When you have melasma or hyperpigmentation, the decision of what sunscreen to buy becomes even more important. If you end up using the wrong product, your skin condition might just get worse.
The problem here is often a result of hormonal imbalance plus unprotected exposure to sun rays. But you can get a hold on the condition simply by applying the best sunscreens for melasma and hyperpigmentation.You have to do whatever is in your control to prevent your skin from reaching the extreme end of the spectrum. And just avoiding stepping out in the sun is not enough. You have to use a proper broad-spectrum, SPF-packed sunscreen as a form of treatment.
Table of Contents
- Top 25 Best Sunscreens for Melasma and Hyperpigmentation
- 1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen
- 2. Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense
- 3. Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
- 4. Obagi Sun Shield Tint Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
- 5. TIZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Sunscreen
- 6. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen
- 7. Revision Intellishade SPF 45 Original Sunscreen
- 8. TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen
- 9. Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen
- 10. Coola Mineral Face Matte Moisturizer
- 11. MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
- 12. Badger Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
- 13. Thinkbaby Safe SPF 50+ Sunscreen
- 14. Coppertone Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray
- 15. Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 Sunscreen
- 16. Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream
- 17. Badger Lavender Sunscreen
- 18. CeraVe SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick
- 19. BurnOut SPF 30 for Face & Body
- 20. Replenix Ultimatte Perfection Tinted Sunscreen
- 21. EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Facial Sunscreen
- 22. Neutrogena Beach Defense Body Spray Sunscreen
- 23. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion
- 24. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
- 25. Banana Boat Simply Protect Sport Sunscreen Spray
- What Impact Do Sunrays Have on Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
- How Does Sunscreen Prevent Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
- Choosing Sunscreens for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation
- “Broad-Spectrum” Sun Protection for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation
- What is the Best SPF Level for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
- Physical Sunscreens vs. Chemical Sunscreens
- What about Zinc Oxide vs. Titanium Oxide in Physical Sunscreens?
- Commonly Asked Questions
- The End
Top 25 Best Sunscreens for Melasma and Hyperpigmentation
1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen
I’ve made sure that the very first recommendation comes from a trusted brand that manufactures some of the best formulas for most types of common skin concerns. I’m talking about La Roche-Posay and their Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen.
This is an advanced tinted formulation that ranks as the best face sunscreen to prevent dark spots. The SPF rating of this mineral-based sunscreen is 50. And you get broad-spectrum protection. Meaning your melasma and hyperpigmentation patches don’t have to deal with both UVA and UVB rays.
The texture is non-greasy, non-whitening, and fast-absorbing. Plus, there’s titanium oxide in here. This is an active ingredient found in many such physical sunscreens for melasma and hyperpigmentation. It’s either titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
On top of that, the “hormone disruptor” a.k.a. oxybenzone is not a part of the sunscreen. It’s dermatologist-tested, sensitive skin-tested, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores).
2. Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense
Here’s another physical sunscreen for melasma and hyperpigmentation that adapts to all types of skin. It offers a very smooth filmless, sheer tint. The sunscreen boosts radiance to give you a more luminous and even complexion.
The active ingredient added to the broad-spectrum formula is zinc oxide. The transparent kind that too! So invisibility under makeup is something you don’t need to worry about. This zinc oxide ensures maximum UV filtering of both the UVB and UVA rays.
The sunscreen is also enriched with a plankton extract called artemia salina. What this does is increases your skin’s resistance to heat stress and UV light. And you’ll just simply love the way this sheer, silky fluid gets absorbed quickly without leaving any residue.
3. Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
The Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen is a water-resistant, broad-spectrum, and hypoallergenic lotion. In fact, all sunscreens by Sun Bum offer broad-spectrum protection to prevent any skin damage. As for the SPF level of this formula, it’s 70. So your melasma and hyperpigmentation receive maximum protection against UV light.
But the most inviting aspect is the use of friendly ingredients like Vitamin E. The thing about Vitamin E is that it’s packed with antioxidants for neutralizing free radicals. At the same time, Vitamin E behaves much like a good moisturizer. It can even tackle signs of premature aging.This moisturizing sunscreen is hypoallergenic, thus safe for sensitive skin. It’s also non-comedogenic, therefore safe for oily and acne-prone skin.
