Before we begin, we would like to state that struggling with different skin concerns is a completely normal thing to do. If you have skin concerns, then you should try not to worry too much as there are steps that you can take to resolve them. People regularly struggle with different skin tones on their face and body, hairs in places where they do not want hairs to be and an array of different things.
Today we are going to be looking at melasma. Melasma is a condition that results in darker patches of skin forming. These can usually be found on the face and they tend to be in areas like the nose, forehead and upper cheeks. This sort of discolouration can be detrimental to a person’s mental health because it can affect the way that they feel about their own appearance.
If you suffer from melasma, then you will probably already know that you should be wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. This is because sunscreen can prevent the condition from worsening. Naturally, this means that you need to make sure that you are using a really good sunscreen, which is why we have picked out several to help you find the best sunscreen for melasma and hyperpigmentation.
The Best Sunscreen Reviews
1.La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 (Tinted)
This La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen is an amazing option for people who know that they have sensitive skin because it has been designed with different skin conditions in mind. It is a broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen that also contains several types of antioxidants. When used by people who have melasma, it can prevent more dark patches of hyperpigmentation from forming on the face. Without sunscreen, they would.
We would advise that you apply this sunscreen at least half an hour before you are exposed to the sun. You should then try to reapply it every two hours. If you are planning on going swimming, then you should plan accordingly and reapply it more often. The manufacturer states that it offers water resistance for up to 80 minutes.
What We Love:
A lot of the beauty tips that can be found across the internet advise that you put your skin care before anything else. You could easily do this by incorporating your sunscreen into your daily routine, something that is made even easier when you choose to use a tinted sunscreen. Just try to be careful and make sure that you take your own skin tone into account when you are choosing one, as some simply won’t be suitable for certain skin tones.
This is a pretty unique tinted sunscreen because it is a physical one and not a chemical one. This means that it sits on top of the skin once it has been applied. The formula contains zinc oxide, which is an ingredient that every melasma sufferer should look for because it can scatter, absorb and reflect UVA and UVB rays. We would also like to note that this sunscreen does not leave a horrible white cast!
2.Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 45
When you suffer from a condition like melasma, you need to make sure that you are choosing a sunscreen that can really protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. This Neutrogena Water Resistant Sunscreen is an important product to consider because it has been brought to us by a brand that is also a household name and it contains Helioplex, which is a formulation of broad-spectrum ultraviolet skin protection (UVA and UVB).
We would like to note that this sunscreen is lightweight when applied and it has a beautiful matte finish. This means that your skin won’t look or feel greasy after you have applied it. We believe that you should try to apply this sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you are due to be exposed to the sun. You should also reapply it every two hours or more frequently if you are planning on going swimming or participating in any water sports.
What We Love:
We love the fact that most of the Neutrogena sunscreen products that are readily available on the market have been specially formulated to decrease the risk of skin cancer. Remember that this will only happen if you use your sunscreen as directed. If you do not reapply it frequently enough, then you will not see as many benefits. This sunscreen comes in both a spray and a stick form and it only leaves a slight white cast when you apply too much.
3.EltaMD UV Tinted Facial Sunscreen SPF 46
If you suffer from hyperpigmentation and you are currently looking for a product that has been recommended by plenty of dermatologists, then you should take a look at this EltaMD UV Tinted Facial Sunscreen. It consists of an oil-free formula that has been specifically put together to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays that could otherwise damage it.
Try to make sure that you follow all of the directions that come with this sunscreen if you would like to use it to prevent more dark patches from forming. Dark patches will frequently form if you do not protect your skin. We would like to mention the fact that this sunscreen is also actively recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation because it is an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen.
It is also worth noticing that this sunscreen contains a lot of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is one of the most important ingredients to look for if you suffer from melasma. This is because zinc oxide can actually sit on the surface of the skin and scatter, reflect and absorb some of the UV rays that hit your skin. Whereas, certain chemical ingredients would simply degrade.
What We Love:
This sunscreen has been designed with troublesome skin in mind. It contains ingredients that can calm the skin and prevent things from happening, including breakouts, rosacea and discolouration. Naturally, this makes it a brilliant option for melasma sufferers.
When applied, this sunscreen feels like it doesn’t exist. It does not contain any fragrances, oils or parabens. It is tinted and the colour that is present tends to blend in well with most skin tones, but it might not be suitable for people who are really pale or people who have really dark skin tones.
