Everything about Sunscreen!

When I was young, my mom used to put thick layer of sunscreen wherever I went and I hated it. <(`^´)> It made my face unnaturally white, and that super uncomfortable oily feeling on my skin was not my favorite. Now I know, as a biochemist, I realize she did the right thing. It does prevent skin cancer and furthermore prevents fine line and pigmentation. Today, I will talk a little further about the core of Asian beauty – sun block.

What is sunscreen?

Generally, we can roughly divided sunscreen into 3 different types.

physical-sunscreen

Type 1: Physical sunscreen

So, physical sunscreen veils your skin with thin layer of mineral particles so it makes sunlight be reflected from your skin rather than absorbed. Representative ingredient can be zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Since it is not absorbed into your skin, it does not stimulate skin much so it can be used on sensitive skin or baby skin. But at the same time, it can be a little uncomfortable since the mineral layer remains on the top of your skin. The biggest problem of physical sunscreen is white cast, and you generally need oil type cleanser to completely remove physical sunscreen.

 P.S. There are number of researches prove that titanium oxide can be problematic for acne prone skin. ( ̄ε(# ̄)︴

chemical sunscreen

Type 2: Chemical Sunscreen

Instead of using mineral coating, chemical sunscreen use carbon based molecules.  Chemical sunscreens use a little more complicated mechanism. The chemical molecules work as a barrier as well but when they got attacked by UV, they undergo exothermic reaction (releasing heat to the environment.) So these chemical molecules undergo reaction instead of your skin cells. (Great sacrifice!) Oxybenzone , Avobenzone or many other molecules can be used as chemical sun filter. They are generally colorless and have watery / refreshing texture than physical sunscreen so it is widely used “oil-free” sunscreens. They can be refreshing but may irritate skin as well. So you have to try before you buy any. ㄟ(≧◇≦)ㄏ

Type 3: Mixture of 1 & 2

Nowadays almost all companies try to mix these physical / chemical filters to maximize sun protection and minimize the feeling of uncomfortable.

Then what is SPF and what is PA?

sunscreen

Sun Protection Factor refers to the time that sunscreen can protect your skin from UV B. Everyone has different threshold time until you got burn without sunscreen. So, SPF X means you can stay X times longer under the sun with the given sunscreen. So for example, if your skin’s threshold is 10 min and you wear sunscreen with SPF30, you can stay under the sun for 300 min without get burned. (I am not saying you have to find out your burning threshold time. It is generally 10 to 20 min.) So it does not mean a sunscreen with SPF50 blocks UV B than a sunscreen with SPF30.

PA (protection grade of UVA) is a relatively new concept, and it shows that how well the sunscreen protects you from UVA. (UVA up-regulates the MMP that degrade elastin and collagen, meaning you will lose firmness and gain wrinkle if you got exposed. Scarrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyo(╯□╰)o). Since there is no standardized system to measure PA or (PPD for European cosmetics), I won’t mention it precisely here but more + after PAor higher number of PPD means better protection against UVA.

Recommendation

 code9

Code 9 UV defense long lasting protector SPF 50+ / PA +++

The texture of water capsule in the base is very interesting. It tones up your skin and makes your skin glows. If you like dewy skin, this sunscreen is recommended under your primer.

leaders

Leaders Aqua Sun Liquid SPF 50 / PA +++

It has very refreshing and non-sticky texture, so good for oily skin in summer. It does not leave much white cast, so if you like natural skin, Leaders Aqua Sun Liquid may be a good choice.

too cool for school

Too cool For School Jean George Llong  SPF 50 / PA +++

Too Cool for School’s Jean George LLong has non-sticky, fast absorbing texture as well. It has slight ivory color, so you may use and skip the make-up base or CC cream.

skinfood

Skinfood Tomato Sun cream SPF 36 / PA ++

It has very matt texture. Interestingly, this sunscreen has very natural white cast, some Korean bloggers use this as “natural bare skin make up(안색크림).”

sunscreen

Reference

Latha, M. S., Martis, J., Shobha, V., Sham Shinde, R., Bangera, S., Krishnankutty, B., … Naveen Kumar, B. R. (2013). Sunscreening Agents: A Review. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology6(1), 16–26.

Hayden CG, Cross SE, Anderson C, Saunders NA, Roberts MS

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2005 Jul-Aug; 18(4):170-4.

Marionnet C, Grether-Beck S, Seité S, et al. A broad-spectrum sunscreen prevents UVA radiation-induced gene expression in reconstructed skin in vitro and in human skin in vivo. Exp Dermatol.

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Plump & Hydrate UP! NEOGEN CODE 9 Black Volume Cream

black-volum-cream

Intro

When Laneige introduced Water Sleeping Mask to the Korean cosmetic market, K-beauty bloggers responded with fervent enthusiasm. I mean, it was REALLY REALLY convenient – you don’t even have to put the sheet mask on your skin for 20 min!Σ( ° △ °|||) You may apply it like cream and go to sleep. It is the first cream-type sleeping mask among Korean cosmetic products, and the most sold one as well. (they sold over 20 million jars worldwide.)

