If you’ve read our post on J-Beauty sunscreens, you’re probably already familiar with the amazing benefits of sunscreens from Japan. But Japanese people are very conscious of sun protection, and they take measures beyond even skincare products to safeguard themselves from UV damage. This is especially true in the peak of summer when UV rays are their strongest. Since the summer sun in Japan can be intense, sun safety precautions are widespread, not only to defend the skin but the entire body from heat strokes and dehydration.
In some ways, our summer culture in the west couldn’t be more opposite. It’s common to visit tanning salons and bask for hours at the poolside to achieve a sun-kissed glow. However, indoor tanning can increase the risk of developing cancer, accelerate skin aging, and lead to sunburn. There’s even evidence that suggests that people can become addicted to tanning. The release of endorphins during tanning is linked with euphoric feelings and pain relief, which can lead to a psychological or physical dependence. Tanning culture aside, if we’re truly interested in our skin health and overall body wellness, there are some key pointers from Japanese sun protection culture we’d do well to try out ourselves.
Sun protection culture in Japan extends way beyond beauty routines. Though the quality of Japanese sunscreens definitely sets them apart, Japanese people take sun safety to a new level, and we can see it ingrained in several aspects of their lifestyle. Japanese consumers tend to go the extra mile in the summer, with Japanese women decking out in hats, parasols, sunglasses, and even in full-length sun protection gloves. This can be seen even on cool, cloudy days, when the sun rays remain deceptively strong. Accessorizing isn’t just for old ladies – young people follow these practices, and Japanese brands creative a variety of beautiful and trendy parasols as well as summer-friendly accessories to keep up with demand. Simply put, accessorizing is a fashion statement.
But gears like parasols aren’t just for show – the high-quality options prove to be fashion with a function. These UV protection umbrellas can help prevent your body temperature from rising too quickly, with some claiming to help shave off up to several degrees of heat with their portable shade. Many parasols are durable enough to double as traditional rain umbrellas, making them an ideal option in the fickle, rainy “tsuyu” season, which fluctuates between warm and wet. They’re often compact enough to easily slip in your purse or briefcase when closed. Similarly, there are visors and mask-style face covers for commuters and outdoorsy types, who opt to keep them on hand in their bikes and cars. It wouldn’t be weird to spot women donning these accessories while indulging in golf, tennis, or their favorite summer pastime.
Some Japanese women take it even further and suit up in cooling UV-guard tights and loose, long-sleeved tops to prevent their skin from having direct contact with the sun. Working women often attach special hand covers to their bike steering wheels to shield their hands completely during the hot commute.
Intrigued much? Though it sounds drastically different from our own sun protection culture, these measures make a lot of sense once you’re aware of the risk of sun exposure. Plus, they’re practical and help make the summer heat more bearable. If you’re an avid sun worshipper, adopting even one approach could make a lasting impact on your skin and body health.