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World's first*1 Micro Defense formula

Kao Launches Improved Version of Bioré UV Aqua Rich

On February 9, 2019, Kao Corporation (Michitaka Sawada, President) will be releasing new, improved versions of Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel, two water-based sunscreens that combine strong UV protection with light-to-the-touch texture.
Kao has developed a Micro Defense formula that uses a capsule packed with a UV protection agent. When applied to a cream, it covers the whole body like a layer of skin. The formula evens the application of sunscreen by forming a fine veil on the skin and spreading into micro crevices. A light application will protect the defenseless skin against UV effects with fresh sensations free from any hints of stress. The new sunscreens are positioned in the Bioré UV range, the top-selling sun protection products for twelve years running*2.

  • * 1 A unique sunscreen formula exclusively produced by Kao Corp. The formula incorporates capsules with a UV protection agent consisting of amphiphilic ingredients with hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties including glyceryl behenate and sorbitan distearate. (Based on a survey of prior technology and a survey conducted in July 2018 by Kao Corporation inside the Mintel Japan database.)
  • * 2 Sales levels by brand in the sunscreen market between September 2006 and August 2018 according to Intage SRI.

Aim of the release

Ultraviolet rays in sunlight can lead to long-term skin damages such as dark spots, freckles, dryness, wrinkles, and even skin cancer. Daily sunscreens protect the skin from those damages by shielding the skin from UV.
In a Kao survey of women sunscreen users conducted in 2016, more than 90 percent of the survey respondents replied that they had experienced sunburn symptoms even when wearing sunscreen.
This can occur when sunscreen is applied too little or not evenly. Sweat, water and rubbing may also chafe the sunscreen away. In observations using a UV microscope especially developed in the Kao laboratories, researchers have shown that*3 conventional water-base sunscreens (Kao products) sometimes disperse unevenly over the skin. With uneven application, micron-scale crevices may visibly appear when the sunscreen is spread on the skin.
Kao's water-based sunscreens, a range of products widely loved for their fresh textures, do not volatilize their oil phase including the UV protection ingredients, but plenty of the aqueous phase. This can result in the formation of crevices on the skin. When using a water-soluble UV protection agent in the aqueous phase, the UV protection effect likely comes off with perspiration and sebum on account of it being soluble in water.

Kao researchers solved this problem by applying their own unique technology to develop a submicron-scale capsule packed with an oil-soluble UV protection agent composed of an amphiphilic ingredient with affinity for both water and oil. When these water and perspiration resistant capsules are scattered throughout aqueous phase, they stay on the skin surface even when the aqueous phase volatilizes. Kao's unique Micro Defense formula ensures a full, even coverage down to micro level crevices invisible to the naked eye.
Despite the robust protection they provide against UV, these new sunscreens feel as light as water on the skin. The airy, vibrant sensation never disappears, no matter how often the sunscreens are reapplied. They evenly cover the body with a fine veil just like a second skin and prevent uneven spreading on the micro level. Daily protection against UV becomes easier than ever.

  • * 3 Spectroscopic imaging by a UV camera.


The new, improved release consists of two items, Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, a watery essence with a transparent feel that blends effortlessly with the skin, and Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel, a watery gel that spreads smoothly over the whole body.
Both items are formulated for the face and body, delivering maximum UV protection of SPF50+ and PA++++.

Product names, volumes, prices

Product names Content by volume
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence 50g
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel 90ml

* Manufacturer's RRP not set.

Date of release, regions

February 9, 2019, throughout Japan.

Product features

Shared features:
The world's first-ever Micro Defense formula
Prevents uneven application down to micro crevices while gently protecting vulnerable skin from UV damage.
- SPF50+, PA++++
- Bioré's unique "ultra-light outer skin." A thin, even UV blocking film that covers the whole body like a second skin.
- Six features that benefit the skin:
1) Formulated with moisture-rich water capsules to prevent dryness.
2) Includes hyaluronic acid, Royal Jelly extract, and BG (moisturizing ingredients).
3) Rinses away easily with soap in spite of the super-waterproof formulation*4 .
4) No coloring agents.
5) Inhibits acne*5 .
6) Allergy tests performed*5 .
- Gentle fragrance of white muguet.

  • * 4 Confirmed in water resistance tests lasting 80 minutes.
  • * 5 Confirmed in non-comedogenic testing. Note that comedones (the source of acne) may still arise or allergic reactions may occur in some people.

Individual features:
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
A wonderfully light sensation no matter how often it is reapplied.
- A watery essence with a transparent texture that blends effortlessly with the skin.
- A translucent finish that hugs the skin with no flaking.
- Also usable as a foundation primer for a perfectly smooth foundation finish.


Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel
Moisture maintained after many hours.
- A watery gel that spreads smoothly over the whole body.
- Presents the skin of the whole body in a clear, beautiful tone through the optical veil effect.
- Also usable as a foundation primer.


◆SPF, PA markings
The SPF and PA ratings are markers of effectiveness in protecting the skin from UV-B rays and UV-A rays, respectively. SPF and PA markings are internationally standard values determined by testing the skin after applying 2 mg of sunscreen onto to 1 cm2 of skin surface. Consumers check the SPF and PA ratings for guidance when selecting products with sun-protective effects.

Media inquiries should be directed to:

Corporate Communications
Kao Corporation

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