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The best Korean sunscreens for sensitive skin [2018]

Finding a suitable sunscreen for sensitive skin is tricky.

If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea stay away from sunscreens that contain irritants. One of the most common irritants that can cause an allergic reaction found in sunscreens is Para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA. Other chemical filters such as avobenzone and octinoxate (which by themselves are not bad) can also cause reactions in some cases. In this post, we are reviewing 4 popular Korean sunscreens specifically formulated for sensitive skin, as well as other combination types such as sensitive/dry skin or sensitive/oily skin.

 

Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Pros:

– Parabens free
– 100% mineral based, all physical sunscreen
– Contains hyaluronic acid, which has antioxidant and anti-aging properties
– Matte finish

Cons:

– Contains alcohol, which may be drying if you have dry skin

 

The Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++ is a facial sunscreen with 100% mineral based ingredients. A quick run through CosDNA shows that it’s very low in irritants. The texture is light and liquidy, which makes it easy for your skin to absorb. It has a refreshing, mild citrus fragrance which comes from the citrus extracts (lemon, lime, orange). This sunscreen feels slightly oily on application but actually dries matte.

 

Click to see the full ingredient list
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dipropylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Carex Humillis Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Malpighia Emarginata (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Methicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Butylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Cellulose Gum

 

Why we recommend it

This Korean sunscreen is a great pick if you have sensitive skin and are looking for full spectrum protection for your face. It is non-greasy and contains many awesome herbal extracts such as acai berry and aloe vera that keep your skin naturally moisturized. It also contains hyaluronic acid which helps vitalize your skin.

 

MISSHA NEAR SKIN DUSTLESS DEFENSE SUN BLOCK SPF 50+/PA+++ 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Pros:

– Anti-pollution, with dust repellent formulation
–  Great oil control
– Soothing herbal extracts, good for irritated skin

 

Cons:

– Contains fragrance

 

Missha is one of the best Korean brands when it comes to making light, non-greasy sunscreens. In fact, some of us on the Editorial Team at Skin Inspo swear by Missha sunscreens. The Near Skin’s line is formulated with the sensitive skin type in mind. The Dustless line goes one step further to protect the skin from pollution by forming an ionic barrier that keeps out the fine dust particles. A CosDNA check of ingredients shows that it is also low in irritants, though not as low as the Etude House Sunprise above.

 

Click to see the full ingredients list
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Zinc Oxide , Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide , Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Magnesium Sulfate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Fragrance(Parfum), Aluminum Hydroxide, Hydroxyacetophenone, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Caesalpinia Spinosa Fruit Extract, Kappaphycus Alvarezii Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chrysanthemum Indicum Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extractissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract

 

Why we recommend it

The MISSHA Near Skin Dustless Defense Sun Block SPF50+ PA+++ contains many herbal extracts  such as chrysanthemum, jasmine, rosemary, and thyme that have calming benefits to the skin. If you live in a polluted area and want to give your skin extra protection or have sensitive skin that needs pampering, this sunscreen is definitely worth checking out.

 

Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sunblock SPF35/PA+++ (Best sunscreen for sensitive and oily skin)

HIGHLIGHTS

Pros:

– 100% physical sunscreen (all mineral filters)
– Parabens free
– Fragrance free
– Alcohol free
– Contains antioxidant ingredients such as fermented yeast and green tea water

Cons:

– Slight white cast
– Can be drying for those with dry skin

 

Innisfree is a Korean brand known for using natural ingredients in their skincare line. You’ll find many wholesome ingredients inside their products like organic green tea seed, orchid flowers extracts, and volcanic ash clay. Innisfree’s Eco Safety No Sebum Sunblock is a 100% physical sunscreen, which makes it suitable for sensitive skin or sensitive AND oily skin. We also like the fact that it contains fermented yeast, organic sun flower oil, organic Jeju green tea water. Fermented yeast is known as a super-ingredient due to its many anti-aging benefits. It acts as a natural moisturizer and antioxidant as well as promoting the production of collagen to prevent fine lines and your skin from sagging. Green tea is also a great antioxidant and anti-aging ingredient and can help with reducing pigmentation and wrinkles.

 

Note: If you have sensitive but dry skin, this sunscreen might not provide enough moisture for you throughout the day because it was formulated specifically to provide oil control. Rather, the Goodal Mild Protect 50 Plus SPF Natural Filter Sun Cream (next on this list) is a much better choice for you.

