Japan is a beautiful country offering beauty to please all of your senses. The Japanese take pride in the four distinct seasons that define their climate. Japan has a beautiful fall, winter, spring, and summer, which all offer different weather experiences.
It is easy to assume that sun protection can be forsaken apart from the summertime in Japan, but this is not so! It is imperative to protect your skin against the sun’s UV rays all year round.
You can learn this from locals who use both products and accessories to protect themselves from the sun!
While you may not feel compelled to follow the Skin Cancer Foundation’s guidelines by wearing UV protective clothing, hats and sunglasses, and seeking shade all year long, you must not forgo the sunscreen at any moment during the year.
Wearing sunscreen with broad spectrum protection throughout the year in Japan will ensure that you provide your skin with the vital sun protection it needs.
SimplySunSafe wants to help you find sunscreens that you can easily add to your daily routine so that your skin will be protected from the sun throughout all four seasons.
After extensive research, SimplySunSafe recommends EltaMD UV Pure Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 47 as the best sunscreen for Japan. Keep reading for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for Japan.
To be sure that you are choosing the most sufficient sun protection for Japan, there are a few must-have features to search for in your sunscreen:
Broad spectrum protection
The single most important thing to keep in mind when you are searching for a sunscreen for any purpose, is that you want it to provide broad spectrum protection.
This means that you will receive balanced protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This is essential because each type of ray works differently:
- UVB rays damage your outer skin and cause you to tan or burn
- UVA rays penetrate the deepest layer of your skin (the dermis) and cause premature aging
Exposure to both types of rays increases your risk of getting skin cancer, which is why you need to be sure that you’re sufficiently protected!
Now you may be thinking that in Japan, a country with four distinct seasons, you only need to wear sunscreen during the hot summers. This is not true!
Just because it isn’t hot and humid in winter does not mean that the sun’s rays aren’t reaching your skin! Broad spectrum protection is necessary throughout all seasons!
Don’t worry about struggling to find sunscreens that provide broad spectrum protection. They are plentiful and easy to identify!
Just take a look at the sunscreen’s label for words like ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B’ indicating the protection you’re looking for.
You can also search the ingredients list for zinc oxide. Sunscreens with zinc oxide protect against the full spectrum of UVA/B rays and are an excellent option for Japan!
Best SPF for Japan
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is something that you often base your choice of sunscreen on. But are you really clear on what is means and how it works? Better understanding the SPF rating will make your search for sunscreen for Japan more effective.
The SPF rating tells you what fraction of the sun’s rays will reach your skin if you have properly applied the product.
So if you are wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 50, then only 1/50th of the sun’s rays will reach your skin. Now you understand why you can stay longer in the sun when you wear sunscreen, but don’t get carried away!
Wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 50 does not mean that you can stay in the sun 50 times longer than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. There are many factors that influence the effectiveness of SPF. Some of these are:
- time of day
- the amount of properly applied sunscreen
- reflections from surfaces like sand and water
Check out this table that will help you understand the protection you get from different SPF ratings:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
Are you surprised by what you see?
The truth is that there really is little difference between sunscreens with an SPF rating of 30 and ones with 100. So how do you know which to choose when searching for the best Japanese sunscreen?
Good question. SimplySunSafe stays in line with recommendations set out of by the FDA and suggests that you choose sunscreens with SPF ratings no lower than 30 and no greater than 50.
And no matter what rating you choose, be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours in Japan!
Physical is better than chemical
It’s important to know that sunscreens can be divided into two main groups – chemical and physical. The differences between these two (found in the active ingredients and in the way the sunscreens work to protect your skin) are distinct and important.
- Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays as they reach your skin
- Physical sunscreens reflect UV rays before they reach your skin
Honestly, there are many reasons to choose physical sunscreens over chemical ones.
The most important reason is that physical sunscreens stop more light across a broader spectrum. Put simply, they are better sunscreens.
Physical sunscreens also:
- work immediately upon application
- last longer on the skin
- are less likely to cause irritation
- have a longer shelf life
If those reasons don’t convince you, then this will:
Chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients that mess with your hormones.