After Laneige, other cosmetic brands brought similar type of water-based sleeping masks, but market response was just so-so. Because all other “me-too” products were just so similar to the Laneige’s regarding texture and concept so K-beauty fans did not really have to change their routine product into new, unknown and more expensive products. But in 2012, the spotlight moved onto NEOGEN’s Code 9 Black Volume Cream. With innovative design and interesting texture ( Black! I mean the cream is black jelly!!), they have become best seller of the year 2012 in CJ home shopping channel and NEOGEN became a major cosmetic brand from no-name internet based cosmetic brand.

So much for the history, let’s take a look at the product. 0^◇^0)/

First

First Impression

One undeniable thing to say about this cream is that product design is really chic and convenient. The container can be placed in the holder, and you can put rubber spatula right next to it. It smells floral but very light and pleasant. (Not“Guerlain” like strong, powdery floral). The cream texture is more like a thick jelly •﹏•, and you would need (and also it’s recommended by the producer) rubber spatula to spread on your skin because if you use hands, it will be absorbed into your hands. (This is not an exaggeration. Check out the video and you will know what I am talking about.) I would recommend wearing thick layer if you want to use this as a sleeping mask. It will extremely hydrate your skin (You will feel like you wear the sheet mask for 2 hours on next morning) If you want to use this in the morning, just try as little as possible because it does not absorb really quick.

ingredient

Ingredient Check

I couldn’t see especially harmful ingredients but I do not like about the complexity of this cream because they put too many plant extracts.~^O^~ So if you are allergic to any plants, please check out their ingredient list thoroughly (They advertise themselves that they added more than 79 extracts, but I really don’t know why.) They put commonly used moisturizing agents such as glycerin and butylene glycol. They used hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, increasing the bio-availability of this incredible moisturizer. I think this stabilized, low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is the unique selling point of this cream.

apply

after

After Thought

As they claimed, it is a marvelous moisturizing sleeping mask. It excellently hydrates my skin, (even in the morning%>_<%) and slightly plumps the fine lines. I could actually see the visible difference on the second day, my skin was nicely hydrated and visibly dewy. But it is a bit sticky and does not penetrate the skin so well (So it is actually a mask, not cream) so it is not really suitable for daily moisturizing cream, but it is an excellent sleeping mask.

I am also on Reddit and /r/asianbeauty

Top 5 ! Must Buy Skincare Items before Summer

Hello Friends. The weather is getting warmer and warmer. And soon, summer will be here with us. The good news is that our skins won’t be dried up as before but our pores will be filled up with sebum and impurities in a much faster phase than ever before. So we should diligently clarify pores, protect our skins from the sun and soothe/hydrate nicely. So, we has carefully selected 5 best K-beauty items for your flawlessly glowing skin.

1.     Oxygen Aha bubble peeling mask

AHA/BHA complex gently removes dead skin layer and plentiful bubbles clarify sebum accumulation in pores. Cocamidopropyl Betaine was used as a surfactant instead of Sodium Laureth Sulfate, so it can be used on sensitive skin as well. Bubbles are formed when you wear the mask, and you should wash your face with warm water after your mask sheet session is done.

2.     Leaders Pore-scaling Black Aqua

This black sheet mask contains volcanic ashes and Quercus phillyraeoides and they effectively cleanse excessive oil and other impurities. Portulaca Oleracea Extract was used as a soothing agent and active ingredients such as adenosine and niacinamide brighten your skin while delaying skin aging process.

3.     Botanic Farm – Dot Art Collection CC Cushion

Botanic Farm Dot Art Collection CC cushion is a very good sun screen (SPF 50+, PA+++) and very lightly, watery textured CC cream. It gives your skin natural and dewy glow while not making your make up thick. Even though it does not cover pigmentations on your skin, it provides nicely correct your skin tone for different skin type. (Pink for pale skin / green for acne skin and purple for tired skin.) They have BB cushion version of this pact as well for better covering function with same texture and SPF.

4.     Llang Natural Foaming Cleanser

This red-ginseng based foaming cleanser gently and perfectly removes make up, dirt and other skin impurities without leaving oily texture on your skin. It feels really soft because of the creamy bubbles and it will make your skin soft and refreshed after you wash your face. Since Llang is a cosmetic brand made by Korean Ginseng Corporation, it contains red ginseng extract, red ginseng oil and saponin.

5.     NEOGEN Code 9 UV defense

Code 9 UV defense is a non-sticky, water-based sun screen. This sun screen is colorless/light weighted so it is good to use under the make-up and capsulated moisturizers soothe your skin before the foundation or BB cream.

I am also on Reddit and /r/asianbeauty !