5 Best Korean Zinc Sunscreens 2023 | For Complete Skin Protection

by Jih Yun

We curated a list of the best Korean zinc sunscreens for you. Check it out!

Come winter or summer, the one thing that needs to remain constant in your skincare routine is a sunblock. If you happen to skip this final and most important step, you’re going to be beating yourself up a couple years down the line. 

Lack of adequate sun protection can give rise to premature signs of aging, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and spots very early on. And hey, I’m trying my best to look as youthful as possible! 

For a bout of experimentation, I sought out this can’t-live-without product from some of my favorite Korean brands. Additionally, I looked specifically for zinc oxide in higher concentrations as opposed to titanium dioxide as it provides a broad spectrum benefit. 

Not only are these formulas highly protective, they also go a step further to better the look of your skin. 

Best Korean Zinc Sunscreens: Quick Glance 

Sunscreen NameSPF/PASkin Type Compatibility
Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun MilkSPF50+ / PA+++Normal, oily, combination
IPKN Big Apple Sun CreamSPF 50All skin types
SELF BEAUTY Airlasting Probiotics Worry-Free SunscreenSPF 50+/PA++++Oily, combination, acne-prone
NEOGEN Dermalogy Day-Light Protection Airy SunscreenSPF 50/PA+++All skin types
ETUDE HOUSE Soonjung Mild Defence Sun CreamSPF49/PA++Dry, combination, normal

Top Korean Zinc Sunscreens 2023

How to Choose The Best Korean Zinc Sunscreens 

To ensure that these sunscreen picks perform well, I tested them on 3 parameters  listed below:

  • SPF and PA rating: When looking for a sunscreen, consider what SPF or sun protection factor it has, as this determines how well your skin will be protected against harmful rays. The good thing is that most sunscreens formulated in Korea are placed at an SPF of 50 or higher, which is more than ideal.
  • Apart from this, a PA rating is also displayed, which keeps UVA rays away, these are notorious rays that cause the skin to age quicker. Anything between +++ or ++++ is good, but opting for the highest is always ideal. 
  • Ingredients:  The great thing about any Korean beauty product is that it does more than it claims or is designed to. So, most sunscreens also give your skin a range of other benefits such as moisturization or a balanced barrier. You can figure out your skin concerns and make a pick. 
  • Consistency: Choosing the right texture of sunscreen is important because if you like it, you’ll use it more and there’s no such thing as too much sunscreen! Also, certain lightweight textures will absorb into the skin well without leaving a blotchy finish. 

What is the function of zinc in sunscreens: Why zinc is important?

Zinc oxide is a key active ingredient commonly found in sunscreens. It serves as a physical, mineral-based UV filter that provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide is important in sunscreens for several reasons:

  1. Sun Protection: Zinc oxide forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface that reflects and scatters harmful UV rays away from the skin. It helps prevent sunburn and reduces the risk of long-term skin damage caused by sun exposure.
  2. Broad-Spectrum Protection: Zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum protection, meaning it shields the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging and increasing the risk of skin cancer. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn and also contribute to skin cancer development.
  3. Gentle on the Skin: Zinc oxide is known for its gentle nature, making it suitable for sensitive skin types. It is less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions compared to some chemical UV filters found in sunscreens.
  4. Photostability: Zinc oxide is photostable, meaning it does not degrade when exposed to sunlight. This stability ensures that the sunscreen remains effective in protecting the skin over time.
  5. Immediate Protection: Unlike some chemical UV filters that need time to be absorbed into the skin before becoming effective, zinc oxide provides immediate protection upon application.
  6. Non-Comedogenic: Zinc oxide is non-comedogenic, which means it is unlikely to clog pores or contribute to acne breakouts.
  7. Safe for Coral Reefs: Unlike certain chemical UV filters, zinc oxide is considered reef-safe and less harmful to marine ecosystems.
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Due to its effectiveness and gentle nature, zinc oxide is a popular choice in many sunscreens, especially those formulated for sensitive skin or individuals with specific skin concerns. When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that contains zinc oxide and offers broad-spectrum protection with an appropriate SPF (Sun Protection Factor) for your skin type and the level of sun exposure. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating, to maintain its protective benefits.

Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ / PA+++

I’m a self-proclaimed Etude House fanatic; their makeup ranges are not only aesthetically packaged, but also deliver the soft glam I want.

When I came across the skincare that they market, I couldn’t help but pick up this cute sunscreen. It was also mentioned by my favorite Instagram esthetician, and the price drew me in too. 

Best Korean Zinc Sunscreens

Super lightweight in consistency, I was surprised with how easily the formula glides onto the skin. It is known to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits which works great for sensitive skin types, although it doesn’t boast any sweat or water-resistant qualities.

I usually apply this physical sunscreen as the last step of my routine before starting my base makeup. 

Like the name suggests, the consistency is very fluid and watery; you don’t have to worry about any greasy feeling despite a lot of botanical oils headlining the ingredient list.

The white cast is persistent though, so ensure you blend the product in evenly with light fingers so there’s no streaks left behind. 

I have personally not ventured into water bodies with this sunscreen on, but it did hold up pretty well through an intense SoulCycle session and didn’t burn my skin.

The slight citrus scent reminds me of a sweet sherbet on weekend mornings, and seals the deal. I also especially like how the sunscreen dries into a matte finish, covering up the sebum in my oily skin. 

Having worn the sunscreen under makeup for a couple work meetings, I can testify that my foundation formula hasn’t pilled or oxidized, earning major points from me. If you’ve got dry skin, you might want to moisturize to the best of your ability as this formula isn’t very generous in that department. 


  • Lightweight consistency
  • Pleasant citrusy scent
  • Offers a matte finish
  • Suitable for sensitive skin types
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Possesses antioxidant benefits
  • Non-greasy


  • Not moisturizing enough
  • Leaves a mild white cast
  • Not resistant to water or sweat

IPKN Big Apple Sun Cream SPF 50

There are so many multipurpose skincare products out there, but I’ve never gone out of my way to bag any. But on my quest for Korean zinc sunscreens, I came across this Big Apple Sun Cream by IPKN that also claims to improve the skin’s appearance. 

I was obviously intrigued, and wanted to treat my skin with this apple water extract and herb combination in the form of sun protection. 

The formula is oil-free and claims to be color-correcting, helping your skin tone even out with use. Along with this, you’re expected to expect sebum control and pore size minimized. 

The unique apple water extract contains crystals that pop upon application, giving a very refreshing feeling, and this has kept my skin soothed and away from potential breakouts. 

The base being green, this sunscreen will have you in a grip if redness, scars, and fine lines are among your major skin concerns. I’ve only used it for a little while so I’m yet to see these results, but I can definitely see the niacinamide giving me a brighter complexion as the weeks pass. 

The pearl gold powder in this formulation does leave a delicious dewy glow on the skin, which is why I love it for the winters when my skin is a little on the drier side. 

If fresh apples sourced from big farms is your idea of scents, you will do well with IPKN’s sunscreen. It layers like a dream under makeup, too! 


  • Doesn’t cause a burning sensation in the eyes
  • Layers well under base makeup
  • Pleasant apple scent
  • Lightweight consistency
  • Color-corrects redness
  • Brightens complexion
  • Leaves a dewy finish
  • Controls oil production
  • Soothes troubled skin


  • Might leave behind a white-green cast
  • Too little product for price

Related: Best Korean Sunscreen for Acne-prone Skin

SELF BEAUTY Airlasting Probiotics Worry-Free Sunscreen SPF50+/PA++++

SELF BEAUTY Airlasting Probiotics Worry-Free Sunscreen

When I first began religiously incorporating sunscreen into my regimen, I ran into a lot of formulas I wasn’t a fan of. They’d either be too chemical-smelling or leave me looking like the ghost of your nightmares. 

Which is why when SELF BEAUTY’s product claims to be the antithesis of that, I was lured in like Hansel and Gretel were!

It is best suited to oily and acne-prone skin types, and the formula goes on ever so gently and lightly with no stickiness, heaviness, or grease whatsoever. Think about a sunscreen that doesn’t feel like a sunscreen. The resultant finish is satiny, which goes almost unnoticed under my foundation. 