4.La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 (Non-Tinted)
This is the non-tinted version of the product that can be found first in this list of melasma prevention sunscreens. If you are currently looking for a non-tinted sunscreen, then this one could be a really good option for you. Naturally, using a sunscreen like this one can help to decrease and prevent further hyperpigmentation and melasma on the face. It can also help to decrease the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
If you do decide to go with this sunscreen and you are looking to manage the effects of hyperpigmentation, then you should also make sure that you follow the recommended application instructions. We would advise that you apply this sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you know that you are going to be exposed to the sun. You should then reapply it every two hours (or more frequently if you know that you are going to be in the water).
What We Love:
We love the fact that this sunscreen combines both UVA and UVB filters with unique antioxidants that can help to protect the skin from free radicals. It contains both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, then these are two ingredients that you should definitely be looking for when you go to choose a sunscreen.
We have found that this La Roche-Posay Sunscreen feels quite light on the skin. It doesn’t seem to be oily like a lot of sunscreens are and it doesn’t leave your skin with a horrible residue after it has been applied. This makes it a great option for people who have sensitive skin and people who are prone to breakouts.
5.Obagi Sun Shield Sunscreen SPF 50
If you are looking for a tinted sunscreen, then you should stick around and read this section. This Obagi Sun Shield Sunscreen SPF 50 is a slightly tinted product that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It is advertised as being hypoallergenic, but we would always advise that you check the ingredients and make sure that nothing is present that you already know will irritate your skin.
This sunscreen contains both zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Try to remember that people who suffer from melasma should always be on the lookout for zinc oxide when they are trying to choose a sunscreen. This formula also contains some chemical sunscreen ingredients. This means that it is both a chemical and a physical sunscreen, making it a unique option for people who have hyperpigmentation.
See our FAQ below if you would like to learn more about physical and chemical sunscreens.
What We Love:
You probably already know that it can be quite difficult to purchase a tinted sunscreen because some of them can make you look quite poorly. This sunscreen is different because it is actually available in both cool and warm skin tone shades. This means that you can match it to your own skin.
If you do decide to go with this sunscreen, then we would advise that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply 2 tablespoons of sunscreen all over your body at least thirty minutes before you are due to be exposed to the sun. You should then reapply it every two hours.
If you need more coverage to cover your hyperpigmentation that is already present, then you can achieve that with this sunscreen because it is buildable. This makes it a good option for people who have sensitive skin because the slight tint adds just enough colour to cover hyperpigmentation, without making it look like you are wearing layers of concealer and foundation.
6.Obagi Sun Shield Matte Sunscreen SPF 50
We love how flawless matte finish sunscreens can make your skin look on a daily basis, especially when you have skin conditions. This Obagi Sun Shield Matte Sunscreen contains a high amount of zinc oxide and is free of fragrances and parabens, making it suitable for most skin types. It is also a pretty good option for people who suffer from melasma.
This sunscreen is a good option because it successfully combines both UVA and UVB protection, giving you across the board protection from both, opposed to enabling you to target just one. As a combination sunscreen (physical and chemical), this product allows you to attain the benefits that come with ingredients that can usually only be found in one or the other.
We would also like to mention that this sunscreen is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and it is a great option for people who are looking for sunscreens for sensitive skin. This sunscreen is not water resistant so you should look for a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen that is water resistant if you are planning on going swimming.
What We Love:
We love the fact that this Obagi sunscreen is available in several different forms. If you don’t really like the look of a matte finish sunscreen, then you don’t have to worry. It is also available in a warm tint form, a cool tint form and as a mineral sunscreen. Naturally, this is something that gives you the opportunity to tailor your sunscreen to meet your needs.
Try to remember that these sunscreens exist to minimise the onset of more patches of hyperpigmentation, but they cannot get rid of the hyperpigmentation that you have. They do allow you to deal with the hyperpigmentation that you have in other ways without more hyperpigmentation occurring.
7.Zealios Water Resistant Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 45
If you are someone who suffers from melasma or patches of hyperpigmentation and you are planning on spending some time in the water under the sun, then you will have to plan ahead. We would advise that you spend some time looking for a water resistant formula that has been proven to work.
This Zealios Sunscreen offers users a high level of water resistance and a high UV shield SPF that you will need when you are in the water. It has actually been approved by the FDA as a water resistant form of UV protection for swimming, boating and sports. This means that it has been proven to work in a clinical setting – leaving you with nothing to worry about.
