Best Sunscreen For Melasma In 2018: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

best sunscreen for melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes your skin to develop a patchy tone.

It's far more common in women than in men, with 90% of people developing it being women. It's often, but not always, associated with pregnancy. 

Do you suffer from these sometimes unpleasant-looking patches?

Are you unsure of what to do to help minimize the effects of your melasma?

One of the biggest contributing factors to melasma is sun damage. It's common knowledge that the biggest cause of sun damage comes from the sun.

Protecting yourself from the sun is therefore one of the simplest ways to help keep your melasma under control.

Sunscreens come in various forms to cater for a large number of needs. Many of these needs go beyond sun protection.

It can be a hard task to find the best sunscreen for melasma, so if you’re in the market for melasma sunscreen, then this article is for you.

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about sunscreen for melasma.

How to Choose A Good Sunscreen For Melasma

Protection from the sun is one of the easiest ways to minimize the effects of melasma.

However, any old sunscreen won't do.

There are certain factors and ingredients that you need to look out for when buying a sunscreen. It needs to protect you from the sun’s rays as well as preventing your melasma from getting worse.

Broad Spectrum Coverage

Damage from the sun comes from exposure to both UVA and UVB radiation. Many sunscreens will only protect against one type of radiation.

Keep your eyes open form a sunscreen that offers protection from both types, this is often called ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen.

SPF Rating

The SPF Rating on sunscreen can be confusing and misleading, as higher isn't always better.

However, it’s recommended that the sunscreen you use for melasma is at least SPF 30.


Both zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the most effective ingredients for protection.

Where possible, choose a sunscreen that has a higher zinc oxide content as it’s the more effective of the two.

Ease of Use

You need to wear sunscreen everyday in order for it to have an impact on the appearance of your melasma.

A thick, uncomfortable sunscreen may offer great protection, but it can sometimes feel greasy.

Choose a lightweight cream, particularly if you wear makeup, as it can be applied underneath.

How does SPF relate to Melasma?

Melasma is generally caused by an imbalance in hormones, which leaves skin more sensitive to sunlight.

The SPF you use in your sunscreen can make a big difference to managing your skin condition.

SPF can seem pretty confusing, but it’s especially important to understand it if you have an existing skin condition.

The higher the SPF of a sunscreen, the better. Until a certain point, that is! Higher SPF prevents you from burning for more time than lower SPF sunscreens, but only up to around SPF30.

The idea is that sunscreens keep you from burning for 15 times the normal amount of time it would take to burn.

If you normally burn in ten minutes, wearing sunscreen will keep you safe for 150 minutes - in theory…

Most sunscreens can only offer protection for up to two hours, as your body will probably be sweating and the protection they can offer depends on the strength of the sun itself as well as your skin type.

If you apply the above rule, you’ll think you’re safe for over two hours when you actually need to reapply it sooner.

It’s annoyingly complicated, so the main thing to remember is to reapply regularly and seek shade every so often, all while staying hydrated!

Higher SPF sunscreens do exist, but will only increase the protection by a percent or two, so the protection level pretty much plateaus after SPF50.

Any higher than 50, and you’re not getting much more for your money.

The reason you don’t see SPF 100 sunscreens is for this exact reason ­– you’d not be getting anything more and would essentially be ‘tricked’ into believing that this would offer 100% protection!

In terms of melasma, it's recommended that people with this condition wear SPF 30­-50 sunscreen and reapply regularly.

Understanding how SPF works is an important part of staying safe in the sun.

Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens: What's The Difference?

It’s in the name, but physical sunscreens physically protect your skin from the sun by actively blocking sun rays from getting to your skin.

They normally contain zinc oxide, which acts as a physical block.

Anyone who’s ever surfed will be familiar with using zinc to stay safe in the sun.

Anyone who hasn’t surfed – remember the dodgy, thick foundation you wore when you were 15 that completely clashed with your actual skin color and gave you the worst ‘tide line’ between your face and neck? Yep.

Chemical sunscreens work to keep you safe by actually absorbing the sun rays and breaking or ‘scattering’ them so they don’t harm your skin. Some chemical sunscreens have different filters in them to aid this process.

The chemicals used are generally safe but can be irritating to certain skin types, depending on skin conditions and age, among other factors. They’re more likely to have added chemicals for fragrance that aren’t advisable for sensitive skin.

Both of these types of sunscreen will usually protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, but always check the label – look for ‘broad spectrum’ products.

Physical sunscreens start working as soon as you apply them to your skin, whereas you have to wait 15-20 minutes before a chemical sunscreen is effective.

Think of it as putting on a jumper when you’re cold versus having to wait to feel the heat as you turn on a radiator!

What's Best For Melasma?

Physical (also referred to as ‘mineral’) sunscreens are the best option for anyone with melasma. They're much kinder to the skin than chemical sunscreens, which can be harsh on already-sensitive skin and cause unnecessary irritation.

The physical sunscreen also helps protect your skin as soon as you put it on, so you can have it handy on you and use it anytime you need to.

You can also find really lovely, organic physical sunscreens that are great for anyone with sensitive skin.

Mineral sunscreens tend to be healthier for the skin so are great if you’re working on making your cosmetics case an organic, cruelty-free zone.