4. Obagi Sun Shield Tint Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Yes, this sunscreen offers broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection. Yes, it’s a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and sheer formula. So what’s different in this case? Well, the Obagi Sun Shield Tint Sunscreen contains not one but two active ingredients.
Since it’s a physical sunscreen and not chemical, the active ingredients are titanium oxide and zinc oxide. The advanced formulation comes from a brand that understands how spending too much time under the sun tends to increase your chances of premature aging. And also worsening your dark patches and skin discoloration.
So to decrease that likelihood, Obagi involves broad-spectrum, higher SPF sun protection. The tinted sunscreen is good for all skin types. But, most importantly, it not only protects your skin from UV light but also early signs of aging caused by the UV light.
5. TIZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Sunscreen
You may not have heard about TIZO before. But let me tell you that this sunscreen is highly recommended by many dermatologists worldwide. The brand develops innovative mineral sunscreens and skin treatments keeping pharmaceutical standards in mind. And the TIZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Sunscreen is no exception.
It’s a tinted, mineral-based formula. There are plenty of moisturizing ingredients added to the sunscreen. These work toward making your skin look beautifully dewy. Then there’s the #1 sunscreen filter used, which is zinc oxide. This has excellent calming and soothing properties. And that is very useful when dealing with melasma and hyperpigmentation.
What about sun protection against UVA and UVB rays? Obviously, broad-spectrum is included along with SPF 40. Then the amount of zinc oxide used is 20%. Anything more than 5% goes a long way. So your skin is in safe, effective hands.
The cherry on the cake is the water-resistant capacity of the sunscreen. Along with the absence of chemical filters, oils, dyes, fragrances, and preservatives. Speaking of which, the product is gentle even for sensitive skin. Plus, it’s photostable. Meaning the sunscreen doesn’t degrade when exposed to sunlight.
6. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen
It’s now more important than ever to choose the best sunscreen for melasma. And that’s because there are so many traditional sunscreens out there. The traditional ones work simply by absorbing the rays of the sun. As for a mineral-based formula like the Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen, it protects your skin by straight away blocking sun rays.
To be honest, both options are good to use. As long as they offer broad-spectrum sun protection! But when you’re dealing with skin conditions like melasma and hyperpigmentation, you have to go with mineral sunscreens.
Both zinc oxide and titanium oxide are included here. On top of that, there are plenty of Australian botanicals like red algae, eucalyptus, and Kakadu plum. These provide your skin with antioxidants for protecting it against free radicals and premature aging.
Since it’s a fragrance-free sunscreen, you can apply it on sensitive skin. And the broad-spectrum UVB/UVA protection is water-resistant. So it doesn’t come as a big surprise to know that the brand has also taken to not adding oxybenzone, parabens, petrolatum, SLS, and the like.
7. Revision Intellishade SPF 45 Original Sunscreen
The current option is an award-winning tinted, anti-aging sunscreen. It comes in the form of a moisturizer that makes your skin look healthy and sheer. The formulation consists of broad-spectrum UVB and UVA protection (SPF 45). Along with peptides!
The Revision Intellishade Original Sunscreen works into deeper layers to minimize the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines. Expecting results like a brighter, smoother, and more balanced complexion is also a huge part of the experience.
This sunscreen does an excellent job of blending naturally with your skin color. And what it also does is fight photodamage that often gives rise to premature aging. Not many sunscreens for melasma and hyperpigmentation offer so many skin benefits at once.
8. TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen
We’re not even halfway through the reviews and this is the second TIZO creation. The TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen is lightly tinted and mineral-based. The texture is incredibly lightweight and velvety. And it delivers a smooth matte finish.
Let me first bring to your attention that TIZO never uses chemical filters for their sunscreens. No fragrances, preservatives, dyes, and oils either. So what does this physical sunscreen contain? It’s got zinc oxide and titanium oxide as the active ingredients for blocking all the UV light.
The best part is that the sunscreen formula is plenty lightweight and smooth for everyday use. Even if your skin type is the most sensitive!
9. Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen
How is the Cotz SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen different from the others? No other sunscreen on this list has the capacity to prevent the build-up of dermal heat. At least not as much as the current formula. So you can expect the sunscreen to prevent collagen damage. And this is nothing but great news if you have melasma and hyperpigmentation.
You’re looking at a physical sunscreen that you can layer below your makeup. It feels just like the best primer you’ve ever used.