What We Love:
Remember that you have to make sure that you look for zinc oxide on the ingredients list when you suffer from things like hyperpigmentation and melasma. This sunscreen has a relatively thick zinc oxide base, meaning that it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays while you are under the sun.
We like the way that this formula feels and the way that it looks once it has been applied or reapplied. It is incredibly unlikely to leave a white cast unless you apply too much and it doesn’t leave the skin feeling oily, tacky or like it has been left covered in a residue. We have also noticed that it dries quickly and it won’t run into your eyes and make them sting while you are waiting for it to dry!
8.Fallene Cotz Plus Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 58
This Fallene Cotz Plus Water Resistant Sunscreen is a unique formula that definitely deserves your attention because it only contains a few ingredients. These include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and iron oxide. As you probably already know, these are all ingredients that people who suffer from melasma are advised to look for.
There are a lot of dermatologists out there who recommend this sunscreen to people who suffer from sensitive skin. If you are planning on using it to treat melasma, then you will need to be careful and make sure that you follow the application instructions. We would advise that you reapply it every two hours. If you are going to be getting into the water, then you should reapply it every single time you get out.
What We Love:
We love the fact that this sunscreen does not contain any chemical sunscreen filters. Melasma sufferers will probably already know that they should look for physical sunscreens and not chemical sunscreens. If you would like to learn more about this, then you can take a look at our FAQ. This particular sunscreen is mineral-based and free of dyes, parabens and fragrances.
The beige tint that is present in this formula is buildable. You could potentially use it as a replacement in your beauty routine for something like a BB cream. It doesn’t offer as much coverage as a full-coverage foundation would, but it is definitely visible once applied and more than capable of minimising the appearance of hyperpigmentation and melasma.
9.MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid Tint Sunscreen SPF 50
This MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid Tint Sunscreen is a sheer tinted sunscreen that feels relatively lightweight on the skin once it has been applied. It is free of oils, making it suitable for people who suffer from sensitive skin. It is also mineral-based, meaning that it could potentially offer you a good level of physical protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
If you are looking to prevent further hyperpigmentation from occurring, then you should apply this sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside. You should then reapply it whenever you get wet or every two hours if you are not going to be getting wet.
What We Love:
This sunscreen is a fantastic option for people who really care about the environment. We all know that sunscreens negatively impact aquatic life and a lot of studies have suggested that. This sunscreen does not contain any marine-toxic chemicals, making it reef safe. It is also vegan and biodegradable.
The tint that is present in this formula blends in quite well with most skin tones. It could be worn alone (like you would wear a BB cream), or as a protective primer underneath your make-up. If you are going to be going for a full-coverage look, then we would recommend that you use this and then a primer and then your actual foundation/concealer.
It is worth noting that this sunscreen is only available in two shades. The “nude” shade is suitable for people who have light to medium skin tones and the “natural tan” shade is suitable for people who have medium to dark skin tones. Naturally, this means that people who have really pale skin or really dark skin might find that they struggle to get this sunscreen to look natural.
10.Olay Complete Daily Defence Moisturiser with Sunscreen SPF 30
We understand that sunscreen isn’t for everyone and there are people out there who would simply forget to apply their sunscreen every day, which is why we think that having a moisturiser with sunscreen could also be a good option. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation and dry skin, then you could potentially kill two birds with one stone.
This Olay Complete Daily Defence Moisturiser with Sunscreen can be used to gently condition the surface of the skin. We have found that it does not run into your eyes and make them sting while it is absorbed, which is something that a lot of people hate about using moisturisers that contain sunscreen.
If you are going to be going somewhere sunny, or you know that you are going to be spending time in the water, then you really should try to purchase a separate sunscreen and moisturiser. This is because you cannot reapply this product in the same way that you can reapply most sunscreens.
What We Love:
We love the fact that this moisturiser can still offer you a lot of protection. It helps to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays, but it is not as effective as some of the sunscreens that can be found in our reviews.
We have found that this moisturiser is unlikely to cause breakouts because it is oil-free and fragrance-free. We would always advise that you check that you have not had any negative reactions to any of the active ingredients that are present in the past before you use a moisturiser like this one. If you have, then you should try a different product.
11.MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50
This sunscreen is unique because it has been derived from natural sources, making it a pretty safe option when it comes to UVA and UVB protection. It could potentially be used to reduce the risk of premature aging and skin cancer. If you currently suffer from melasma, then you should try to apply this sunscreen liberally.
