Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The Japanese have quite a reputation for their extreme measures taken to prevent sun damage. Many people during the summer months look down right comical.  Unattractive hats are ubiquitous in the summer months. 

I, as a pale and easily sunburned redhead, appreciate a culture where sun care is a high priority. I like carrying my parasol, and I am not judged for slathering on sunscreen for my walk home in the afternoon.  I don't buy make up without sunscreen in it, and if I know I will be out in the sun all day I wear long sleeves. These are all common place in Japan.
My favorite creation of this sun-a-phobic culture is their sunscreen. It is so far superior to American sunscreens that I am tempted to start a campaign when I get home to get these imported into all local drugstores. 

For daily use (non-swimming) Japanese sunscreens, labeled as water gels, gels, aqua jelly, or any combination of those words, are my sunscreen dream come true. They have a liquid consistency, which allows them to spread well over the skin. Once the sunscreens dry they feel just like normal skin, no greasiness, shininess, oiliness, or stickiness. After the sunscreen has been given time to dry, it feels entirely like skin; there is never any white residue. The sunscreens are safe to use with clothes, even delicate clothes, even when I rub freshly applied sunscreen on my silky shirts there are never any marks. Sunscreens here are all required to have full spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) and always list the SPF and PA ratings. This means that they really protect your skin from cancers, and also prevent sunspots and wrinkling. I can use it on my face without getting acne, and I can put it on over my make up, without ruining what ever look I was going for that day.

Sunscreen in makeup:
 I have been using Missha Perfect Cover B.B. Cream for years. I have a lot of trouble finding makeup in the United States that is fair enough for my skin tone, most companies stop a few shades too dark for me. In asia, very fair skin is highly desirable, so it is much easier to find shades in my range. Missha is a Korean company, but is very popular in Japan. The make up I use has SPF 40 and PA+++. It is really fantastic. B.B. Creams are extremely popular in Japan, in fact it's actually more difficult to find a normal foundation. Unlike the American B.B. creams, which are really just tinted moisturizers, Asian B.B. Creams have a broad spectrum sunscreen, moisturizers, vitamins, and really good coverage.

Katie's Plug:
Wear sunscreen!!! If you argue that the nano particles found in sunscreen are bad for your health, you're wrong. Tests done by the Japanese, and Australian governments have proven that the nano particles cannot pennetrate the outer, dead, layer of skin cells, and thus pose no threat to viable skin cells (1). If you are worried about Vitamin D deficiency, you only need between 10 and 60 minutes per week to provide yourself with sufficient Vitamin D (2). The more sunburns you get, the higher the risk of skin cancer, and at no age does this risk decrease(3). 
Hint, Hint, Nudge, Nudge, MOM!


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