But the most tempting quality is the sunscreen’s ability to prevent spots, wrinkles, and aging-related signs. In fact, it also prevents your skin from losing elasticity.
On top of that, the texture is non-greasy. It blends into the skin very naturally, leaving a translucent sheer matte finish. And the fact that the sunscreen is fragrance-free and oil-free makes it suitable for both sensitive skin and oily or acne-prone skin.
What about the SPF rating of this formula? Broad-spectrum SPF 40 blocks both UVB and UVA rays. It’s a water-resistant sunscreen. And the thing doesn’t even sting your eyes!
10. Coola Mineral Face Matte Moisturizer
Each and every bit of this mineral sunscreen is extraordinary. First and foremost, it’s the inclusion of rosehip seed oil, plankton extract, and shea butter. Then it’s the power of the moisturizer to fight aging-related signs often caused by sunlight. It’s one of the very few sunscreen formulas equipped with so many antioxidants.
The sun protection consists of broad-spectrum SPF 30. It’s a lightly tinted, water-resistant sunscreen with zero nano-size particles. Moreover, it gives your skin a natural BB finish.
Now let’s talk about the ingredients. The rosehip seed oil has Vitamin C to support skin elasticity. The essential fatty acids of rosehip seed oil calm sensitive skin and restore moisture. As for plankton extract, it removes impurities, blemishes, and imperfections. And lastly, shea butter is a very common skincare ingredient for moisturizing and softening the skin.
This Coola facial sunscreen is an ideal choice for oily, dry, acne-prone, sensitive, and combination skin. So feel free to apply it on your neck and face without any worries.
11. MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
You know this one is designed for acne-prone skin just by reading the words “non-comedogenic” on the label. The Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum Sunscreen by MDSolarSciences doesn’t clog your pores. It’s the clogging that causes breakouts. So those concerns have been completely eliminated.
Moving on, the formula contains broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection. So the skin-damaging UVB and UVA rays lose their power to aggravate your melasma and hyperpigmentation.
To top it off, the sunscreen is lightweight for providing a matte, non-greasy finish. Along with protection, of course! And you know what, this mineral-based sunscreen is not only non-comedogenic but also hypoallergenic. So the sensitive skin types can also benefit in this case.
Speaking of benefits, this sunscreen consists of green tea antioxidants as well. More antioxidants come from pomegranate and cranberry fruit. Then there’s Vitamin C too for preventing sun damage, healing skin, balancing out skin complexion, and more.
To be honest, the list goes on and on. So there’s no denying that this sunscreen works wonders in the case of melasma and hyperpigmentation.
12. Badger Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
Let me put it out there that the Badger Tinted Mineral Sunscreen is an organic version. It’s made using only organic ingredients like Vitamin E, beeswax, seabuckthorn, and sunflower oil. These get to work for providing sun protection and soothing hydration throughout the day.
Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean broad-spectrum sun protection is not included. The mineral-based formula keeps your skin safe from both UVB and UVA rays. Uncoated, non-nano mineral zinc oxide is the active ingredient. The tint of the sunscreen blends quite naturally with most types of skin tones.
It’s a sweat-resistant and water-resistant formulation that you can apply before heading out for biking, swimming, hiking, etc.
Moreover, the product is planet-friendly. It’s cruelty-free and biodegradable. The tube itself is made of recyclable plastic. So this option is the most appealing to environment-friendly consumers.
13. Thinkbaby Safe SPF 50+ Sunscreen
This sunscreen falls in the category of “vegan.” The Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen formula contains zero harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, parabens, and chemical filters. So there’s no chance your melasma and hyperpigmentation is going to get worse.
It’s a very effective sunscreen packed with SPF 50+. Even the level of water resistance is the highest, which is 80 minutes.
Apart from the broad-spectrum quality, the formula’s easy absorption and oil-free, non-greasy texture are the key takeaway points.
The mineral-based sunscreen, even though it contains zinc oxide, doesn’t make your skin look white after application. And this is very useful for those who wear makeup over sunscreen on a daily basis.
14. Coppertone Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray
The first of its kind, this is a sunscreen spray by Coppertone. The formula leaves a very breathable, light feeling on the skin. It’s got SPF 50 broad-spectrum capacities. The sunscreen blocks as much as 98% of UV rays. Now that’s what’s required in the case of melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin E is added for providing your skin with a fresh batch of antioxidants. This boosts your skin’s defense against potential aggressors.
