Korean Sunscreens Under Fire and Why it’s a Good Thing

Korean sunscreens are famous for their amazing formulations infused with other beneficial ingredients, consistencies that almost feel like your lightweight moisturizer, and the absorption rates that leave no whitecast behind. These are some of the major factors that drive a lot of skincare enthusiasts to put their money on Korean sunscreen brands.


However, the recent controversy that Purito had over their sunscreen Centella Green Level Unscented Sun put Korean sunscreens under a scrutinizing lens at the height of the Korean skincare industry’s economic success. This was brought to the public eye through a test conducted by an independent testing company in Warsaw, Poland. In the report, the Purito SPF tested 15.8 for the In-Vitro result (a test that usually involves isolated tissues, organs, cells), while in the In-Vivo test (a test performed with a living organism such as a person) the Purito SPF yielded a 19 SPF. 


PURITO Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+ PA++++



The results as clearly shown are way below the claimed SPF number of the brand in their labels that says: SPF 50 PA ++++. A lot of consumers were outraged and shocked like myself. Since two years ago, I have been loving the Purito sunscreen so to hear about the scandal was truly such a shocker. At that point, I really don’t know what to do yet. Should I throw the sunscreen I was using or should I continue using it or should I purchase a new one from a different brand? At the end, I ended up continuing using it at least until I consume the remaining tube, because economically it would be a total waste to throw it right there and then; because honestly, it is still a very good product and an SPF of 15-19 is better than have no SPF at all.


Purito, being a responsible brand that they are, has issued an official notice in their Instagram page about the issue and has removed the sunscreen in the market at present while more tests are conducted for the sunscreen in question. From a buyer’s perspective, this action is laudable. We stan a company that listens and takes accountability. In so doing, Dear, Klairs also pulled-out their cult-favorite sunscreen Dear, Klairs Airy UV Essence even without being openly called out by the public and testing labs yet. This is because the manufacturer of their UV filter is the same with that of Purito.  


Dear Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ PA++++


Another brand that was also brought in the spotlight of the controversy is KEEP COOL’s Soothe Bamboo Sun Essence SPF 50 PA ++++. The brand was dragged down in the scandal because the filter that they use in the sunscreen is similar with that of the other two in small concentrations- the Uvinul A Plus, DHHB, and Tinosorb S. These are two of the newer UV filters that are not approved by the FDA yet. KEEP COOL has since released an official notice in their Instagram page. 



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A post shared by KEEP COOL 🌎 (@keepcool_global)


However, as frightening as this may sound, this is actually a good thing for the skincare community. This setback experienced by these sunscreen brands provides a vehicle for innovation and product improvement. Since these sunscreens are already under fire and in public scrutiny, as consumers we can safely expect that these brands will step- up in their formulations that will be backed by credible scientific tests because technically they wouldn’t want to be in the same sinking ship twice- it’s bad for business.


Secondly, the issue forces consumers to be aware of the product that they are using be it sunscreen or whatnot. It further educates us to always check the authenticity of the product claims and the honesty of the labels. Scandals such as this one become turning points in an industry that compels brands and corporations to be extra thorough with the products they put out in the market. Moreover, it gives them the avenue to put into practice the concepts of business responsibility and accountability towards the consumers and the market in general.


Furthermore, the controversy that these three brands have creates a rippling effect with other sunscreen brands in the market at present. They too will be forced to pull-out their products as well if their filters are in similar numbers and concentrations with that of Purito as what happened with Dear, Klairs, and KEEP COOL. In addition, this will make SPF testing truly a staple and a backbone in sunscreen formulations before such products are marketed. These companies will be forced to invest more in product testing especially on sunscreens – A Win-Win for us consumers right?


I hope this article was helpful in providing you with a different perspective on the controversy surrounding Korean sunscreens and what it means to us as consumers. I hope that this issue will not stop us from wearing sunscreens, on the contrary, urges us to use one as much as we can.


PS: If you still have these sunscreens with you, use them until the tube’s empty before purchasing another one. This I believe is economical and practical as well. After, you can opt to use a new one with perhaps more UV filters that are also photostable and in the right amount of concentration. 


#TakeCareWithSkincare    #SkincareIsSelfCare #SPFcontroversy


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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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