Scary, right? The worst of these chemicals is called oxybenzone, and is still legal despite concerns from the FDA. I advise that you avoid this ingredient in any sunscreen you use.
Your best choice for all the seasons in Japan will be a physical sunscreen!
Suitable for daily use
It is important to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays, and especially during the spring and summer seasons in Japan when the sun is out more and stronger.
In order to be properly protected, you will need to wear sunscreen every day. So there are a few things you should think about before you start your search for an everyday sunscreen.
- Do you want a sunscreen that you can wear on both your face and body every day?
- Will you wear makeup over the sunscreen?
- Do you have any skin sensitivities or conditions to account for?
If you have these questions answered for yourself, your search will be streamlined and easier!
When you add a new product, such as sunscreen, to your daily skin routine, you need to be sure that it will be gentle and won’t cause you any irritation.
SimplySunSafe has recommended products that will provide sufficient protection on a daily basis in Japan without creating any issues for your skin!
Specifically designed for use on face
Sun protection is essential for all of the skin on your body. In Japan’s hot summer, it is easier to remember to apply sunscreen everywhere.
However, during the rest of the year, you may feel that since your clothes are covering you up, you don’t need sunscreen. But don’t forget about your face!
The skin on your face is some of the most sensitive on your body and is very vulnerable to the sun’s UV rays throughout the year. Just as you use cleanser and moisturizer in order to take care of the skin on your face, you also need to use sunscreen.
Depending on your preferences and skin conditions, you may search for sunscreens with a specific formula design. For example, maybe you’re searching for the best Japanese sunscreen for dry skin.
You’ll want to search for features specific to your skin type. This will ensure that it is gentle yet effective enough to protect your face against the sun.
SimplySunSafe has recommended products that are designed for use on the face and provide protection and nourishment for your skin!
Best Sunscreen for Japan Comparison
|EltaMD UV Pure||BADGER Sport Sunscreen||Vanicream Sunscreen||Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral||DHC White Sunscreen|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5.5%)||Zinc Oxide (22.5%)||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)||Zinc Oxide (14.5%) & Titanium Dioxide (2%)||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5%)|
|Water resistance||80 minutes||80 minutes||80 minutes||80 minutes||None|
5 Best Sunscreens for Japan
After extensive research into what is necessary for sun protection in Japan which included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has determined the 5 best sunscreens for Japan.
All of these sunscreens provide physical, broad spectrum protection with an SPF rating of 30 or greater. They are all suitable for daily use in Japan and the list includes products ideal for your face!
EltaMD UV Pure is SimplySunSafe’s choice for the best sunscreen for your face in Japan.
Not only will this formula provide you with the best sun protection for your face in Japan, but it will also provide the rest of your body with sufficient protection. Broad spectrum protection is provided through its active ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5.5%).
EltaMD’s UV Pure formula is ideal for daily use on all skin types as its formula is lightweight and will not leave your skin feeling greasy. The formula will leave a slight white cast on your skin after multiple reapplications or when heavily sweating, which should only be an issue during the summers in Japan.
However, its lightweight formula makes it ideal to use as a base under makeup to cover up the white cast!
EltaMD UV Pure is an option that you will be able to use throughout all the seasons in Japan.
It will not leaving your skin feeling weighed down with an extra product in the colder seasons, yet it will be strong enough to protect you during the hotter months of the year.
EltaMD UV Pure even provides you with 80 minutes of water resistance which you may find useful for extra protection during water activities or from sweating during the summer!
- Ideal for year round, daily use
- Lightweight formula suitable under makeup
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- May leave slight white cast after multiple reapplications
BADGER is another great, reliable choice of sunscreen for Japan that can be used throughout the whole year. Broad spectrum protection is provided with a high concentration of active ingredient zinc oxide (22.5%).
Although the product is marketed towards sport use, BADGER’s formula is deceivingly simple and gentle. With only 5 total ingredients (yes, just 5!), you will be able to use this sunscreen daily on your face and body without experiencing any irritation.