Such sunscreen sprays are perfect for families that go camping, hiking, and the like. So instead of everybody carrying their own sun protection, you can get this multipack.
15. Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 Sunscreen
How about getting a moisturizing sunscreen lotion for your face and body? If that’s what you’re after, then here’s the ultimate solution. Allow me to present to you the original sunscreen by Supergoop!
What it does is defend your skin against not only UVA/UVB rays but also against dehydration and photo aging. The formula is water-resistant, kid-friendly, and non-comedogenic. You can use it on a daily basis on your face and body.
The lightweight, fast-absorbing texture is easy for daily application. Even though lightweight and quick-absorbing, the sunscreen contains ultra-moisturizing properties. And that’s because clean ingredients like rosemary leaf and sunflower extracts are used. Both soothe and protect the skin in the gentlest, most effective manner.
Every Supergoop! creation blends into the skin seamlessly to nourish it from deep within. So there’s no reason why the current SPF 50 sunscreen is any different. In fact, the formulation also contains rice bran extract. This works at delivering soothing protection to skin often damaged by UV.
16. Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream
No doubt, this is the most hydrating solution for melasma and hyperpigmentation. The sunscreen is feather-light if you ask me. And you can use it on your face and body.
The UV protection performs the job of blocking UVA and UVB rays. These often give rise to photo aging. That is premature aging caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
But let me tell you that you should consider buying this sunscreen only to make the most its exceptional hydration. It’s just what your melasma and hyperpigmentation demand when exposed to the environment.
17. Badger Lavender Sunscreen
The first Badger sunscreen I reviewed was tinted and mineral-based. As for this one, it’s a mineral-based formula with zinc oxide. But there’s no mention of the word “tinted” in here.
The lavender content is what makes the sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin. This is naturally-scented, organic lavender. And when the fragrance is not artificial, you don’t have to worry about triggering sensitivities or allergies.
Moving on, the sunscreen is sweat-resistant and water-resistant. It’s got Vitamin E, beeswax, and sunflower oil. Along with seabuckthorn, sunflower oil provides your skin with all the antioxidants and vitamins for complete protection. As for Vitamin E, this particular ingredient improves skin health and skin cell function. It also reduces UV damage.
Then there’s beeswax that contains a load of Vitamin A, which is very popular for supporting cell reconstruction. Beeswax also forms a protective barrier between the environment and your skin. And it does so without clogging any pores!
Furthermore, the plastic tube is recyclable. And the product biodegradable. To be honest, if you’re a nature-friendly consumer, then you might find the Badger Lavender Sunscreen perfect to your liking.
18. CeraVe SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick
To be honest, I’ve reviewed many skincare products over quite a few years. And when you’re so used to shortlisting products for so many different skin concerns, you know which brands come up the most. And CeraVe is one of them.
The CeraVe Sunscreen Stick is equipped with SPF 50 broad-spectrum protection. It’s a physical sunscreen to protect your skin and keep your melasma and hyperpigmentation from getting aggravated.
The special formulation consists of essential ceramides that restore as well as maintain the natural protection barrier of your skin. Another unique characteristic here comes in the form of invisible zinc. The microfine active ingredient, zinc oxide, spreads easily for better results.
It’s a water-resistant sunscreen ideal for all types of skin. Plus, it’s oil-free and lightweight too. So the lightweight texture leaves your skin with a clear, smooth finish.
19. BurnOut SPF 30 for Face & Body
What I like the most about this BurnOut SPF 30 Sunscreen is that it’s got a higher zinc oxide concentration. And despite that, the formula doesn’t leave the skin looking greasy or super-white. The fact that it contains zinc oxide is proof that the sunscreen features physical filters, and not chemical.
Broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection is guaranteed. The lightweight consistency makes it suitable for daily use. Even below your makeup! The matte finish it leaves on your skin is what’s going to make this your favorite sunscreen.In my opinion, it’s a very effective anti-aging formula too. So you can hit two birds with one stone here. The first is sun protection while the second is preventing the formation of aging-related spots.
20. Replenix Ultimatte Perfection Tinted Sunscreen
So now it’s time to get acquainted with the best tinted sunscreen for melasma and hyperpigmentation. The reason why this is the best sunscreen for hyperpigmentation is that more than just broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection is included. You also get gentle hydration, aging-fighting antioxidants, and oil-control.
