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Best Sunscreens for Melasma: 2023 Top Picks and Buying Guide



by Lydia


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Melasma causes dark and discolored patches on the skin. The brownish spots are common on the forehead, nose bridge, chin, and cheeks. While it does not cause physical harm or pain, it is unattractive, and hence, many people lose their confidence. Finding the best sunscreens for melasma can offer the perfect solution! It prevents the discoloration from getting worse while also protecting the skin from the harsh UV rays that can cause skin cancer!

Looking for the best safe and effective sunscreen for melasma? We got you covered in the rest of this buying guide! 

Melasma: What You Need to Know

Best Sunscreens for Melasma

Before we start listing down our recommended products, let us first talk about the things you need to know about melasma, which will give you compelling reasons to use the right sunscreen.

What is Melasma?

As mentioned in the introduction, melasma is a skin condition that causes discoloration, often in the form of brown patches. It can also be blue-gray or tan. It is common in women who are in their reproductive years. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, only 10% of melasma cases are in men.

What are the Causes of Melasma?

Even medical professionals don’t know what the exact cause of melasma is. However, this can be because of the malfunction of the cells that cause the colors in your skin. Hormonal changes, sun exposure, and the skincare products that you are using can also be the culprits.

What is the Best Treatment for Melasma?

While melasma can fade on its own, there are some treatments and medications that will be effective, including hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids. They will help to make the skin lighter, and eventually, will cover the dark spots.

However, in this article, our focus is on the use of sunscreen as an effective melasma treatment. Sunlight is one of the most common melasma triggers, so it is best to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the most promising. 

Top Picks for the Best Sunscreens for Melasma

Ready to start your search for the best sunscreens for melasmas? We’ll make things easy for you! Below is a round-up of the top products that should be on your list that can help treat and prevent melasma?

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen

For people who have melasma, this is one of the top products, especially considering the reputation of the manufacturer. This is from a luxury skincare brand, so you can be confident about its effectiveness.

This is a 100% mineral sunscreen that effectively filters UV rays. It is lightweight and comes with a matte finish, unlike others that can be oily. It has zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which are two ingredients that make it effective.

The Cell-Ox Shield Technology, which has been exclusively developed by the manufacturer, is another impressive feature. It also contains an antioxidant complex, which will protect the face from environmental aggressors that can worsen melasma.

Lastly, this SPF 50 sunscreen remains water-resistant up to 80 minutes. 

EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Facial Sunscreen

EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Facial Sunscreen

This sheer and lightweight sunscreen is non-greasy, making it another excellent option for the treatment of melasma.

The effectiveness of this sunscreen for melasma is attributed to the ingredients that are used. It has 9% transparent zinc oxide. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for the retention of moisture. As a bonus, it also diminishes fine lines and makes the skin smoother.

It is also worth noting that it is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for daily use, even when you no longer have melasma.

For people with sensitive skin, it is also a good thing that it does not contain fragrances and parabens, among other chemicals that can irritate the skin.

Lastly, we also love the packaging of this sunscreen. It is in an airless pump bottle, which makes the application effortless and non-messy. 

BurnOut SPF 30 for Face & Body

BurnOut SPF 30 for Face & Body

Some people with melasma hate using sunscreens because they end up feeling sticky, especially during a hot day. This won’t be a problem if you use this BurnOut face and body sunscreen. You will love its lightweight and oil-free formula, which won’t feel gross even as you start to sweat.

Another thing that many people don’t like about regular sunscreens is that they can end up making the face white and leave a chalky residue. This sunscreen does not have such an effect after its application.

This is a zinc oxide sunscreen, which is one of the reasons for its safety. It does not have parabens, fragrances, petroleum, and chemical actives, among others. 

Obagi Sun Shield Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen

Obagi Sun Shield Tint

Many people might be discouraged from buying this sunscreen once they see its price. However, this should not be a concern. The cost can be justified by its quality and effectiveness, even for people who have melasma.

This is a combination of physical and mineral sunscreen. It also has extracts rich in antioxidants that will create a barrier against the UV rays that can damage the skin.

One of the main ingredients is zinc oxide, which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Meanwhile, with titanium oxide, it prevents UV damage. On the other hand, algae extract is for the protection and hydration of the skin. Lastly, it has Vitamin E, which helps in the prevention of skin damages caused by free radicals. 

TIZO Ultra Zinc Body and Face Sunscreen

TIZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Sunscreen

This SPF 40 mineral sunscreen offers broad-spectrum UV protection. It is a lightweight cream that refracts the sun rays through the mineral-based formula.

One of the reasons for the effectiveness of this product is 20% zinc oxide. This is beneficial for soothing and calming the skin, making it effective in minimizing the damage if you already have melasma.

It is also a good thing that it comes with a photostable formula. This means that it will not degrade under the heat of the sun. It is also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.

If you are swimming in the ocean, you have another good reason to pick this sunscreen for melasma since it is reef-safe.

Replenix Antioxidant Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 50+

People with melasma who are looking for luxury skincare products should not miss this sunscreen from Replenix. Aside from superior UV protection, it also offers oil control, so your face will not have an uncontrollable shine.

This sunscreen also hydrates the skin while having antioxidants that have great anti-aging benefits. It is also effective for wrinkles and fine lines.

One of the main ingredients in this sunscreen is green tea, which is effective for the repair of skin cell damage. Meanwhile, with CoQ10, it is effective for reducing the appearance of lines and other visible signs of skin aging.

A notable feature of this sunscreen is the Universal Pigment Technology. It has a single shade, but it is versatile enough to blend with all skin tones. This is not just a melasma sunscreen but also effective as a concealer to hide your pigments, including the dark spots caused by melasma. 

