It’s the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean the quest for a good sunscreen can stop. If you’re trying to minimize visible skin aging, fight hyperpigmentation, and/or prevent skin cancer, then the sunscreen quest never stops. UV radiation (particularly the deeply damaging UVA radiation) is present whenever the sun is, even if it’s playing coy and hiding behind clouds or fog.
Luckily for us UV avoiders, there’s always another sunscreen to try, like the Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ sunscreen I picked up during a San Gabriel Valley Asian skincare shopping trip with Angela and Renee from the Beauty and the Cat beauty blog.
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Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ Review
Since I don’t live near any really good AB stores, seeing Image Beauty‘s physical display featuring multiple Japanese sunscreens IN PERSON was a magical experience for me. In my excitement, I probably would have blindly grabbed the wrong one and regretted it later. Angela saved me by steering me to the Skin Aqua sunscreen.
Purpose: Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ is a water-resistant and sweat-resistant sunscreen that claims to moisturize skin while strongly protecting from UVA and UVB radiation.
Best suited for: All skin types.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to organic (“chemical”) UV filters, silicones, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: Use as the last step of your morning skincare routine, after any previous skincare layers have fully dried. Apply generously* to skin that will be exposed to sun. For maximum protection, reapply after every 2 hours of sun exposure or after exposure to water.
*I can’t stress enough how important it is to apply sunscreen in generous amounts if you want full protection from skin-damaging UV radiation. Advice to use “a pea sized amount” of sunscreen continues to float around on the Internet. Realistically, a pea size amount probably isn’t enough to give you the advertised UV protection on any area larger than your forehead (if that), and it’ll prove even weaker if your face is on the larger side.
UV protection is measured by using 2 mg/cm2 of product on skin, and that’s how much you need to use to receive whatever protection the label claims. It works out to around 1/4 tsp for face alone. Using less than that will result in a drastic, almost exponential drop in protection. A “pea size” or “pearl size” is a nice-sounding, nonthreatening amount, but it is a lot less than 1/4 tsp. And it is perfectly possible to use a sunscreen in the full amount, as long as you’re not using a shitty sunscreen.
For milk-type sunscreens like this one, I like to use even more than that, and slightly more still if I’m using a cushion puff to perfect my application, which I do almost every day. This is for face alone. I repeat for neck and upper chest. In other words, Bill Gates levels of generous.
Ingredients: Unfortunately, since I threw away the packaging, I don’t have a physical copy of the Japanese ingredients to check against various online translations. Instead, I’ll share a CosDNA listing that matches up fairly closely with other online translations. I have a feeling it isn’t 100% accurate, but the main ingredients and UV filters do align.
Ingredient notes: Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ uses a combination of organic (“chemical”) and inorganic (“physical” or “mineral”) UV filters to defend against UV radiation. It also contains a bunch of silicones for that nice silky finish, and a couple of types of hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin. What this sunscreen does not contain is alcohol, which will be great news for those of you who tend to avoid Japanese sunscreens due to the frequent use of alcohol in their formulations. Woohoo!
The SPF 50+ and PA++++ designations indicate that this sunscreen provides protection in the highest ranges against both burning (UVB) and aging (UVA) sun damage.
This will be quick, as this is quite a straightforward product to discuss.
Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk is a thin, runny milk-type sunscreen. These types of sunscreens need to be shaken before dispensing; a rattly little ball in the bottle aids with that. Make sure to shake before each use to avoid ending up with separated product. Immediately after application, this sunscreen looks and feels wet and shiny, but it dries down to a clear satin finish that can go more matte or more dewy depending on your skin condition and what skincare you have underneath.
The finish and the complete lack of white cast have made this sunscreen one of my current favorites–I’ve run out of the bottle I got at Image Beauty but have put in an order for a couple more. It isn’t quite perfect, though.
For me, the key weakness of the UV Super Moisture Milk is that it isn’t actually “super” moisturizing. It’s definitely not drying for me, and I often skip moisturizer in the mornings when I use this, but using it doesn’t make my skin feel moisturized exactly. The sensation is more akin to using a super light and siliconey sleeping pack: there’s a definite filmy layer of something on my skin that will help it feel normal throughout the day, but the product doesn’t seem to provide any substantial moisture to my skin, despite the name. Also, if I use this without moisturizer too many days in a row, I notice a definite increase in dryness by the end of the day.
Since this sunscreen does sit well on top of moisturizer, I try not to skip my cream too often. Just when I’ve gotten up late and am in a rush to get out the door. I know I said “often” earlier. I’m not a morning person.
I haven’t experienced any pilling or flaking issues with the UV Super Moisture Milk, so although it doesn’t have quite the same skin-smoothing, primer-like qualities as some other sunscreens I’ve loved, like the Senka Mineral Water UV Essence* that I reviewed a long time ago, it works well enough with makeup to keep me happy.
I do wish the bottle were larger. 40ml only lasts me a couple of weeks. It’s a typical size for this type of Japanese sunscreen, however, and an acceptable trade-off for me in exchange for great protection with a nearly weightless and completely invisible finish.
Conclusion: While I’m not in passionate love with the Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk sunscreen, I do like it enough to have reordered more. It serves me well for everyday, can replace moisturizer in a pinch, and looks like nothing on my skin. Thanks for the recommendation, Angela!