Korean Skin Care Secrets: SPF (daytime only)

Most Koreans are crazy about sun protection. It is not uncommon to see women carrying umbrellas on sunny days, just to keep the sun off their skin. Others may wear visors or large hats. It’s also common to see people covering their arms in order to avoid any exposure to the sun.
This may strike you as odd, since many Westerners desire tan skin, often lying around in the sun for hours in the summer or visiting tanning salons in order to fake the bronzed skin look. In Korea, it’s totally the opposite.

Pale skin is desirable, as traditionally it indicated that someone was from a rich family. Rich families stayed indoors while poor ones were forced to work outside in the sun, thus tanning their skin. Pale was always considered more beautiful than tan, and that mentality is still around in modern Korea.

For women in particular, sun protection is a huge concern. Most Korean BB creams and foundations contain a dose of SPF in order to cater to the market they serve. Even though these products already have SPF, many Koreans wear an additional regular sunscreen product on a daily basis!
There is a wide array of sunscreens in varying SPF levels available on the Korean market. You don’t have to purchase a special Korean sunscreen if you don’t want to; you can use a Western sunscreen brand, as there aren’t any special ingredients in Korean sunscreens. What’s most important is that the sunscreen is at least SPF 20 and blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays.

You should apply sunscreen every day, even if it’s not sunny outside. The sun’s rays can still penetrate through the cloud cover enough to cause a slight tan over a long period of time. What should be more of a concern, however, is that exposure to the sun (including on cloudy days) can cause premature signs of aging as well as skin cancer.

You should be using a sunscreen as part of your daily skincare routine if you want to prevent both damage to your health and to your skin.
Although BB creams and foundations have SPF in them already, studies have shown that in order to benefit from the SPF in these products, you would have to use at least four times the amount of the product that you normally use.

Since the SPF is not concentrated enough in the BB creams or foundations, you need to add an additional product (with the main function of this product being SPF) to your routine. Think of the SPF in BB creams and foundations as an extra shot of protection.
The best time to apply sunscreen is after you finish all of the other steps in your morning skincare routine, but before you apply any makeup (including face primers).
In addition to wearing sunscreen, large hats/visors or umbrellas, and long sleeves to protect their skin, Koreans also wear sunglasses often in order to protect the delicate skin around their eyes. Even though sunglasses aren’t a skincare product, you should consider wearing them daily as part of your routine as well!

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