One thing to keep in mind is that the formula is rather thick, and you will want to rub it in well to minimize the white cast it leaves.
BADGER provides you 80 durable minutes of water resistance for the sweaty summer months of swimming in Japan!
Another plus about BADGER is that you can use it to protect your whole family. Check out BADGER Kids and BADGER Baby for your little ones. Quality sun protection throughout the year in Japan for everyone!
- Gentle enough for daily use
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Available for kids and babies
- Thick formula
- Slight white cast
Vanicream Sunscreen is another option that SimplySunSafe highly recommends for your use in Japan. It is a sunscreen that is designed to be used on the face and body, even if you have sensitive skin!
It provides broad spectrum protection through the active ingredients zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%).
Vanicream is made for use on sensitive skin so irritation will not be something that you need to worry about.
While this product would work well throughout the year, keep in mind that it is very thick. This is something that will keep dry skin moisturized even during the winter months, but the formula’s thickness means that it leaves your skin feeling heavy if you wear it under makeup.
One thing that you won’t have to worry about is a white cast!
Vanicream will also support you during the summer, as it offers 80 minutes of water resistance. If you have especially pale skin, and want more UVB protection, Vanicream is also available with an SPF of 50.
Give this product a try to see if it works for your skin needs in Japan!
- Designed for sensitive and dry skin
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Available in SPF 50 formula
- Thick formula
- Not compatible with makeup
Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral is a sunscreen that specifies that its formula is meant for use on the face and body, which is ideal for daily use throughout the year in Japan!
Broad spectrum protection is provided with its active ingredients zinc oxide (14.5%) and titanium dioxide (2%).
Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral’s formula contains many nourishing ingredients that will condition your skin throughout the different climates of the year in Japan. Not to mention that it is so gentle that you will likely not experience any irritation either!
During the summer you will be provided with the extra comfort of 80 minutes of water resistance, so swimming and sweating don’t have to derail your whole day!
The only drawback to Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral is that it is a thick formula which needs about thirty minutes to dry and absorb into your skin before applying makeup or going out into the sun.
Alba Botanica will offer many protection and nourishment benefits to your skin in Japan, if you can incorporate it into your daily routine!
- Designed for daily use
- Skin-nourishing ingredients
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Needs time to dry before applying makeup
DHC White Sunscreen is SimplySunSafe’s choice for best Japanese physical sunscreen for your face. This product is great for use throughout the year and provides broad spectrum protection through its active ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5%).
DHC Sunscreen is ideal for daily use even on sensitive skin and will not cause irritation. It is fragrance free, removing that factor from the table.
Its lightweight formula makes it a great option as a base for makeup, and it even contains vitamins C and E which help fight free radicals in your skin.
DHC can certainly be used throughout the year in Japan on your face, but you must keep in mind that it does not provide water resistance.
This means that you will need to reapply it quite frequently during the warmer months in Japan due to sweating and any water activity you partake in.
This popular Japanese sunscreen has landed last on SimplySunSafe’s list mainly due to the fact that its SPF rating is under our usual minimum.
Also, it is less adaptable to all of the varying climates throughout the year in Japan due to its lack of water resistance.
- Ideal as a base for makeup
- Lightweight formula
- Contains vitamins C and E
- Very expensive
- Low SPF rating
This guide was written for those wondering what is the best sunscreen for Japan. I hope that by reading this guide, you gained more insight into what kind of sun protection is necessary in Japan, and found a product that fits your specific needs!
SimplySunSafe recommends EltaMD UV Pure Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 47 but all 5 of the listed products are excellent choices for sun protection in Japan!
Now that you have started the process of searching for your sunscreen for Japan, it is a good idea to begin testing different products. That will allow you to experience the way your skin reacts to different formulas. Then you will be able to make the most informed decision for sun protection for your unique skin!
I love learning new things and hearing about different products from the people around me. So if you use or know of another sunscreen that is great for Japan, please share it with me in the comments. I will research it and it might even make it to this list!