Summer in Japan is here. With Pocari Sweat in one hand and a water bottle in the other, we venture outside—likely regretting our decision quickly. Thankfully, the humidity is great for our skin, so skin care during the summer months seems like a no-brainer. However, navigating the Japanese drug store when it comes to sunburns can be tricky.
After talking to a few local drug store employees for their expert opinions, we have compiled a list of the best sunscreens and aftersun care for Japan’s summer 2022. Remember, this list is meant to be regarded as a general guide and not medical advice, and all prices are before tax and accurate as of June 2022.
Suncut and Anessa Sunscreen Spray
Summary: These brands were recommended by the drug store staff as some of the best sunscreen options for this year as they are both above SPF50, are waterproof and provide some of the best UV protection. Anessa is also rubbing resistant and works well as a base under makeup. Additionally, the formula reacts to sweat and moisture in the air to protect the skin.
Before applying Suncut, shake the bottle and, to apply either Suncut or Anessa, hold the spray bottle 10cm to 15cm away from skin and hair and spray evenly. Reapply the sprays on a frequent basis for maximum sun protection.
Anessa comes in a variety of types depending on your skin care needs. We loved Suncut especially because it has a light moisturizing formula that is not sticky.
Price: ¥498 (Suncut) ¥1980 (Anessa)
Considerations: The Suncut label says to not spray on the same area for more than three seconds. Be careful not to get the spray on your clothes as it may cause discoloration. These sprays should not be placed in the sun or in areas of high temperatures.
Bioré UV and Bioré UV Kids Gels
Summary: These sunscreens were also highly recommended by the drug store staff. Both products should be shaken before and after applying. The labels say to apply the gel little by little over the skin. Both of them are above SPF 50, waterproof and sweat resistant.
The Bioré UV Kid’s label says it should be shaken with the cap on and to shake until it clicks. Both formulas have been allergy tested, so are good for sensitive skin. Reapply the sunscreen on a frequent basis for maximum sun protection.
Price: ¥598 (Bioré UV) ¥798 (Bioré UV Kids)
Considerations: The labels also say not to put the gels on clothing and to keep them away from high temperatures or direct sunlight.
Cenqur and Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gels
Summary: Maybe you missed that spot on your back or you completely forgot to apply sunscreen in the first place, don’t worry, if you’ve got a sunburn we’ve got your back (possibly quite literally). Unlike some other aftersun creams on the market, the main ingredient in both Cenqur and Nature Republic’s soothing formula is aloe vera. Aloe vera is a great option for those dealing with dry skin after a sunburn. Additionally, the miracle plant can decrease pain from burns and help speed up the time it takes to recover. This gel should be applied topically to the skin over the sunburn. Center’s aloe vera gel is labeled as hypoallergenic.
Price: ¥398 (Cenqur) ¥498 (Nature Republic)