From SPFs to PAs, we got Shiseido to walk us through the most frequently asked questions when it comes to picking sunscreens.

Sunscreens – we all know it’s good for us but sometimes, using it or even picking one can be quite a confusing affair.

What do all the symbols and numbers on the bottles mean? Does a higher SPF number indicate better protection? What does PA+++ stand for? Also, do we need sunscreen if it’s not sunny and bright outside? So many questions for a small bottle of lotion! 

To clear the air once and for all, we got one of the biggest sunscreen experts Shiseido to walk us through the most frequently asked questions when it comes to picking sunscreens and how you can find the best one for your own needs.

Sunscreen vs Sunblock

If you’ve ever been confused by the terms ‘sunscreen’ and ‘sunblock’, rest assured they’re just different terms for the same thing. Always wear sunscreen wherever you go. Yes, even when it’s cloudy and hazy outside with no sign of the sun, harmful UV rays are still there inflicting damage. And contrary to popular belief, no, sunscreen does not clog pores. Look for sunscreens with ‘non-comedogenic’ indications because that mean they have been put through skin tests, like Shiseido’s Urban Environment UV Protection Cream. 


For best protection, look for sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA stands for ‘Ultraviolet A Rays’ that penetrate deep into the dermis and cause premature skin aging and the weakening of our immune system. UVB stands for ‘Ultraviolet B Rays’ that burn the surface of your skin and give you painful red sunburns. Choose sunscreen with sufficient Sun Protection Factor (SPF) to fight UVB and high PA rating system to protect against UVA. The Shiseido WetForce Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion has a good mix of both and is water-resistant for all-day protection!


Another common mistake people make is believing that a higher SPF number protects you better. Used properly, an SPF of 50 is more than enough to protect you from sunburn all day in the sun. Pay more attention to the PA rating; the higher number of +++ at the end indicates the higher the protection against UVA. Hence, if you use a sunscreen with SPF160 but with a low PA, you’re essentially keeping yourself from sunburns but still exposing your skin to UVA that will give you wrinkles! For good protection against both, try the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream.

Face vs Body

When it comes to distinguishing sunscreens for face and body, the only difference is that those made for the face can be used as a makeup base as it often comes with a tint of colour or powder to even out skin tone. If you'd like more coverage, Shiseido has specialised foundations with sunscreen benefits like its Sun Protection Stick Foundation. Whether the sunscreen is made for the face or body, what’s more important is to not forget to reapply consistently, even with the waterproof ones, and don't overlook places like your eyelids, ears, neck, back of your hands and the top of your feet!

(Photos: Shiseido) 

Is sun protection always on your mind? Here are other makeup products that all come formulated with SPF to protect yourself from head to toe.

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