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Guide to the New Japanese Sunscreen Releases of 2022

2022 Japanese Sunscreen Guide

This is the 6th annual comparative guide to the top 20¹ SPF50+ PA++++ new Japanese sunscreen releases of 2022. There’re nearly 50 new J-beauty sunscreen launches on the site this year (including ones with lower SPF and PA ratings).

For older J-beauty sunscreen releases, do check out the 2021’s Japanese sunscreen guide and the 2020’s Japanese sunscreen guide. Please note that some products featured there have already been discontinued due to the relatively short product life cycle in Japan.

This year’s chart guide uses icons and UV filter abbreviations. For example, ‘DHHB’ stands for diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, which is also called Uvinul A Plus.

¹ Based on this website’s statistics.

If you’re unsure what the symbol or abbreviation means, click on the purple question mark icon next to the category labels.

JAPANESE MILK SUNCREENS

Ultra-fluid, milk-like texture — characterised by their long-wearing, stay-put formula. Remember to shake well before use.

Swipe left-right to view table.
ALLIE Chrono Beauty Milk UV EXANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk N (2022 version)MINON UV Mild MilkSKIN AQUA NEXTA Shield Serum UV MilkSun Bears Active Protect Milk
PRODUCTALLIE Chrono Beauty Milk UV EX »ANESSA Perfect UV Skincare Milk N »MINON UV Mild Milk »SKIN AQUA NEXTA Shield Serum UV Milk »Sun Bears Active Protect Milk »
PRICE / SIZE¥2,310 / 60ml¥3,000 / 60ml
¥1,760 / 80ml¥1,760 / 70ml¥735 / 30g
UV FILTERS ZnO, TiO2 & PS15.ZnO, OCR, EHS, DHHB, TiO2, HMS, PS15, BEMT & EHT.ZnO & TiO2ZnO, TiO2, MBBT, BEMT, EHT & DHHB.ZnO, OMC, TiO2 & DHHB.
USAGE   
RESISTANCE      
KEY POINTS‣ Reef-safe
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Reef-safe
‣ Strengthens in heat & humidity
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ For sensitive skin
‣ Baby-safe
‣ Anti-inflammatory
‣ Reef-safe
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Alum to curb sweat
‣ Alcohol
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Fragrance

JAPANESE GEL SUNCREENS

Refreshing watery gel texture.

ALLIE Chrono Beauty Gel UV EXANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Gel N (2022 Formula)SUNMEDIC UV Medicated Sun Protect EX MoistVerdio UV Moisture Gel N (2022 Formula)CANMAKE Mermaid Skin Gel UV CICA Mint
PRODUCTALLIE Chrono Beauty Gel UV EX »ANESSA Perfect UV Skincare Gel N »SUNMEDIC UV Medicated Sun Protect EX Moist »Verdio UV Moisture Gel N »CANMAKE Mermaid Skin Gel UV CICA Mint »
PRICE / SIZE¥1,155 / 40g;
¥2,310 / 90g
¥2,640 / 90g¥2,200 / 50ml¥990 / 80g;
¥1,760 / 220g
¥700 / 40g
UV FILTERS ZnO, EHT, Mexoryl XL & BEMT.OMC, EHS, HMS, BEMT, EHT, DHHB & TiO2.OMC, BEMT & DHHB.OMC, DHHB, TiO2, EHT & BEMT.OMC, DHHB, TiO2, ZnO & BEMT.
USAGE       
RESISTANCE    
KEY POINTS‣ Reef-safe
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Reef-safe
‣ Strengthens in humidity
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ For sensitive skin
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ For sensitive skin
‣ Baby-safe
‣ With tiger grass
‣ Green corrector
‣ With tiger grass
‣ Alcohol
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Fragrance

JAPANESE ESSENCE SUNSCREENS

Characterised by their essence (aka serum)-like texture. They are the most moisturising in a sunscreen line-up (unless a cream formula is also available).