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

The brand name itself is already a good reason to choose this sunscreen over others. This SPF 45 sunscreen is easily absorbed by the skin without feeling sticky, even during a hot day. It also remains water-resistant for 80 minutes, so there is no need for frequent application.

It features the innovative Dry Touch Technology. It has a matte finish, which means that it will never make your face oily.

Another exceptional feature is the Helio-Plex technology. It provides UVA and UVB protection that will prevent your melasma from getting worse while also protecting the skin.

Lastly, it is also one of the best sunscreens for melasma and loved by many because of its comedogenic formula, which means that it will never block your pores. 

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Sunscree Stick

Babo Botanicals Cucumber

Convenience is one of the reasons why you should use this sunscreen to help ease your melasma. There is no messy application. It is lightweight and compact. It can fit even in your pocket. It is just slightly bigger than a lipstick. Your hand does not need to get sticky as you apply the sunscreen.

You don’t have to reapply it often. Like most of the products that are included in our recommendations, it is sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

We also love how it comes with certified organic oils as part of the main ingredients. It has cucumber, jojoba, and aloe, among other natural ingredients. They are effective not only in blocking UV rays but also in moisturizing your face. 

Heliocare Ultra SPF 50 Gel

Heliocare Ultra

If you are looking for the best line of defense against the heat of the sun, this is another great sunscreen for melasma. It has SPF 50, so you can be confident about the level of protection that it can provide.

You will also like how thin and light the sunscreen is. It is smooth when applied to the skin. Even if you are applying makeup after the sunscreen, you don’t have to worry.

It comes in the form of a transparent gel. Since it is clear, this is unlike other sunscreens that can leave a white residue on the face after application. The gel is also water-resistant. 

Zealios Sun Barrier 3 oz

Zealios Sun Barrier

True to its name, this product is a great barrier against the rays and the heat of the sun, making it another effective melasma sunscreen.

In terms of its formula, it has 8% micronized zinc oxide. This is capable of filtering up to 98% of the harmful UV rays.

It stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Plus, it does not leave a white or chalky residue on the face. Upon application, it is easily absorbed by the skin. Best of all, it does not feel sticky or greasy. 

Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with SPF 15

Face Moisturizer by Olay

When it comes to skincare products, Olay is one name that is hard to beat, so you have a good reason to include this in your list of the best sunscreens for melasma. This is a moisturizer, but it comes with SPF 15, which makes it great to prevent sun damage.

It has zinc oxide for maximum protection from the sun. Meanwhile, it also hydrates the skin for up to eight hours.

Looking at the list of the ingredients, it contains 6% octinoxate and 3% zinc oxide. It also has Aloe and Vitamin E.

To add, it features the innovative Solar Sheer Technology, which has been exclusively developed by the manufacturer. This allows the moisturizer to create a lightweight but powerful barrier against damages that the sun can cause on your skin. 

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense, SPF 30

This is different from the products mentioned above because it is in the form of a powder brush. Apply it directly to the skin and it releases tiny mineral powder and offers broad-spectrum protection.

Aside from oiliness, it offers an effective solution for uneven skin tone, which makes it great for those who have discoloration on the face as a result of melasma.

The formula does not contain parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, making it safe. Instead, it contains 17.3 % titanium dioxide and 20.0% zinc oxide. This physical sunscreen also has Vitamins A, C, and E. 

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Melasma

Best Sunscreens for Melasma

The options can be overwhelming, each with the promise of being effective against melasma. To help you make the right decision, however, below are the most important factors to consider.


It is important to consider the ingredients because they have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the sunscreen. Stay away from those with harsh chemicals that can do more harm than good.

Two of the most common ingredients that you will find in melasma sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Zinc oxide is safer and better in terms of its ability to absorb UV wavelengths.

There are also natural ingredients, including botanicals and leaf extracts. They help to keep the skin hydrated, supple, and healthy. 


The best options are those that are water-resistant for 80 minutes. This means that you should not reapply frequently when you are swimming. These sunscreens do not stay on the face the whole day. However, they can resist water and sweat within a specified number of minutes, assuring the highest level of protection from the sun.

Level of Protection

Be a smart buyer and learn about the things that you can see on the label and what they mean in terms of the protection that they provide. One of the most important is to choose one that offers broad-spectrum protection. This means that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, making it more effective in preventing your melasma from getting worse.

Tips for the Treatment and Prevention of Melasma

Before we end this short buying guide, allow us to leave you some tips on how to deal with melasma. Whether it is for prevention or treatment, below are the best things that you can do. 

  • Protect your face not only by wearing sunscreen but also by wearing a hat with a wide brim. This directs the rays and heat of the sun way from the face, which will prevent your melasma from getting worse.
  • If you are looking for a more proactive approach when dealing with melasma, consult a dermatologist. Among others, one that you will be prescribed is hydroquinone. This topical treatment can help your melasma spots to fade.
  • Laser or peel treatments can also be promising. These are aggressive treatment choices. Consult with a professional and exhaust all other means before resorting to these solutions.
  • Use the right skincare products. You have to be picky with everything else that you are using, including creams, oils, and serums, among others. Look at their ingredients and make sure that they do not have toxic chemicals. Specifically, look for the components that can lighten your dark spots.


Do not let melasma be the reason for you to lose confidence! These dark marks are just temporary. With the right approach, the discoloration can fade over time, and one of the most promising is using a sunscreen for melasma

Looking for the best sunscreens for melasma? Consider our recommendations above! They are made using safe and effective ingredients, so you can be confident that they will work! 

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