The word “perfection” has been used because zinc oxide along with only pharmaceutical-grade ingredients are used. It’s the perfect solution to anti-photoaging. Meaning no early signs of aging because of exposure to the sun.
Then there’s Universal Pigment Technology for minimizing the appearance of spots and balancing out your skin tone. You can apply this formula as is or under your daily makeup.
Let me also bring to your attention that phospholipids and ceramides are added to the special formulation. And what they do is deliver gentle hydration. No matter your skin type!
To be honest, no other sunscreen is so well-equipped to treat skin conditions like melasma and hyperpigmentation.
21. EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Facial Sunscreen
I know why this Tinted Facial Sunscreen by EltaMD is different. Now let me tell you why since you have no idea. The formula contains moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid. It’s the first sunscreen on the list to have this ingredient. When it comes to preventing the formation of fine lines and even dark spots and discoloration, hyaluronic acid is the go-to solution.
The ingredient increases your skin’s natural moisture levels for better protection. Plus, it’s a tinted sunscreen formula that blocks UVB and UVA rays. As for the active ingredient that does all the blocking, zinc oxide is the primary force.
You can glide on the sunscreen quite easily. It gets absorbed into your skin very quickly to combat free radicals often associated with both infrared and ultraviolet radiation.
Needless to say, the product is highly recommended by many dermatologists across the world. But I would advice you to buy it only for the moisture-retention capacities brought forth by hyaluronic acid. Something that both excessively dry and oily skin demands!
22. Neutrogena Beach Defense Body Spray Sunscreen
Every skincare list is incomplete without a Neutrogena product. But, in this case, it’s the Neutrogena Body Spray Sunscreen. And not the traditional type of sunscreen cream or lotion. So does that mean the effectiveness of this formula is inferior in any way? Certainly not!
Your skin gets to stay protected with as much as SPF 50+ broad-spectrum protection. Along with the brand’s exclusive Helioplex technology that acts as a very powerful defense against UVB and UVA rays.
It’s a water-resistant spray that you can apply on your body. Even those hard-to-reach places now get to make the most of a formula like this.
Is it convenient to apply? Of course, it is! After all, the product comes in the form of a spray. How about the absorption capacity? Well, the sunscreen gets absorbed pretty quickly. Thanks to the lightweight texture.
On top of that, Neutrogena has used no parabens and oils. The sunscreen makes sure UVB rays don’t give rise to sunburns. And that the UVA rays cause no premature aging. Now you understand why it’s so perfect for melasma and hyperpigmentation!
23. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion
The previous Neutrogena pick comes in the form of a spray. But not everybody would like to use that. So if you wish to get a more traditional type of sunscreen lotion, then here it is. The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen is a must-have for skin that feels damaged and unhealthy.
You get SPF 40, and that too broad-spectrum sun protection. The product name includes the words “Dry-Touch” and what that means is that the formula is non-greasy. After each application, it leaves your skin with a smooth, matte finish.
Much like every other Neutrogena sunscreen, even the previous one, it features Helioplex to maximize sun protection.
Moreover, the dry-touch formulation is non-comedogenic as well. The perfect option for acne-prone and oily skin! However, the product works well on all types of skin. The manufacturer is Neutrogena after all.
24. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
Does it feel like a relief when I say that this mineral-based sunscreen is designed by dermatologists? If yes, then how about you take it into some serious consideration? The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen has no hormone disruptors like oxybenzone to aggravate your melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Instead, this formula for sensitive skin contains mineral active ingredients like zinc oxide. This blocks UV light, no doubt. Speaking of which, SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sun protection is included.
Water resistance keeps your skin protected for longer. And that helps when you simply can’t risk skin damage caused by sun exposure.
That’s the thing about melasma and hyperpigmentation. Even a little bit of over-exposure or unprotected exposure to UV light, and the condition gets worse. So you have to incorporate sunscreens like these into your daily skincare routine.
25. Banana Boat Simply Protect Sport Sunscreen Spray
The brand name, Banana Boat is often synonymous with sunscreens. So it’s no surprise that their sunscreen spray is a part of this list. It’s a reef-safe formula made without the use of any amount of octinoxate and oxybenzone. Along with no fragrances, oils, and parabens.
Needless to say, protection against both UVB and UVA rays is granted. As for the SPF rating, it’s 50+. There are no worries regarding the application. The sunscreen goes on easily and evenly. At the same time, it doesn’t feel greasy or leave a whitish tint on your face and body.
