11 Best Korean Sunscreens, Approved by Dermatologists & Tested by Editors 2024


Some of the most popular K-beauty sunscreens have the advantage of using filters we don’t yet have access to in the U.S. “Korean sunscreen filters are remarkably advanced, offering a weightless, hydrating, and natural finish that sets them apart from traditional sunscreens,” says Cho.

The FDA has a famously short, unchanging list of approved sunscreen filters that excludes many of the options used in other countries. You’re likely already familiar with filters like titanium dioxide or octinoxate, since they originate from a list that hasn’t been updated with new options since 1999.

Dr. Chang says that “newer-generation UV filters” often used in Korean sunscreens offer “broad-spectrum protection while being lightweight, non-sticky, and without white cast.” That makes them far more comfortable to wear, apply under your foundation, and reapply throughout the day. Cho agrees. “Korean sunscreen filters are remarkably advanced, offering a weightless, hydrating, and natural finish that sets them apart from traditional sunscreens,” she says.

While you can’t shop sunscreens without FDA approval at your nearest Sephora, you can still find them on retailers like Olive Young or YesStyle. Dr. Chang explains that filters that haven’t gained FDA approval still go through rigorous testing in other countries. “Sunscreen testing and approval processes vary globally,” she says. “In the U.S., sunscreens are considered a drug that undergoes strict FDA testing and regulation. Meanwhile, Korean sunscreens are regulated by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), which has different testing protocols compared to the FDA.” To account for the discrepancies between their testing methods, many Korean brands “have improved transparency regarding their SPF testing methods,” she says.



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