We would advise that you apply this sunscreen at least half an hour before you are due to be exposed to the sun. You should then reapply it every two hours or every time you have been exposed to water. It is worth noting that it looks a little bit white cast when it is first applied, but it gets more translucent as it dries.
What We Love:
This MDSolarSciences Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is pretty unique because you can barely feel it on your skin when it has been applied. Yet, it could potentially be used to offer you a high level of protection on a daily basis. It has a gorgeous matte finish and it blends quickly, without leaving you with any white patches.
We like the fact that this sunscreen also contains antioxidants. These include Vitamin C, green tea, cranberry fruit and pomegranate extracts. We would always advise that you check the ingredients and make sure that your skin does not react negatively to any of them as everyone’s skin is different.
12.Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+
This Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is a unique Australian product. It has been specifically designed and formulated to handle the sunny weather and unpredictable weather that can be found across the whole of Australia. It is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. If you are going to be in the water, then we would recommend that you get out and reapply it every hour to be on the safe side.
This physical sunscreen is a great option for people who suffer from melasma and people from all over the world recommend it. Dermatologists who are based in Australia have actually been recommending it for more than two decades.
What We Love:
We love the fact that this sunscreen formula contains approximately 6% zinc oxide. Remember that zinc oxide will help by scattering, reflecting and absorbing some of the UVA and UVB rays that would otherwise cause more hyperpigmentation. It also contains titanium dioxide. This means that this Blue Lizard Sunscreen has two ingredients that are really important when it comes to protecting your skin against sun damage.
What should you look for when buying sunscreen for melasma and hyperpigmentation?
As we have already mentioned in our reviews, there are several things that melasma sufferers should think about and be aware of when they are buying a sunscreen to help with their condition. For example, people who suffer from melasma really should wear sunscreen on a daily basis. This will help by preventing the melasma from getting worse and minimising the undesirable effects of the condition. Here are some of the other factors that you need to take into consideration:
1. Physical Sunscreen
It is safe to say that a physical sunscreen is a better option than a chemical sunscreen for people who suffer from hyperpigmentation. This is because physical sunscreens are much more proactive when it comes to protecting the skin and preventing it from soaking up the excess UVA and UVB rays.
Whenever you are looking for a sunscreen, you should try to make sure that you choose one that covers a broad-spectrum. This simply means that it will be capable of blocking both UVA and UVB rays. This is important because both types of ultraviolet rays damage our skin in different ways and they both contribute to the pigmentation issues that can be seen in melasma.
You should always check the list of ingredients when you are purchasing a cosmetic product. Try to make sure that you choose one that does not contain any ingredients that you have had an adverse reaction to in the past. The last thing you want is to experience an allergic reaction or something similar.
If you have melasma or hyperpigmentation, then you should also make sure that you look for a sunscreen that contains a high concentration of zinc oxide. This is because zinc oxide helps by scattering, absorbing and reflecting some of the broad-spectrum rays that will hit your skin. This means that it plays an important role in preventing hyperpigmentation.
We would always advise that you go with a high SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen that offers you a good amount of UV protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you are going to be going swimming, then you will also need to make sure that the sunscreen that you choose can offer you some level of water resistance.
Unfortunately, a lot of the sunscreens that are readily available contain ingredients that you really shouldn’t put on your skin. This is especially true if you suffer from hyperpigmentation. These ingredients include parabens, synthetic fragrances and alcohol. We would advise that you avoid these at all costs because they could very easily dry your skin out and leave you feeling quite down about your dry patches.
Whether or not you go for a tinted sunscreen is something that is down to personal choice. You can decide what you want to do in this field. It is worth noting that some non-tinted sunscreens will leave you with a white cast on your face when you apply them. A lot of tinted sunscreens blend right into your skin because the pigmentation isn’t too obvious, but if you have really pale skin or really dark skin, then you might struggle to find a tinted sunscreen that works for you.
If your hyperpigmentation is something that really bothers you, then you could potentially use a buildable tinted sunscreen to hide it. Some tinted sunscreens will not do this, but others can be layered on top of each other to cover problem areas in the same way that you would cover your problem areas with a BB cream.
1.What is SPF?