Since it’s Banana Boat, there has to be a distinctive quality. Like the sunscreen can withstand conditions such as sweat, pool water, sun, sand, ocean water, wind, and even extreme heat.
So, even though fewer ingredients are used (meaning no parabens, fragrances, oxybenzone, oils, etc.), the sunscreen delivers maximum UVB/UVA protection.
What Impact Do Sunrays Have on Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
I’m sure you already know that skin conditions like hyperpigmentation and melasma are caused due to many reasons. When it’s not over-exposure or unprotected exposure to the harmful rays of the sun, it can be hormonal imbalance. Or maybe it’s your skin’s reaction to some medication you’re on.
Whatever the cause, there’s no denying that sunrays just make matters worse. And by sunrays, I mean both UVB and UVA rays. They trigger skin pigmentation. What sunrays do is increase the production of melanocytes, which give rise to the formation of pigment. And that makes your melasma and hyperpigmentation worse.
Let me also tell you that using cosmetic products or medicine might reduce the dark spots and discoloration. But these signs don’t take time to come back if you expose your skin to even a little bit of sunlight without applying proper sunscreen.
The best approach here is prevention. And the most effective way to do so is less sun exposure and more sunscreen.
How Does Sunscreen Prevent Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
Sunscreens block the harmful UV rays of the sun from penetrating and interacting with the skin. And here’s how that happens.
Some sunscreens contain physical filters like zinc oxide. This particular ingredient is the blocker that keeps the UV light from penetrating your skin.
The other option is sunscreens with chemical filters like octocrylene. What this does is react with the UV light to dampen its energy.
Just by the way, both are good to use for melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Choosing Sunscreens for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation
It’s crucial that you pick a sunscreen formula that works toward reducing the dark spots and skin discoloration in a gentle and safe manner. So here are the most important things you should keep in mind…
Go for Physical Sunblocks
Sunscreens with physical sunblocks are perfect for skin conditions like melasma and hyperpigmentation. More often than not, chemicals sunblocks are used. So you have to make a conscious effort to stay away from them. And you can do so by going through all the stuff printed on the bottle. Look for the words “physical sunscreen.”
The thing about physical sunblocks is that they contain more zinc oxide. And zinc oxide is the most effective when it comes to protecting your hyperpigmentation and melasma from the harmful rays of the sun.
Give Importance to Zinc Oxide
Like I already told you, zinc oxide is found in physical sunscreens. A higher concentration builds the best defense against UV rays. And by higher, I mean anything above 5-percent is great.
Oxybenzone is often associated with the words “hormone disruptor.” Melasma is a skin condition triggered by hormonal imbalance as it is. So you should avoid sunscreens equipped with this active ingredient that’s just going to make matters worse.
Look for Invisibility
Many women apply sunscreen below the makeup. In that case, you might want to pick a formula that doesn’t look too white on your skin. This means you should check if “invisible zinc” is used.
“Broad-Spectrum” Sun Protection for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation
The UV rays of the sun consists of UVB and UVA exposure. The latter increases the production of melanoma and photodermatitis. Simply by changing your skin cell’s DNA. But UVA rays don’t give rise to any redness or pain often accompanied by sunburns. Over-exposure to UVB radiation does.
The whole range of UVB and UVA rays of the sunlight stimulates skin pigment production. And this is proven to worsen conditions like melasma and hyperpigmentation. So, at such times, your skin deserves a sunscreen labeled “broad-spectrum.”
Only broad-spectrum sun protection has the ability to block or dampen both UVA and UVB rays. Just keep one thing in mind. The more protection your sunscreen provides, the lesser the chances of your dark spots and discoloration getting worse.
What is the Best SPF Level for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?
Every sunscreen formula’s Sun Protection Factor is the most important aspect. It determines how effective the lotion or cream is going to be. However, not many people understand how SPF works. It’s not necessary that a higher SPF rating is always better.
SPF equals to the amount of time your skin remains protected against sunburns caused by the UV light. Needless to say, every skin reacts to the sun differently. Meaning my skin takes around 10-15 minutes to develop natural sunburns. So an SPF level that prevents burning for 150 minutes, which is 15x longer, is perfect.
As for those with extremely photosensitive skin that burns in only 5 minutes, the same SPF delays the burning for just 75 minutes.