 

Click to see the full ingredients list
Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Silica, Mica, Glycerin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dipropylene Glycol, The green Tea Extract, Witch Hazel Leaf Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Tangerine Peel Extract, Orchid Extract, Camellia Leaf Extract, Prickly Pear Extract, Cyclomethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aluminum Stearate, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Methicone, Glyceryl Caprylate, Stearoyl Inulin, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone, Cellulose Gum, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow Iron Oxides, Red Iron Oxides, Black Iron Oxides

 

 Why we recommend it

 

This lightweight sunscreen has NO parabens, pigments, mineral oil, ethanol, benzophenone, or animal ingredients, in addition to having 100% all mineral filters. It does an amazing job at absorbing oil, so that even by the end of the day, your face is still matte, zero shine. You can use this sunscreen as a makeup primer. The Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sunblock SPF35/PA+++ is one of the best Korean sunscreens for sensitive skin that we have found, so if your skin is of the sensitive and oily type, definitely give this a try.

 

My Skin Mentor Dr. G Brightening Up Sun SPF 42 PA+++

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Pros:

– 100% physical sunscreen (all mineral filters)
– Anti-pollution protection
– Soothing ingredients to calm irritation, redness, or breakout
– Brightening benefit
– No white cast

 

Cons:

– Very mild fragrance, smells like baby powder

 

Oh boy, your sensitive skin is suddenly breaking out or suffering from a bad case of redness or irritation. You need something to calm it down stat! Well, this made-for-sensitive-skin sunscreen has all the soothing, antioxidant ingredients you could ask for: from calendula and centella, to aloe, witch hazel, and green tea. It also includes tannin, which controls excess oil and sebum to keep your skin matte throughout the day. Yep, as far as sunscreens go, Dr. G is a real G.

 

Click to see the full ingredients list
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane,Magnesium Sulfate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Vinyl Dimethicone/ Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance ( Parfum), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Talc, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Disodium EDTA, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract.

 

NOTE: When applying, make sure to dab the sunscreen into your skin to build up coverage rather than rubbing it in to maximize the tone-up benefits.

 

Why we recommend it

What we love about this sunscreen is that it’s a tone-up sunscreen, which works to neutralize any redness you may have to bring the color closer to your natural skin tone. Unlike most sunscreens that are white, this sunscreen has a light peach color, kind of like a tinted sunscreen, so it can double as a brightening makeup base if you want to skip the foundation. Meaning: no white cast that usually accompanies a physical sunscreen. It’s perfect for those days where you don’t want to wear pore-clogging foundation and just want your skin to breathe.

 

 

Goodal Mild Protect 50 Plus SPF Natural Filter Sun Cream (Best sunscreen for sensitive and dry skin)

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Pros:

– 100% physical sunscreen
– Alcohol free
– Contains hydrating ingredients like aloe, glycerin

Cons:

– Slight white cast at first
– Floral fragrance

 

 

 

 

Another high protection all-mineral sunscreen that blends beautifully. Containing all sorts of hydrating ingredients such as aloe and glycerin, this sun cream is a great pick for those with sensitive and dry skin. It doesn’t contain alcohol, so rest assured it won’t ruin your moisture barrier. In addition, the formula also features centella extract (known for its efficacy in treating wounds, psoriasis, and scleroderma) and fermented prickly pear extract, which is rich in vitamin C and amino acids.

Note: There is a generic floral scent (that does go away after you layer on makeup) so if you are sensitive to fragrances, this may not work for you. We’d recommend one of the other non-fragrant sunscreens on this list. When you first apply this sunscreen, it goes on white, but after gently massaging it into your face, it blends in easily to a matte finish and the slight white cast goes away in about 20 minutes.

 

Click to see the full ingredients list
 Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Niacinamide, Alcohol, Methacrylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Salvia Extract, Centella Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, 1-2 Hexanediol, Acrylates, Triethanolamine Fructo Oligosaccharides, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Propanediol, Pullalan, Ethtlhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Octylldodecaol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Extract, Brassica Napus Extract, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 20 Yeast Extract, Polyacrlate Crosspolymer-6, Honey Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherol, Aluminium Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Oleth-10, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Alumina, Isodeceth-6, Butylalcohol, Simethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance 

 

Why we recommend it

When you have sensitive AND dry skin, it is rare to find a physical sunscreen that also does not contain alcohol that could potentially dry out your skin even more. Add to that checklist the minimal white cast, creamy texture, moisturizing ingredients, and we got us a winner.