Are you looking for the best sunscreen for melasma? Look no further! In this article I’ll review five of the best sunscreens for melasma and talk about what to look for when choosing a sunscreen and how people with melasma can best benefit from certain types of sunscreens.
How Does Melasma Related to Sun Exposure?
First, we need to understand just what melasma is.
Melasma is a skin condition that’s characterized by brown or blue-gray patches on the skin. These patches, which can appear as flat dark spots or as freckle-like spots can affect various areas on your face, such as your cheeks, upper lip, forehead, as well as the forearms.
Often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” it’s estimated that 15-50% of pregnant women may get melasma. Women are also much more likely to get melasma than men, and in some cases this skin condition is believed to be connected to contraceptive use, hormone fluctuations, as well as UV exposure.
Melasma isn’t painful or physically irritating, and it’s not contagious. And fortunately, melasma can go away naturally in some cases, but it often takes months, and part of treating melasma will involve lessening your UV exposure.
Luckily, a good sunscreen can do just that, protecting you from the sun’s harmful UV rays and potentially helping clear up melasma (although always be sure to consult with your doctor, as if hormones or other issue are involved, sunscreen alone may not improve your skin condition).
Since people with lighter skin are more susceptible to sun damage, if you have light or fair skin tone then you’re at increased risk of developing the condition.
What to Look For in a Sunscreen for Melasma?
What makes a sunscreen good for melasma? Well, just like any other skin condition or ailment, you’ll likely want something that can shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, and offers a solid SPF rating. Let’s review what you should look for!
- Broad Spectrum. If you have melasma, it’s best to look for sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection. Broad spectrum basically means that your sunscreen can shield your skin from both harmful UVB and UVA rays. All the sunscreens on this list are broad spectrum!
- Good SPF Rating. Look for sunscreens that offer at least SPF 30. And remember, even if you get a sunscreen with a 50, 70, or even 100 SPF, you’ll still need to reapply sunscreen regularly.
- Gentle Ingredients. Since certain ingredients used in sunscreen may irritate your already sensitive skin, you’ll want a sunscreen with gentle ingredients that won’t exacerbate your skin issues. Look for sunscreens with no fragrances, dyes, or PABAs.
- Physical vs Chemical Sunscreen. There are two different kinds of sunscreens- physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients work by sitting on top of the skin to block the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin to protect you from harmful UV light. There are several differences between physical mineral vs chemical sunscreens, but for the purposes of melasma we’d recommend going with a physical mineral sunscreen. Since physical sunscreens are not absorbed into the skin, they are usually less likely to irritate skin or cause breakouts.
- Non-Comedogenic. A non-comedogenic sunscreen refers to a sunscreen that won’t clog pores, and it’s best for someone with oily or acne-prone skin. Most of the sunscreens on this list are non-comedogenic!
- Tinted. Since melasma sufferers are often embarrassed by their skin condition, looking for a sunscreen with a tinted formula may prove to be an added advantage, as a tinted sunscreen can provide UV protection while also evening out skin tone. Tinted sunscreen is great for covering up other skin ailments too, like vitiligo or any kind of hyperpigmentation.
Best Sunscreen for Melasma: Our Top PIcks
Check out our list of the best sunscreens for melasma below to learn about some of our top picks!
1. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is best for those looking for high-SPF protection as well as a gentle, non-comedogenic formula.
This sunscreen offers fantastic coverage against UVA and UVB rays thanks to its zinc oxide active ingredient. This formula is frequently recommended by dermatologists for various skin conditions, including melasma, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, perioral dermatitis, and other skin discoloration.
It should be noted that this formula isn’t 100% mineral-based, as it does contain octinoxate in addition to zinc oxide, but many fans will attest to this formula being incredibly successful for those with sensitive skin.
2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid is a sunscreen that excels at providing UV protection for people with melasma.
This mineral-based sunscreen has a broad spectrum SPF 50 rating and relies on titanium dioxide as the active ingredient.
The best feature of this sunscreen is its fast absorbing formula – it vanished in a snap, leaving behind a matte finish that has no sticky residue.
This formula also includes a subtle tint that can provide some coverage for the skin tone changes associated with melasma. Allergy tested, oil-free, and without any fragrances or irritating chemicals, this sunscreen is an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin. It even contains antioxidant as a bonus to help protect against free radicals!
3. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream
Australian Gold Botanical Face BB Cream is an SPF 50 sunscreen specially formulated to provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays without the use of oxybenzone, alcohol, dye, oil, phthalate, PABA or petrolatum!
With titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, it protects you face without relying on harsh, irritating chemicals. Additionally, it contains kakadu plum to provide brightening vitamin C, along with red algae and eucalyptus to provide antioxidants.
This tinted formula not only shields delicate skin against harmful UV rays but also provides a natural base for makeup, with its lightweight matte finish. You’ll love how this BB cream styled sunscreen minimizes uneven color, fine lines, and wrinkles while protecting you from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV radiation – that’s why it’s one of our top sunscreens for psoriasis too!
Oh, and it’s vegan, gluten, and cruelty-free too!
4. CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 is another favorite sunscreen for melasma because its a 100% mineral-based sunscreen that doesn’t include any oxybenzone or octinoxate–substances that may cause an allergic reaction in some patients with melasma—and is allergy-tested too!
This formula also includes ceramides, which help retain moisture. So if you have dry skin, this sunscreen may be a good option for you.
This UVA and UVB broad spectrum sunscreen is oil-free, paraben-free, fragrance free, and chemical-filter free. This is what also allows this sunscreen to be compliant for use in Hawaii.
Safe for sensitive skin and kiddos, it’s no wonder why CeraVe is a top pick for many individuals who suffer from various skin conditions. Plus, it’s quite affordable!
5. Paula’s Choice RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Matte Tinted Face Moisturizer
Paula’s Choice RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 is an all-in-one solution, combining a moisturizer with quality sunscreen protection.
This mineral SPF formula contains 13% zinc oxide, offering broad spectrum protection that won’t irritate your skin (while still leaving out the dreaded white cast associated with zinc oxide).
Paula’s Choice also boasts a silky, non-greasy, fast-absorbing matte finish that minimizes shine on the face without feeling too heavy on oily skin types. This sunscreen even includes resveratrol to help repair damage from UV rays through antioxidants, while the tint evens out skin tone from uneven skin pigmentation.
Not only does this formula claim to visibly reduce the signs of aging, it also claims to firm up skin through regular use. Fragrance-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free, this sunscreen is even Leaping Bunny certified and made in the USA too!
If you’re a melasma sufferer, it’s best to look for broad spectrum sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher and is non-comedogenic. You may also want to consider a lightly tinted formula if you’re looking to cover up melasma outbreaks on your face!
There are plenty of sunscreens on this list that should work well for melasma sufferers like yourself. Melasma doesn’t have to be an ongoing issue when you know how best protect against harmful UV rays.
What has your experience been like with melasma? Did sunscreen help with your melasma symptoms? Let us know in the comments!
FAQ for Melasma Sunscreen
What is melasma?
Melasma is a skin pigment disorder that causes brown patches on the skin, most commonly found on the face. Melasma is usually triggered by pregnancy, hormone changes, sun exposure, birth control, or other certain medications.
How can I protect my skin from melasma?
There are a few things you can do to potentially protect your skin from melasma: wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and broad spectrum coverage, wear protective clothing in the sun, and avoid tanning beds and self-tanner. Despite undergoing these precautions you can still get melasma from hormone changes, pregnancy, or other issues, as melasma isn’t always related purely to UV exposure. Still, sun protection will doubtlessly be a good idea!
What are best sunscreens for melasma?
When it comes to best sunscreen for melanoma sufferers like yourself, look for broad spectrum sunscreens that offer at least SPF 30 protection. Make sure the sunscreen you’re using is non-comedogenic as well so it won’t clog your pores! It’s best to go with a physical sunscreen that uses mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as those tend to be best for melasma sufferers and are less likely to further irritate your skin. A tinted formula can also help even out skin tones, if desired.
Can sunscreen help with melasma?
Yes, since UV exposure is often a trigger for melasma dark spots, using sunscreen can help prevent melasma outbreaks. However, melasma can’t be treated with sunscreen alone, as melasma isn’t always caused solely by sun exposure (though it can definitely worsen the condition) and other factors are often at play. Many people make use of sunscreen and still get melasma, but sunscreen should be worn either way for best protection overall, and certainly can protect from future outbreaks of melasma!