So now you understand why a higher SPF rating doesn’t protect your skin for longer hours. However, let me bring to your attention that the majority of sunscreens lasts for only two hours. And this timespan reduces when sweat and water invade your skin.
No wonder re-applying sunscreen is so important. Along with avoiding too much sun exposure and wearing protective clothing!
I would also like to discuss that SPF concerns just UVB radiation. And that’s because it’s UVB, and not UVA, that causes sunburns. Also, does a sunscreen with SPF 30 offer twice the amount of protection as one with SPF 15? No, not really. Let me explain with the help of a table below.
As you can see, there’s not much difference in the UVB protection between the ranges of SPF 30 and SPF 100. This explains why the FDA is capping SPF levels at 50+. It’s the only way they can stop manufacturers from falsely marketing their SPF 100 sunscreens in order to trick us into believing that the higher protection is actually 3x better. When, in fact, SPF 100 offers only 2% higher protection against UVB.
As for sunscreens to apply for melasma and hyperpigmentation, most dermatologists recommend using SPF 30 or more. And if you’re extremely photosensitive, then you can go for SPF 50 or SPF 100. But that’s just for 1% or 2% higher UVB protection.
Physical Sunscreens vs. Chemical Sunscreens
First, let me talk about physical sunscreens. They contain active ingredients that reflect sunlight. Physical sunscreens are the most recommended for skin conditions like hyperpigmentation and melasma. And that’s because they have the power to block more UV radiation and visible light from reaching your skin.
It’s not just UV radiation that stimulates pigment production. Even visible light does the same.
Most physical sunscreens are labeled as such. But for those that aren’t, look for active ingredients such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
As for chemical sunscreens, the deal is very simple. These are packed with active ingredients that absorb UV light before these damaging rays reach your skin. They haven’t proved to be as effective as physical sunscreens when dealing with common concerns like melasma and hyperpigmentation.
What about Zinc Oxide vs. Titanium Oxide in Physical Sunscreens?
One is obviously better than the other. So the better option for melasma and hyperpigmentation is zinc oxide.
The thing about zinc oxide is that it delivers greater UVA protection. But that doesn’t mean titanium oxide is a useless active ingredient. It’s just that one is better than the other.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q. How often to re-apply sunscreen?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. For example, do you plan on working out or going swimming? If yes, then re-application is necessary more frequently. Than just sitting at home!
As for stepping out in the sun, you should re-apply your sunscreen every 2 hours.
How about those dealing with melasma and hyperpigmentation? You can re-apply the sunscreen as frequently as you can. You have to make sure no sun damage is caused at any point of the day. No matter what you’re doing! Otherwise, your skin is highly likely to develop more discoloration and dark patches.
Q. Should you avoid UVB and UVA exposure when you have melasma and hyperpigmentation?
To be practical, you can avoid these simply by using the best sunscreens for melasma & hyperpigmentation. The formulas are “broad-spectrum.” Meaning they have the capacity to safeguard your skin against both the UVB and UVA rays of the sun.
Q. Do sunscreens work when having birth control pills?
What does birth control have to do with sunburns and sunscreen? Well, birth control medication manages your hormonal levels. So, needless to say, it gives rise to skin reactions in some cases. These reactions include blotchy spots in the form of skin patches as a result of unprotected sun exposure.
So if you’re on birth control and are noticing dark spots, then it’s important to use a sunscreen specifically created for treating skin conditions like melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Q. Apart from sunscreen, what else lightens melasma and hyperpigmentation?
Ingredients like retinol and alpha hydroxy acids also work toward reducing the signs and spots often associated with melasma and hyperpigmentation.
I’m not a dermatologist but I do know that many of them recommend chemical peels and laser treatments. These are very useful when it comes to minimizing the visibility of dark patches on the skin.
However, they are treatments to reduce the spots and discoloration. What you need are products to prevent the problem itself from developing on your skin. Such as applying sunscreen so that your skin doesn’t react or even interact with the damaging rays of the skin.
To be honest, it gets said enough that using the right sunscreen helps fading dark patches and preventing your melasma and hyperpigmentation from getting worse. Keeping the condition under control is the best thing you can do as a form of treatment.
Skin condition or not, sunscreen should be a part of every skin care routine. And it’s better if the formula is broad-spectrum and SPF-equipped like the 25 sunscreens I’ve reviewed in this post.