Swipe left-right to view table.
Biore UV Barrier Me Cushion Gentle EssenceSKIN AQUA NEXTA Shield Serum UV EssenceSKIN AQUA Tone Up UV Essence Lavender (2022 Formula)SUNCUT Light Up UV EssenceVerdio UV Tone Up Essence
PRODUCTBiore UV Barrier Me Cushion Gentle Essence »SKIN AQUA NEXTA Shield Serum UV Essence »SKIN AQUA Tone Up UV Essence Lavender (2022) »SUNCUT Light Up UV Essence »Verdio UV Tone Up Essence »
PRICE / SIZE¥968 / 60g
¥1,760 / 70g¥1,100 / 80g¥1,760 / 80ml¥990 / 50g
UV FILTERS OMC, ZnO, EHT, DHHB & BEMT.BEMT, EHT, MBBT, DHHB & TiO2.OMC, TiO2, DHHB, MBBT & BEMT.ZnO, OMC, BEMT, DHHB & PS15.ZnO, OMC, TiO2 & DHHB.
USAGE
RESISTANCE
KEY POINTS‣ For reactive skin
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Reef-safe
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Lavender corrector
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ For sensitive skin
‣ Pink corrector
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance

JAPANESE MULTITASKERS

Products with SPF50+ PA++++ that aren’t dedicated sunscreens.

ACMEDICA Medicated UV MilkANESSA Day SerumAQUALABEL Self Barrier UV MilkHAKU Melanofocus UVUrumina+ Pure Glow Oshiroi UV Milk
PRODUCTACMEDICA Medicated UV Milk »ANESSA Day Serum »AQUALABEL Self Barrier UV Milk »HAKU Melanofocus UV »Urumina+ Pure Glow Oshiroi UV Milk »
PRICE / SIZE¥950 / 45g
¥3,850 / 30ml¥1,683 / 45g¥4,800 / 40ml¥1,078 / 35g
UV FILTERS ZnO & TiO2.ZnO, OMC, OCR,
TiO2, DHHB & BEMT.
OMC, ZnO, BEMT & DHHB.OMC, BEMT & DHHB.OMC, DHHB, MBBT, BEMT & PS15.
USAGE
RESISTANCE  
KEY POINTS‣ For problem-prone skin
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Pink corrector
‣ Anti-inflammatory
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Keep skin barrier healthy‣ With 4MSK & tranexamic acid
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Natural beige colour
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance

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34 Comments on Guide to the New Japanese Sunscreen Releases of 2022

  1. Hi Ratzilla, which body sunscreen would you recommend for daily use? Most of the face ones here have small amounts of product that isn’t really suitable for affordable large area of application

    • Most of them? All the sunscreens (except for the multitaskers section) are for the face and body. In fact, they’re more commonly used on the body than the face in Japan. Sunscreens over 60g/ml are generally made for the body – facial sunscreens in Japan are usually 30–40ml.

  2. HI can you suggest a sweat and water resistant tinted Japanese sunscreen apart from Anessa as Anessa is way beyond my budget? I have hyperpigmentation which is worsened by visible light so I was suggested to use tinted sunscreen. Another thing I note that Japanese sunscreens in general do not focus much on tinted sunscreens.

    • Tinted sunscreens in the Western sense aren’t really a thing in Japan.

      Japanese tinted sunscreens are mostly the colour-correcting (aka “tone up”) variety with sheer lavender, green, or pink pigments. The Anessa Day serum, for example, falls very much in this category — it isn’t beige.

      The closest thing in J-beauty to Western tinted sunscreens would be tinted makeup bases with SPF or BB/CC creams with SPF.

  3. Which product(s) would you recommend for having the least scent? I know there are fragrance-free products, but some of them still have a faint alcohol or oil smell at first so I’m not sure what to pick. I’m trying to find something to help my friend who currently doesn’t wear any SPF because they are sensitive even to light smells; it’s okay if it doesn’t have the strongest protection since anything would be better than nothing. Thank you so much for all the useful information by the way!

  4. Hi, Thank you SO much for all of the sunscreen reviews and charts. The detail is invaluable and I look forward to it every year. In your opinion, which sunscreen or ingredient(s) provides the best protection? I reapply religiously and, though I prefer not to, am okay having a gunky, white face.

    • Sunscreen’s formula, research, and technology matter significantly more to me than any particular ingredient. Just because a beauty product contains certain “sought-after” ingredient(s), it doesn’t mean those additions will actually make a viable difference to the product’s overall effectiveness or skin IRL.

      My go-to Japanese sunscreen brands are always Anessa (for milk) and Allie (for gel) due to their respective company’s unparalleled technologies (all patented) and R&D networks. Generally speaking, super cheap Japanese sunscreen brands (e.g. Skin Aqua) are cheap for a reason. I don’t mean they’re bad (or poor quality) but their sunscreens lack any sort of technology that can help boost effectiveness in real-life situations.