An SPF is something that you will probably see on most of the sunscreens and melasma creams that you look at. It is used to measure the sun protection factor that the sunscreen offers to the user. This is usually just the amount of protection that is offered against UVB rays, while UVA rays are not measured as part of the sun protection factor.
When you go to look for a sunscreen that can be used to treat and manage your hyperpigmentation, you should look for one that offers you quite a high sun protection factor.
2.What is UVA?
UVA stands for Ultraviolet A rays. These are long-wave rays that are produced by the sun and they are not measured as part of the sun protection factor that you can see on most sunscreens. New research constantly shifts the boundaries of what we think Ultraviolet A rays do to our skin.
It is worth noting that we are all exposed to large amounts of Ultraviolet A rays on a daily basis. Approximately 95% of all of the UV radiation that reaches the surface of the Earth consists of Ultraviolet A rays. This makes it up to fifty times more prevalent than Ultraviolet B waves, even though the two are of a relatively equal intensity.
The UV rays that are Ultraviolet A rays are unique because they play a massive role in the ways in which our skin ages. They do this because they penetrate deep into the dermis, or the thickest layer of our skin.
3.What is UVB?
UVB stands for Ultraviolet B waves. These are short-wave rays that are produced by the sun and they are measured as part of the sun protection factor that you can see on most sunscreens. Just like with Ultraviolet A rays, new research is constantly shifting what we think Ultraviolet B rays do to our skin.
We do know that Ultraviolet B waves play a massive role in skin reddening and sunburn because Ultraviolet B waves tend to damage the superficial epidermal layers of our skin. This means that they do not penetrate as deeply as Ultraviolet A waves do. Naturally, this means that Ultraviolet B waves can contribute to the development of skin cancer, tanning and premature aging.
4.Should melasma sufferers avoid UVA or UVB?
As you can probably already tell, people who suffer from melasma should avoid both Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B waves. This can be done by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers protection against both.
5.What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?
If you suffer from melasma, then you should look for a physical sunscreen or a combination sunscreen. Physical sunscreens are generally considered to be a better option for people who suffer from hyperpigmentation because they are more proactive with regards to protecting the skin from soaking up excess sun.
Chemical sunscreens are a little bit different because they are absorbed into the skin. They absorb UVA and UVB rays and convert them into heat before releasing them from the body. Whereas, a physical sunscreen is something that sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. Physical sunscreens are also a better fit for sensitive skin because they are more moisturising and less irritating than chemical sunscreens.
If you are going to be in the water or playing sports, then you also need to make sure that you choose a water resistant formula. This is because you will be either washing your sunscreen off in the water or sweating it off while you exercise. You will also need to make sure that you reapply your sunscreen regularly.
Note: If you have sensitive skin or allergies, then you should make sure that there are no ingredients present that you know that you have reacted badly to in the past. You do not want your melasma sunscreen to give you an allergic reaction.
6.How often should I reapply my sunscreen?
That depends. If you are planning on going swimming or doing some exercise, then you will need to reapply your sunscreen more frequently than you would have to if you were just sitting around the house. You should also reapply your sunscreen regularly if you are sat under the sun. We would advise that you use 1 – 2 hours as your ballpark time frame between applications in this scenario.
For people who suffer from hyperpigmentation and melasma, reapplying sunscreen frequently is really important as you need to make sure that you are preventing sun damage from occurring. If sun damage does occur, then you will end up with more dark patches.
7.Can anything else be used to lighten melasma?
Yes! You could also consider using AHAs and retinol. These have been proven to help, but you need to get used to using them on a daily basis. Things like specific laser treatments and chemical peels can also help, but most people find that their darker patches come back after treatments. This is because neither of those treatments actually tackle the problems that cause the hyperpigmentation in the first place.
8.Does sunscreen work when you are taking birth control?
Birth control is a funny thing when it comes to the world of sunscreen and sunburn. Some people have specific reactions that are linked to the pill. These can lead to blotchy spots appearing on patches of skin that have been exposed to the sun.
A lot of people who experience this believe that they are suffering from melasma. If you are experiencing blotchy patches with your birth control, then it is really important that you take as many different sun protection precautions as you can.
It is safe to say that using the right sunscreen can really help you by fading any dark patches that are already present and preventing any more hyperpigmentation from occurring. This can help you to get your melasma under control. When you look at the skin essentials that are present in your beauty routine/morning routine, sunscreen should definitely be at the top of the list, regardless of whether it is a tinted sunscreen that offers you broad-spectrum SPF protection or not.