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The Korean sunscreen controversy

There are three brands that, after research and tests by laboratories, have withdrawn their products from the market

The Korean sunscreen controversy There are three brands that, after research and tests by laboratories, have withdrawn their products from the market

Sunscreen is a fundamental step in the skincare routine, the only part that should never be forgotten. It does not matter if it is sunny outside, clouds or if you are indoors, you must have sun protection every day, in order to prevent both skin aging and skin diseases.

The problem is that not all creams are inclusive for all skin tones: formulations with physical filters, i.e. zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are often extremely dense, leaving that annoying white patina on the face. This fact becomes an important problem for those with darker skin tones or oily skin, thus leading the consumer to skip the step of sunscreen due to the imperfection of the latter.


The case of Purito, Klairs and Keep Cool

The cosmetics industry has therefore developed chemical sun filters, in order to create more light-weight formulations suitable for all skin types.
This is what happened in Korea, one of the most advanced countries in the field of skincare and the creation of cruelty-free products. Thus, over the years, Korea has developed and approved the use of innovative chemical filters, which allow the formulation of super light and completely invisible sun creams. Among the leading products we find Centelle Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50 + PA ++++ by Purito, a sunscreen based on Centella Asiatica, fragrance-free, cruelty-free and completely invisible; Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50 + PA ++++ by Klairs, a cream with a formulation very similar to that of Purito, therefore light, fragrance-free and cruelty-free; and lastly Soothe Bamboo Sun Essence SPF50 + PA ++++ by Keep Cool, a light-weight solar filter based on bamboo water and Asian centello, always fragrance-free and cruelty-free.


The controversy

These three sun creams have three things in common: they are fantastic for their light texture, they all have rich formulations and were developed by the same Korean laboratory. And it is this last point that gave birth to the so-called "Korean Sunscreen Controversy". In December 2020, the founder of the INCIDecoder website, Judit Racz, published research data from two European Purito sun protection laboratories: the tests showed that the sunscreen was actually only SPF19, and not SPF50 as it was stated.

This news triggered a chain reaction, which led the KFDA to investigate the incident, going back to the sunscreen development company that Purito relied on, which is the same company that also produced the formulations for Klairs and Keep Cool.

all their sunscreens of the lines in question, and a broader investigation was opened that also affected other companies. After a few months, several official tests and independent tests, Klairs has not yet expressed himself on the incident, while Purito has maintained contact with his audience, also announcing that he wants to formulate a new sunscreen in collaboration with customers, launching a contest on Instagram.


The "good" alternatives made in Korea

First of all, it should be specified that sunscreens with physical filters are still the safest, since the barrier created by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is like a screen for the sun's rays. The problem is the so-called white-cast, or the whitish patina they leave on the skin. However, the Korean brand Suntique took care of this problem. In their line of sunscreens, there are both formulas with chemical filters and a formula with physical filters called "I'm safe for sensitive skin".
This cream is SPF35 PA ++++ protection with mineral filters (ie physical), but is also enriched with ingredients that help calm reds and maintain hydration, such as gotu kola, aloe and squalane. The texture is super light and completely invisible, while still giving a feeling of freshness when applied.

As for the chemical filters, the Korean brand Holika Holika has launched the solar of its Aloe line, or the Aloe Soothing Essence Waterproof Sun Gel SPF50+. This sunscreen is not only ultra-light, it is also packed with natural ingredients that help soothe the skin and control sebum production at the same time, such as gotu kola, avocado, aloe, chamomile and calendula.
The effect of this cream on the skin is an immediate sensation of freshness, thus helping to overcome the hot sunny days.

HOLIKA HOLIKA Aloe Soothing Essence Waterproof Sun Gel SPF50+

HOLIKA HOLIKA Aloe Soothing Essence Waterproof Sun Gel SPF50+

SUNTIQUE I'm Safe for Sensitive Skin

SUNTIQUE I'm Safe for Sensitive Skin