My Korean Mom Wears This Sunscreen Every Day—And You Should, Too
She looks like she's either Benjamin Buttoning or just had the best facial of her life.
Welcome to Game-Changers, a weekly series in which we reveal the holy grail beauty products we're loving now—the ones that saved our hair, cleared our skin, and, in some way, changed our lives.
When it comes to her skincare regimen, my mom's philosophy has always been quality over quantity. Compared to other women in their 60s, her side of the bathroom counter is pretty scant, even more than my dad's, which is stacked with half-used bottles of hair gel. Every morning, she applies a generous amount of day cream to her face, and without fail, a daub of Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50 Sunscreen.
Many have touted the benefits of Asian beauty products, with their focus on creating a healthy, glowing complexion, and this one is no different. In fact, this one was recommended to my mom by Connecticut-based dermatologist Hanna Kim, M.D., who, in turn, used it because her own Korean mom likes the Japanese brand. "Shiseido products agree with most skin types," Dr. Kim says. "They don't cause dryness or irritation and they have a pleasant odor." Specifically, she calls the sunscreen "cosmetically elegant," meaning it absorbs nicely and very quickly into the skin, as opposed to leaving white residue on the face.
With this in mind, my mom uses the product religiously every single morning. She applies it immediately after cleansing and moisturizing so she has baseline protection throughout the day. My mom loves that it's also water resistant, so it stays on while she plays tennis or rides the Peloton. (Soccer star Megan Rapinoe is a fan for the same reason.) "If you're perspiring, you need a good sweat-proof sunscreen," explains Gretchen Frieling, M.D., a board-certified dermatopathologist and founder of GFaceMD.
The results speak for themselves. My mom's skin is smooth, supple, and moisturized. Dark spots and discoloration on her face are virtually nonexistent, and she always seems to have a dewy glow, even in the dead of winter. She looks like she's either Benjamin Buttoning, or just had the best facial of her life.
If you want to look half as good as my mom in 30-plus years, then you should consider making the sunscreen part of your daily ritual, too. After all, summer is approaching, and the broad spectrum SPF offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays, while also hydrating and providing anti-aging benefits. "It's a great product for being at the beach or outdoors in hot weather," says New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D. of Schweiger Dermatology Group, adding that it works just as well for the body. Multi-seasonal and multi-functional—we love to see it.