Physical sunscreens contain high levels of zinc oxide – this is super important if you have melasma as it will really work to protect your skin from harmful rays.

Anything with over 5% as an ingredient is a good base level of zinc oxide to be looking for.

If you have dark skin, look for ‘invisible zinc’ as it will blend much better. This is also a good option for anyone who wants to wear sunscreen under their makeup as it has much better transparency.

top 5 sunscreens for melasma

1. Health Priority Natural Products Vitamin E Moisturizer with SPF 30

Health Priority Natural Products Vitamin E Moisturizer with SPF 30

Health Priority Natural Products Vitamin E Moisturizer contains SPF 30 to offer great protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

The vitamin E content and smooth, light texture makes it amazing to wear everyday.

You can even wear it under makeup, ensuring that your skin is always protected.

This protection extends to both UVA and UVB rays to guarantee you maximum defense from the sun.

It’s incredibly effective due to the high level of zinc oxide as well as titanium dioxide to make sure your skin is fully protected.

The extra addition of vitamins E and B5 help not only with nourishing moisturizing, but also with slowing down the aging process.

Health Priority Natural Products sunscreen is more expensive than ordinary sunscreens.

It offers some vital elements that help make it the best sunscreen for melasma.

pros & cons

Health Priority Natural Products Vitamin E Moisturizer with SPF 30 is comfortable to wear everyday. It has the added bonus of deeply nourishing your skin.

It’s free from harsh chemicals, made with natural and organic chemicals in the USA.

It offers brilliant protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s guaranteed to protect your skin that has been affected by melasma.

It’s cheaper that many other sunscreens that offer optimum protection for melasma sufferers. However, the size of the bottle is only small.

This means that if you have melasma over a larger area, you’ll need to use more of the product, therefore increasing the cost.

It’s generally safe for allergy sufferers. Some users may experience adverse side effects, so it's advised to test the product on a small area of skin first.

2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen for Face, Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50

La RochePosay Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen for Face

This product has featured on several of my favorite sunscreen lists, and for good reason.

La Roche Posay is a wonderful brand. It's a little on the pricey side in comparison to other products on this list, but it’s well worth the money.

This sunscreen is SPF 50, so is pretty much the highest I’d suggest going for before you’re not getting much more bang for your buck.

This product also contains antioxidants, which help keep your skin safe from damage – everything from wrinkles to skin cancer.

It’s also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, which is great for anyone with melasma. You don’t need to constantly stress about reapplication if you’re sweating or swimming.

Already having to be overly-aware of your skin when you’re out in the sun is no fun, but hopefully, this makes it slightly easier for you!

3. Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear (Medium) SPF 30+ UVA-UVB

Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear (Medium) SPF 30+

Another fantastic product for anyone with melasma or other skin conditions that leave you extra sensitive to the sun.

This sunscreen offers both UVA and UVB protection, and I would suggest going for SPF 30.

There are high levels of zinc oxide in this sunscreen, making it perfect for anyone with a skin condition as it forms a protective layer on your skin.

This means you stay protected without absorbing any irritating chemicals.

It’s also fragrance-free, further proof that it won’t aggravate sensitive skin.

I like this for its transparency on skin – it blends in really well so is perfect under makeup or for anyone with dark skin who doesn’t want greasy, white streaks!

4. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive SPF 30+

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive SPF 30+

I love this sunscreen from Blue Lizard, and the fact that it’s a total bargain definitely helps…

This zinc-based sunscreen acts as a physical barrier to sunlight in order to protect your skin from harmful rays.

It’s free from chemicals as well as parabens and fragrances, so is the perfect choice for anyone with melasma as well as most other skin conditions that cause sun sensitivity; such as photosensitivity, although you may want a higher SPF .

One of my favorite things about this product is that it actively tells you when to cover up and stay safe. If the sunscreen bottle starts turning blue, there are harmful rays present and you need to be extra careful.

This is a little gimmicky, sure, but it’s really helpful and works as a great visual aid in teaching children about the importance of sun safety.

5. Coppertone Sensitive Skin SPF 50 Lotion

Coppertone Sensitive Skin SPF 50 Lotion

This is one of the best products out there for anyone with melasma or any other skin conditions that make skin extra sensitive to sunlight.

This is another zinc-based product which physically forms a protective barrier on the skin.

It’s designed for sensitive skin so contains no nasty chemicals or fragrances, and is hypoallergenic to keep your skin as safe and happy as possible.

This is another broad spectrum sunscreen and is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes – although I'd personally recommend reapplying within that time period. It should help calm any sun-related anxiety just a little.

This product is really great value is perfect for anyone on a budget who still wants high-quality protection.

in conclusion...

Even though melasma is a common condition, it can be a little embarrassing for those who suffer from it.

Sunscreen is incredibly beneficial to help minimize the effects. It's important to use a product that caters specifically for your melasma needs.

You should be looking for a physical sunscreen that's roughly 30 SPF.

Our top pick is the Health Priority Natural Products Vitamin E Moisturizer, light but effective, perfect for wearing under makeup.

This product ticks all our boxes and more, making it the best sunscreen for melasma. You only have to apply it to notice a difference!

If that doesn't appeal, we've reviewed four other options in depth, so there's something for everyone. Choose the best sunscreen for melasma skin and take a weight off your mind.