What I fell in love with was the list of ingredients—they work to truly repair and consolidate the barrier. Calendula flower extract and a probiotic complex help soothe flare-ups, nelumbo nucifera extract delivers a boost of moisture, and houttuynia cordata gives your complexion a natural-looking oomph.  

It doesn’t really have a special shade as such, working on almost all skin tones. There have been quite a few days when I skipped base makeup because of how glowy this sunscreen left me. 

The protection factor is also commendable, in my opinion, because even when you’re indoors screen lights can damage the skin. 


  • Fast-absorbing
  • Weightless consistency
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Gives a dewy finish
  • Layers well under makeup
  • Ideal for sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin types
  • Soothes the skin barrier


  • Some might find the scent to be overpowering

Related: Best Korean Sunscreen For Body

NEOGEN Dermalogy Day-Light Protection Airy Sunscreen SPF 50/PA+++

It’s difficult to traverse the world of Korean skincare without coming across the celebratory praises of NEOGEN. Be it their emollient creams or toner pads, this brand has nailed down formulations to a T. The same goes for their sunscreen, which was no less than a charm to try.

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I know it’s in the name, but the absolutely airy texture of this cream had me going insane for a long time. Every time I applied it, the 20-plant extract-enriched formula almost disappeared, blurring out my pores and blotting out the oil on my T-zone. 

In texture, it mimics an essence. You can feel the richness enveloping your skin but at the same time, it’s like there’s nothing there! I’ve felt my skin being hydrated from within thanks to elements like avocado, aloe vera, raspberry, and baobab to name a few.

Additionally, this non-sticky sunscreen claims to be free of 23 whopping harsh chemicals, and you know how we love that!

It is hypoallergenic, which means sensitive skin beauties can have a go too. My favorite part is how a little goes a long way, and the tube lasts me for months on end before I can repurchase it!


  • Airy consistency
  • Gives skin a refreshed feel
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Contains 20 nourishing plant extracts
  • Free of 23 types of harsh chemicals
  • Hydrates skin
  • Absorbs quickly


  • Some might not like the scent

Related: Best Korean Sunscreen for Dark Skin

ETUDE HOUSE Soonjung Mild Defense Sun Cream SPF49/PA++

Two ETUDE HOUSE products on a single list? Yes, that’s how easy it is to predict what my favorite brands are! Not long after I used the Sunprise and enjoyed its results, I wanted to get my hands on more of what this Korean label had to offer. 

The Soonjung, however, packs a punch to soothe the skin with its blend of panthenol and madecassoside. If you’re frequently experiencing breakouts and redness, these ingredients are sure to tone them down a notch. 

The formula is also low pH with only naturally-derived elements under its belt. My skin sensitivities rejoiced at this while the creamy and non-sticky texture went in well and was absorbed quickly. 

With its powerful Cooling Relief, the sunscreen claims to ward away any fine dust from clinging to the skin and cause a buildup of bacteria. And I did notice protection from both the sun and pollution during my time of wearing this product. However, its thick consistency makes me want to push it away to the winters when I’m cooped up in my bedroom!


  • Hypoallergenic
  • Low pH
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Gives a cooling effect
  • Soothes the barrier
  • Moisturizes skin


  • The formula is thick and heavy, taking a while to absorb and leaving a white cast

Korean Zinc Sunscreens: FAQs

Are zinc sunscreens better?

Zinc oxide does a great job of providing you with overall protection from the skin, as they block out both UVA and UVB rays. You can opt for these products when you’re going to be spending time out in the sun. 

Is zinc in sunscreen harmful?

No, this is a misconception, as zinc oxide doesn’t cause any harmful effects unless swallowed or ingested. Zinc oxide sunscreens do lose their effectiveness after around 2 hours of application, so you’ll have to reapply frequently. 

Is zinc oxide cancerous?

No, studies have shown that zinc oxide in sunscreen has no carcinogenic effects and is deemed safe for use by everyone. 

Also Read:

Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk
best korean zinc sunscreen

Here are the best Korean zinc sunscreens

Product SKU: 03187517309YGH2903

Product Brand: Etude House

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 12.95

Price Valid Until: 2024-07-06

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

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