Skin-care junkies know the deal when it comes to sunscreen innovation: the U.S. is behind and some of the best sunscreens are currently found overseas (even many dermatologists say so). Click here to read more on that. However, some formulas can be found in niche online stores that will ship to the U.S. (make sure the retailer is credible before purchasing), and the beauty industry is taking note. Here, experts share the international sunscreens they can’t get enough of, and what makes them so good.
PURITO Daily Go-To Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA++++ ($22)
“This is a hybrid sunscreen—chemical and physical—with five different UV filters, including Uvinal T 150, which is not approved for use in the U.S. but deemed safe elsewhere,” says New York dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD of the Korean formula. “It has a nice creamy texture that’s great for dry skin.”
“This is a Swedish brand that appears to be longer wear,” says Charlotte Palermino, aesthetician and founder of Dieux Skin. “While the brand claims it lasts eight hours, I would still reapply, as there is no standardized test for the duration, but this does make me feel great about bringing it to the beach!”
“This is one of my favorite European sunscreens, which is SPF 50,” says New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. “It has a very hydrating base, and it also contains vitamin E, so it gives you extra antioxidant protection. It’s completely invisible, and it also comes in a spray form for the body.”
“For those with rosacea-prone skin, many U.S. chemical sunscreens can be irritating; but among European versions, I find this one to be soothing,” Dr. Russak says. “It utilizes NetLock technology, based on the principle of emulsion, to trap UV filters in microdroplets that form a uniform, ultra-thin, gentle layer on the skin.”
Bioré UV AQUA Rich Aqua Protect Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++ ($12)
“This Japanese SPF claims to use encapsulated UV filters to provide a more even distribution of sunscreen filters on the skin,” explains cosmetic formulator Stephen Alain Ko. “It has an incredibly light texture that spreads on the skin like water, but it provides a substantive UV barrier.”
As a result of this formula’s success abroad (you can also find it on Amazon), the brand just created a similar version that launched stateside this month: Bioré UV Aqua Rich SPF 50 Sunscreen ($15), which is oil-free and made with chemical UV filters so there’s no white cast.
Dr. Idriss and Palermino both rank this broad-spectrum Korean SPF at the top of their lists. “It’s extremely light and goes on silky-smooth,” says Dr. Idriss. “It’s hydrating and doesn’t irritate the eyes. And, if someone is a little bit oily and doesn’t want to use a moisturizer under their SPF, they don’t need to with this.