Ratings in Korean Sunscreens
When choosing a Korean sunscreen for acne-prone skin, it’s essential to understand the significance of SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and PA (Protection Grade of UVA) ratings.
These two measurements are crucial in determining the level of protection a sunscreen can offer.
SPF, the more commonly known rating, measures how well a sunscreen can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVB rays, which can cause sunburns and contribute to skin cancer.
In general, a higher SPF rating indicates better protection. For instance, an SPF 30 sunscreen can filter out about 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 blocks about 98%. (SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays.)
Dermatologists typically recommend sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 for adequate protection.
PA rating, on the other hand, gauges Persistent Pigment Darkening, which measures the protection a sunscreen provides against UVA rays. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, leading to premature aging, dark spots, and wrinkles.
A sunscreen with a higher PA rating offers increased UVA protection. The PA system uses a scale marked by plus signs, with PA+ being the lowest protection level and PA++++ representing the highest protection possible.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Which sunscreens provide the best coverage for acne-prone skin?
For acne-prone skin, you should look for a lightweight, non-comedogenic, and oil-free sunscreen. Some of the best Korean sunscreens for acne-prone skin are products designed to provide broad-spectrum protection without clogging your pores or causing further skin irritation.
Can Korean sunscreens help with acne scars?
While Korean sunscreens cannot directly treat acne scars, they are crucial in preventing further damage and hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure. By offering protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays, sunscreens help to minimize skin discoloration and may indirectly improve the appearance of acne scars over time.
Which sunscreens are suitable for sensitive acne-prone skin?
For sensitive acne-prone skin, it is essential to choose a sunscreen that contains gentle ingredients and provides adequate sun protection without causing irritation.
Some Korean sunscreens for acne-prone skin are formulated with soothing ingredients and are free of common irritants such as alcohol, fragrances, or chemical UV filters.
Make sure to look for products labeled as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and suitable for sensitive skin to reduce the risk of irritation.
The Bottom Line
Which Korean sunscreen is best for acne? It depends on your skin type and what kind of protection you need.
If you have oily, acne-prone skin, choose a lightweight and non-comedogenic sunscreen so it won’t clog your pores.
For dry acne-prone skin, try sunscreens with hydrating, soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.
For sensitive acne-prone skin, opt for sunscreens specifically formulated for sensitive skin and contain calming ingredients such as chamomile extract or non-irritating mineral sun filters such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
No matter which sunscreen you choose, remember to apply it daily as part of your daily skincare routine to protect your skin from sun damage and maintain a healthy complexion.
For more Korean sunscreens, see this post on the best Korean mineral sunscreens.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, here’s to your good skin health!