I’ve been trying out more sunscreens! Unfortunately trying out sunscreens for me is a bit of a chore. Over 90% of sunscreens that I try will clog my pores or give me deep throbbing cysts, and waiting for my skin to sort itself out takes about a week. Then I’ll try the sunscreen again, to more-or-less confirm that it’s the sunscreen and not something else – this usually gives the same clogged pores and/or cysts, which will take another week or so to sort out. I try to give my skin breaks from trying out new sunscreens to limit the damage, plus I try to have reasonably clear skin when filming videos – YouTube is full of commenters who will judge the accuracy of your skincare information solely on the state of your skin, and won’t hesitate to tell the world exactly what they think of you based on the first 4 seconds of a video. Such is life!
Note: Sunscreens aren’t approved in US/EU/UK/AU, but are approved in their respective countries (JP/KR).
Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Mild Milk
Anessa is a Japanese brand that has a number of cult favourite sunscreens. Perfect UV Sunscreen Mild Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ was the first one I’ve ever tried – it was given to me by makeup artist Larry Yeo when I visited Singapore earlier this year.
This sunscreen is formulated for sensitive skin, with no alcohol, fragrance or parabens. It’s a combination sunscreen that uses both inorganic zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and newer organic filters Uvinul T 150, Uvinul A Plus and Tinosorb S.
It has an 80 minute water resistant rating. I’ve found that it’s easier to find water resistant Japanese sunscreens than Korean sunscreens, so if you’re looking for a sunscreen with a nice texture to wear when exercising or sweating heavily, it’s worth looking at Japanese brands.
Unfortunately this sunscreen has a texture that’s great for dry skin but bad for oily skin like mine – think La Roche-Posay Anthelios Fluid, Krave Beauty The Beet Shield/Beet the Sun or Ultra Violette Queen Screen. It has a siliconey glide that never seemed to set properly on my skin. It’s marketed to have Aqua Booster EX Technology, which is meant to spread the sunscreen more evenly when it contact with water or sweat, so it might have something to do with that. It also claims to have a powder ingredient that’s friction-resistant, so it rubs off less easily.
Like with most sunscreens, this gave me clogged pores after about 4 consecutive days (note that my skin is particularly prone to clogging with sunscreens, particularly inorganic sunscreens – most people won’t have this problem!).
Related post: How to Use Comedogenicity Ratings (with Video)
Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide (12.18%), Uvinul T 150 (1.5%), Uvinul A Plus (1.5%), Tinosorb S (0.5%), Titanium Dioxide
Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide (12.18%), Diisopropyl Sebacate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Water (Aqua), Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Triethylhexanoin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Titanium Dioxide, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glycerin, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Silica, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Triazone (1.5%), Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (1.5%), Aluminum Hydroxide, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Stearic Acid, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (0.5%), Hydrogen Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dextrin Palmitate, Aluminium Hydroxide, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Stearic Acid, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Tocopherol.
Make P:rem UV Defense Me Blue Ray Sun Gel
If you’re wondering (as I was), Make P:rem stands for Make + Pragmatism + Remedy. They’re a Korean brand with a range of sunscreens that a lot of people have recommended to me, and I’m happy to have found that my skin really likes Make P:rem UV Defense Me Blue Ray Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++.
This sunscreen claims to protect against infrared radiation on top of the usual ultraviolet protection. In the marketing material it claims to cool the skin by 4.7 °C under a lamp, but interestingly it claims to do this using botanical extracts rather than the usual menthol or menthol derivatives (like menthyl lactate, menthyl ethylamido oxalate) or much alcohol (it’s on the ingredients list, but it’s quite far down). There are a handful of botanical blends coming out of Asia with similar claims, but none of them seem to use the same ingredients, and none of them are very clear on how exactly they work – I would guess that it’s either an anti-inflammatory effect, or the extract could keep water on the skin for longer (water is an excellent heat absorber).
Along with the organic UV filters and botanicals, there’s the ever-present soothing niacinamide and centella extract, and humectant chia seed extract.
Related post: What Is Niacinamide and What Does It Do in Skincare?
It comes in a convenient pump bottle and has a light texture typical of Korean sunscreens, with a slightly tacky dewy finish that works well under makeup. It has a light scent, but it’s a bit of an old-school scent that I think makes it more noticeable than it would otherwise be. It didn’t break me out or clog my pores during the 2 weeks I used it continuously (rare!).
There’s also a section on the packaging next to the Period After Opening symbol where you can write down when you opened the product – this is super cute and useful, although I’m still yet to use it, so perhaps some people will never be motivated to keep track of these things.
Active ingredients: Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octyl Salicylate, Uvinul A Plus
Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Glyceryl Caprylate, Fructooligosaccharides, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Pullulan, Adenosine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betula Alba Juice, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Xylitylglucoside, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Rubus Arcticus Callus Extract, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Glycerin, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Extract, Glucose, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Alcohol, Lecithin, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Phytosterols, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lysolecithin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Fragrance.
Make P:rem sunscreen was provided for editorial consideration by CrediThink, which did not affect my opinion. Anessa sunscreen was given to me by Larry Yeo. This post also contains affiliate links – if you decide to click through and support Lab Muffin financially (at no extra cost to you), thank you! For more information, see Disclosure Policy.