The answer is not as straightforward as you’d think. It all ultimately depends on the actual list of ingredients, and personal preference.
Organic sunscreens typically use carbon-based minerals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate to absorb UV rays, while physical sunscreens use natural, mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to reflect and block out the rays.
Despite some sunscreens being labelled as “organic”, dermatologists recommend that you check the list of ingredients before using them. Oxybenzone is in fact a dangerous chemical that disrupts normal endocrine hormone cycles, destroys coral reefs via oxidative damage, and is reported to appear in the urine of over 96% of individuals who apply it to their skin. Another toxic chemical is retinyl palmitate, which has been found to increase the likelihood of certain skin cancers.
That seems to put most organic sunscreens in a negative light, doesn’t it?
Enter THREE Cosmetics – an all-natural Japanese skincare brand that has recently launched a new generation of organic sunscreens, without the nasty chemicals!
Here, we chat with the brand’s Japan-based skincare ambassador and specialist, Satoko San, to find out what it’s all about.
How is THREE’s Balancing UV Protector different from other organic sunscreens?
Our organic sunscreens are all natural, mineral-based and chemical-free. Zinc oxide, titanium oxide, silica, and fossil coral powder give them their sun-reflecting qualities. We also incorporate a nourishing blend of organic essential oils and vegetable oils like rosemary, bergamot, ylang ylang, tea tree, jojoba, olive, argan and shea butter to keep the skin protected and moisturised. Botanical waters and plant extracts further add to their hydrating properties.
How much should we apply for each application?
Squeeze out about a 10-cent worth of sunscreen and apply it evenly onto your face. You need to make sure that every inch of your face is protected with sunscreen. I recommend reapplying it every 2 to 3 hours if you’re going to be out and about under the sun. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen onto your neck and body as well.
What are the current skincare trends in Japan?
Brightening and anti-ageing products are a huge business in Japan. Also, sunscreen is a crucial step in our skincare routines. Applying it diligently and consistently helps to prevent and slow down signs of premature aging. It also helps to prevent buildup of milia (also known as oil seeds) caused by sun damage. Additionally, it helps to protect your skin from the blue light emitted by smartphones and computer screens.
Any skincare tips for sensitive acne- or milia-prone skin?
Be very gentle! Avoid any harsh tugging, pulling or scrubbing motions. I also recommend a good session of deep cleansing every evening, followed up with a pH balancing toner and lotion.
What are the top 3 must-haves in your own skincare routine?
A cleansing oil, detoxifying clay mask, and sunscreen.
THREE’s Organic Balancing UV Protector SPF40 PA+++ for face (30ml) and Organic Balancing Body UV Protector SPF50 PA+++ (80ml) retails at RM166 and RM229 respectively.