      • Just my 2 cents for other readers, Allie/Anessa are the best protection you can get while still having a cosmetically elegant sunscreen. I’ve used Neutrogena and Coppertone sunscreens that have protected my skin equally well IRL, but they felt gunky and stung my eyes like mad.

        Meanwhile many sunscreens from Skin Aqua wipe off my skin with a drop of sweat or minimal agitation and I always seem to tan with them (I don’t have skin that burns).

  5. What do you recommend for extremely sweaty facial skin during the summer? I know there are sweat-resistant sunscreen and makeup formulas, but are there any face-friendly antiperspirants to prevent sweating on the T-zone? This is strictly for sweat BTW, as I have very dry skin and little to no oil production.

    • There are a few Japanese sunscreens that have potassium alum in it to help curb perspiration, specifically OMI’s (newly revamped) Sun Bears line and Suncut Prodefense Multi Block UV Milk. Neither are products I’d personally want to use on my face though.

      There are myriads of facial wipes and mists in Japanese drugstores all aimed at sweaty facial skin but they don’t actually help prevent sweating. They either remove sweat from the skin or have a fast-drying, instant-cooling formula that helps sweat dries off faster. I’ve only seen proper facial antiperspirants from very Japanese niche brands like Saragao, Acetomel, and Salafe+ — they’re all over ¥2,000.

  6. Hi ratzilla, is uvA protection in Japanese sunscreens less than the eu and Korean sunscreens?
    And Is uvA,B protection in outdoor activity Japanese sunscreens higher than the everyday activity sunscreens?

    • These are overly broad questions that cannot be adequately answered in just a few sentences. My quick answer to both would be it depends on many, many factors — far too many for me to list and explain here in the comment section.

  7. Wow, this guide is really helpful and easy to understand! Thank you for this! So many new sunscreens and I still haven’t found one that doesn’t cause burning sensations on my skin or break me out :/ I feel like giving up on finding the right sunscreen for myself

  8. thank you for this guide! it is so helpful! how would you compare the barrier me cushion gentle essence to the barrier me mineral gentle milk? would you say one is better for dry sensitive skin?

    • They’re both targeted towards sensitive skin. That being said, I don’t see how or why the essence is when it contains everything sunscreens made for sensitive skin usually lack (i.e. alcohol, fragrance, chemical filters).

  9. Thank you for the guide. Your summary has been very useful and I always but based on your recommendation. It is easier to navigate.

  10. As always, thank you for this guide. I always love seeing at a glance what’s new/changed, even though I pretty much stick to Allie and Anessa with a couple new ones sprinkled in here and there. I can’t believe it’s already the 6th guide. Time flies by so quickly!

  11. So Anessa are now using octocrylene and homosalate instead of octinoxate. Interesting choices but consider the price I find it hard to justify using old filters. Skin Aqua releases are mediocre as well. I really like OMI getting bigger. Their sunscreens are so good for shine reduction. If only they had fragrance free options. Thank you for your efforts, it was very nice to see new sunscreens. BTW Is a blue light protection a thing in Japan? Avene and L’oreal made new chemical filters to address this issue.

    • Anessa’s price point in Japan is like La Roche-Posay in Europe — not cheapest but still very much a budget drugstore brand. Its technologies (all patented) are what always set the brand apart. Much cheaper sunscreen brands don’t utilise any sort of sunscreen technologies that can help boost effectiveness in real-life situations.

      Blue light protection has been around for years in Japan but it has never been mainstream popular. It usually only appears in face products and it’s more of a blink-and-you-miss-it feature.

  12. Hello and thank you for doing these every year. Do you happen to know how Japan tests for water resistance? (Specifically if it’s done like in the US and AUS where it retains it’s protection for the stated amount of time or like in EU if it halves)

    • There is currently no standardised test method or regulations in Japan for evaluating sunscreen’s water resistance. It’s self-regulated. There are talks on introducing a new rating system next year that is based on ISO test methods. For now, labellings are based on each company’s in-house method. Most companies base their water resistance claims on the US FDA’s testing procedure, but unless that part is explicitly stated (Shiseido and Kao/Kanebo do on the packaging, for e.g.), it’s left pretty ambiguous.

  13. Thank you for yet another annual guide! I don’t know what I would do without your site… Here’s to 6+ more!S L

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