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Those dark patches on your skin are called hyperpigmentation.
They might be caused by acne, damage from the sun, or hormones.
In the case of hormones, the discoloration is called melasma.
But no matter the cause, the problem will only get worse with exposure to the sun.
You need one of the best sunscreens for melasma and hyperpigmentation to protect yourself.
- What is the best sunscreen for melasma?
- Does sunscreen help melasma?
- Besides sunscreen, what else can you do to fade discoloration on the skin?
- 24 Best Sunscreens for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation (2020 Update)
- 1. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen – No Chemical Actives – SPF 30+
- 2. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
- 3. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 50
- 4. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen
- 5. TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen
- 6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
- 7. COOLA Tinted Mineral Face Matte Moisturizer SPF 30
- 8. MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- 9. Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen with SPF 50
- 10. Badger Clear Zinc Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
- 11. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 70
- 12. Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- 13. ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Zinc Oxide and 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+
- 14. CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
- 15. Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen
- 16. Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
- 17. JASON Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
- 18. Beauty by Earth Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 25
- 19. Brush on Block Mineral Powder, Refillable Broad-Spectrum SPF 30
- 20. Juice Beauty Reef Safe Mineral SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
- 21. SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35
- 22. Banana Boat Simply Protect Mineral-Based Sunscreen for Kids, SPF 50+
- 23. Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 50
- 24. Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
What is the best sunscreen for melasma?
The experts recommend using mineral sunscreen when you have melasma or other forms of hyperpigmentation (1).
That’s because minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide reflect the sun’s rays.
Physical sunscreens provide full-spectrum protection against ultraviolet radiation, too.
Be sure to select SPF30 or higher to block at least 97% of the rays.
In this way, you’ll prevent the ultraviolet radiation from interacting with your skin and producing more pigment.
Does sunscreen help melasma?
Depending on the ingredients in your sunscreen, it might reduce melasma.
But usually, you’d wear sunscreen to prevent the dark patches from getting worse.
Plus, many of the best treatments for hyperpigmentation make the skin more sensitive to sunburn.
Besides sunscreen, what else can you do to fade discoloration on the skin?
To clear up melasma, you might need to switch your birth control pill or wait a few months after your child’s birth (2).
Once your hormones get back in balance, the dark patches might go away.
On the other hand, you can hurry things along by exfoliating regularly.
Vitamin C serums, retinol, kojic acid, azelaic acid, and hydroquinone are all proven treatments that lessen hyperpigmentation.
A dermatologist could also use a laser to break down the unwanted pigment.
In any case, it’s important to moisturize your skin, get plenty of antioxidants, and be patient (3).
24 Best Sunscreens for Melasma & Hyperpigmentation (2020 Update)
1. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen – No Chemical Actives – SPF 30+
Blue Lizard makes several different sunscreens. We selected this one because it’s designed for sensitive skin.
That means it doesn’t have pore-clogging ingredients, parabens, or an artificial fragrance.
It’s also reef-friendly and won’t poison coral reefs.
It has both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reflect the sun. If you wear it in the water, it will last up to 40 minutes before you need to reapply.
2. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Sun Bum’s mineral sunscreen is based on 20% zinc oxide, coconut oil, and shea butter. It’s very moisturizing but mild enough for delicate skin.
The formula is approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
It’s free of parabens, gluten, and other common irritants.
3. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 50
Get the same outstanding protection in a stick instead of a lotion.
It’s a whole lot less messy to spread it on your body.
4. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen
If you worry about your face breaking out, try Neutrogena’s face sunscreen. It won’t turn your skin white as it uses a nearly invisible zinc oxide.
While you wear it, it doesn’t just block the sun’s rays; it also fights premature aging.
Also, it sets to a matte finish that never feels greasy.
You can wear it for up to 80 minutes in the water before you need to put it on again. If you’re out in the sun but not in the water, you should still reapply after two hours.
There are no parabens, phthalates, dyes, or artificial fragrances in the bottle. It won’t even sting your eyes.
5. TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen
The TIZO tinted sunscreen has a little color to even out your skin tone. Wear it alone or underneath makeup as a primer.
It’s sheer and silky. It doesn’t have oil, parabens, or an artificial fragrance.
6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
The award-winning Anthelios sunscreen comes in a mineral-only version. You can get it in regular or tinted formulas.
It sinks in fast and doesn’t feel greasy. Happily, it won’t turn your skin pasty white either.
It features the proprietary Cell-Ox Shield Technology that blends UV protection with antioxidants. It doesn’t just block the sun, but it also helps your skin stay healthy and young.
Dermatologists have tested this product to be safe for sensitive skin. It doesn’t have perfumes, parabens, or oils.
For the best experience, remember to shake it well before you apply it.
7. COOLA Tinted Mineral Face Matte Moisturizer SPF 30
COOLA’s tinted sunscreen has also won awards as it immediately improves the appearance of your complexion.
It smooths fine lines and fights other signs of aging, too.
Some of the key ingredients are shea butter, rosehip oil, and plankton. These nutrient-rich components firm up texture and fade discoloration.
While you wear it, it also reduces shine, making it perfect for combination or oily skin.
8. MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This sunscreen is an ideal makeup primer. It’s non-comedogenic and packed with anti-aging ingredients like green tea and pomegranate.
Should you go swimming with it, it lasts up to 80 minutes in the water.
But don’t think that it’s just for mature skin, because it’s not.
It’s mild enough for kids to use as well.
The version we selected has a light tint and a matte finish.
9. Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen with SPF 50
Aveeno’s mineral sunscreen has a higher concentration of zinc oxide than the average.
Of course, it has Aveeno’s signature ingredient, oatmeal. While oats soothe irritated skin, other ingredients like aloe and glycerin hydrate the skin.
This is another non-greasy lotion that helps minimize shine.
10. Badger Clear Zinc Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Badger makes this mineral sunscreen from 98% certified organic ingredients.
It doesn’t have parabens, artificial dyes or fragrances, petrolatum, or GMOs.
But that’s not all the good news.
It’s biodegradable and safe for swimming in the ocean as it won’t harm wildlife.
It may look white when you pour it out of the bottle, but it turns transparent quickly after you rub it in.
Remember to put more on after 40 minutes in the water.
11. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 70
We’re not sure how Australian Gold can say this lotion has SPF 70 when the label lists only 3% titanium dioxide and 3% zinc oxide.
Then again, it has a lot of good things going for it.
It’s from a major manufacturer of tanning products that understand how to defend skin against premature aging caused by the sun.
It includes botanicals like eucalyptus, red algae, and Kakadu plum that are packed with antioxidants.
And it has a pleasant fragrance and a velvety finish.
12. Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Alba Botanica includes vegetarian ingredients in this reef-friendly sunscreen. Moreover, it was never tested on animals.
They recommend it for all skin types.
It’s full of emollients that seal in moisture. It also has soothing chamomile and aloe.
13. ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Zinc Oxide and 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+
ISDIN’s unpronounceable sunscreen repairs damage to DNA caused by sun exposure.
It doesn’t matter if it’s recent or not.
This unique formula is made by a reputable manufacturer and one of the best sunscreens for melasma and age spots.
14. CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
CeraVe markets to those of us with sensitive skin.
Fortunately, this includes people living in Hawaii. The law there prohibits sunscreens that can damage coral reefs. But this lotion is safe for people and wildlife.
It contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, plus niacinamide and essential ceramides.
The niacinamide reduces redness while the ceramides strengthen the skin.
Of course, there are no parabens, oils, or artificial fragrances.
15. Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen
Coppertone turned to nature to make this sunscreen. It has tea leaf, kelp, and lotus extracts.
It’s also free of alcohol, dyes, parabens, and fragrances.
16. Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
Thinksport is proud to announce that their sunscreen is extremely safe. It passed the Whole Foods Premium Care requirements.
