Considering that Japanese women have always been the benchmark for skincare, their unique take on sunscreen is the definitive guide for summer.
There are some of the reasons why Japanese women are an excellent reference when it comes to sun protection in particular and skincare in general. You invented double cleaning; they invented the facial massage while applying their creams - there are mini-guides from 1924 explaining how to do it -, and they know how to find time to relax with a bath - even if they work an average of 11 hours a day in Japan. Plus, long before we did, they understood the importance of using a sunscreen every day to prevent skin aging.
In fact, Shiseido launched the first sunscreen in Japan, UVIOLIN, back in 1915 (long before the industry's first sunscreen appeared in the US in 1928). Further sales successes followed (including sun oil, a bestseller in the 1960s) and a relationship with sun protection that was adapted to the respective circumstances: the tanning trend had its great moment in the 1960s and in the 1980s with the news that the Ozone layer, more precautionary measures began and the UV values in the weather report were checked in order to adapt the products used in each case. So the way Japanese women will protect themselves from the sun in 2021 is quite a good benchmark. Shiseido's expert on Japanese culture and tradition, Miyabi Kumagai, explains what the sun protection of Japanese women looks like today.
If we in Europe are already finding it difficult to use sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days, then it is even more of a challenge to change it every two hours when we are wearing makeup. However, Japanese women are disciplined and, as the Shiseido expert explains, use a compact foundation that already contains UV protection.
Japanese women use umbrellas, hats, and anti-UV gloves to minimize sun exposure when going to the beach or in direct sunlight. We should learn from them in this respect too because clothing that filters out ultraviolet rays significantly reduces the sun's influence on our skin and the consequences it can have on skin health. This is also confirmed by Miyabi Kumagai, who recommends protecting herself from UV rays not only with accessories but also with special UV-filtering clothing such as UV protective clothing from Uniqlo.
We may use the same sunscreen for going to the beach as we do for sports, but one more thing we should learn from Japanese women is how to use sunscreens that are specifically chosen for the activities we do. For example, when they go outside, Japanese women use special products that are resistant to sweat and water.
With the perennial question of what type of sunscreen to use - whether with physical or chemical filters - Japanese women opt for 'more is more. "In general, sunscreens are mainly formulated with chemical filters, regardless of whether they are combined with physical filters or not. Japanese women often choose a combination of different UV filters to ensure the best UV protection, ie with good protection both in the UVB as well as UVA. Sunscreens with chemical and physical filters provide effective UVA and UVB protection while reducing the 'white mask' effect and providing a lighter texture with an invisible finish, "explains Kumagai.
Perhaps Japanese women's belief in the conscious use of sunscreen - they see it as a health and prevention method - is one of the best lessons we can learn from them. "Japanese women protect their skin from a health-conscious point of view and maintain their standard for flawless skin beauty," concluded Miyabi.