It’s also rated as a shallow hazard (the best rating) on the Environmental Working Group’s database.
It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or nanoparticle zinc oxide.
While that’s all well and good, you might still be wondering if it’s pleasant to use and effective.
As far as we can tell, users seem to be very satisfied with it. It has a smooth texture that sinks in fairly quickly and doesn’t feel sticky afterward.
17. JASON Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
By this point, you might be wondering if it really matters which sunscreen you choose. They all pretty much look the same.
The highlight of this lotion is that it’s infused with marigold and chamomile to calm sensitive skin.
It’s also safe for coral reefs and free of irritants like fragrances and gluten.
Furthermore, the manufacturer’s been in business since 1959.
18. Beauty by Earth Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 25
The only thing “wrong” about the sunscreen is the low sun protection factor.
We wish it had SPF 30 or higher.
On the other hand, it comes with a satisfaction guarantee. If you find that it’s not performing well enough for you, contact the manufacturer within 30 days.
It’s replete with organic, natural ingredients that smooth and softens the skin.
And for those who are worried about nanoparticles, this lotion uses non-nano zinc oxide.
19. Brush on Block Mineral Powder, Refillable Broad-Spectrum SPF 30
Skip the lotion and grab powder instead.
This is a brush-on sunscreen that never feels greasy!
It has a blend of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide plus oil-absorbing ingredients. It’s transparent so that you can wear it over your makeup just like any other powder.
It comes with a self-dispensing brush. The container is refillable.
Some users apply it to their scalp, too.
20. Juice Beauty Reef Safe Mineral SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
Out of all the sunscreens we reviewed, this is one of the few that’s certified vegan and cruelty-free.
It has zinc oxide plus organic aloe, jojoba oil, and coconut oil. Therefore, it moisturizes well.
You can trust that it’s free of pesticides, parabens, petroleum, phthalates, dyes, fragrances, and other potentially irritating things.
21. SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35
SkinMedica explains the PA++++ designation that we see from time to time on sunscreens. The more plus symbols, the more powerful protection. And their lotion has the highest rating.
It’s sheer and lightweight, and mild enough to use after you’ve had skin procedures done at the dermatologist’s office.
The hypoallergenic formula won’t clog pores and is free of parabens and perfumes.
22. Banana Boat Simply Protect Mineral-Based Sunscreen for Kids, SPF 50+
So far, we’ve covered sunscreens for adults. But you’ll find that the ones made for kids often have benefits you’ll enjoy.
Banana Boat’s mineral sunscreen has fewer ingredients than their flagship Sport Lotion.
It’s made to avoid causing tears, and it absorbs quickly.
While you wear it, it withstands sweat, wind, sand, and water. Just remember to reapply when needed.
23. Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 50
The Baby Bum lotion is naturally moisturizing without feeling greasy.
It’s free of silicones, phthalates, dyes, and parabens.
Although the kids don’t have to worry about wrinkles, the formula has plenty of hydration all the same.
24. Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
Thinkbaby is related to Thinksport.
Just like the adult formula, this one is made to be as safe as possible. It won’t harm sensitive skin or the environment.
It has a safe product rating from the Environmental Working Group, and Whole Foods approve it.
What’s more, it’s certified vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain gluten.
It’s worth it to wear sunscreen when you want to get rid of melasma and hyperpigmentation.
It doesn’t matter how dark or light your skin is.
The more you protect it from the sun’s rays, the fewer pigment forms. Yes, that makes tanning difficult.
But wouldn’t you rather get rid of those dark patches?
If you discovered your new favorite sunscreen today, let us know about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/qa/what-can-you-do-to-deal-with-melasma published August 27, 2019, accessed November 22, 2019
2. https://www.popsugar.co.uk/beauty/Melasma-Treatment-45085795 by Kirbie Johnson, published every 14 2018, accessed November 22, 2019
3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/unmasking-the-causes-and-treatments-of-melasma published October 2018, accessed November 22, 2019