Does your skin tingle when you spend time in the sun? Maybe you need the best sunscreens for vitiligo. Sun protection is essential because white patches don’t have melanin or pigment. They offer no defense against sunburn (1).
What type of sunscreen is best for vitiligo? Is mineral sunscreen good, or should you go with a chemical filter? In reality, the best sunscreen for white spots is whichever one you’re most comfortable wearing. Let’s talk about how to pick the right sunscreen for your needs.
- How to choose the best sunscreen
- Best Sunscreens for Vitiligo in 2022
- EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
- CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30
- Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lip Balm
- Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50 by Colorescience
How to choose the best sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreen: mineral and chemical.
The first kind uses zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both) to reflect harmful UV rays away from the body. It’s an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin, plus it always provides broad-spectrum protection. (More on what that means in a moment.) However, persons with a deep skin tone might notice a white cast depending on the formula.
Chemical sunscreen filters don’t reflect. Instead, they provide a protective layer that absorbs UV radiation before it can damage the skin. This type of sunscreen takes a little time to soak in and get ready for action which is why it’s important to apply it at least fifteen minutes before going outdoors.
Some sunscreen products blend both mineral and chemical filters.
Next, SPF matters. The sun protection factor number indicates how much of the UV radiation the sunscreen filters out. For example, SPF 15 only provides 93% protection while SPF 30 offers 97%. On the downside, there is no 100% defense against UV rays – SPF 70 only gives 98.5% protection and SPF 100 isn’t perfect, either.
Another way to look at SPF is to factor in how long it would take you to burn without sun protection. SPF 15 extends this by 15 times. So if you would normally burn in 20 minutes, the sunscreen would let you (theoretically) stay outside for 300 minutes, or 5 hours. But there’s a catch. Pretty much every sunscreen says to reapply after 2 hours just to be sure you’re still protected.
If you want the quickest answer, the Skin Cancer Foundation and other experts all say to choose SPF 30 or higher.
Don’t make your final choice just yet. Take into account what type of sunscreen you prefer. There are sprays, milk, creams, lotions, gels, powders, and oils. Choose the kind that suits your skin type and comes in a format that you find easy to use. If it leaves you feeling greasy or sticky, try something else.
Remember that you’re supposed to use 2 tablespoons of a typical sunscreen lotion to cover your entire body or a nickel-size dab for the face.
But what about moisturizers and makeup with sunscreen? Isn’t that enough? It depends. If you spend little to no time outdoors and you’re not seated by a window, it might be fine. Please keep in mind that vitiligo robs your skin of any defense against sunburn, so isn’t it better to spend an extra few seconds putting on sunscreen just to be safe? (2)
Now, let’s dive into reviews of the best sunscreens for vitiligo.
|The best sunscreens for vitiligo||Why we love them|
|EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for Sensitive or Acne-Prone Skin||
|Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70||
|La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Body & Face Broad Spectrum SPF 60||
|CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30||
|Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lip Balm||
|Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50 by Colorescience||
Best Sunscreens for Vitiligo in 2022
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD makes more than one type of sunscreen and they all look pretty much the same, so double-check that you’ve picked the one you really want. We reviewed the untinted facial sunscreen, but there is a tinted version, too. Feel free to use the facial sunscreen on your body, but maybe don’t try the body sunscreen on your face if you have sensitive skin.
This oil-free and fragrance-free formula is perfect for sensitive faces because it doesn’t irritate rosacea or clog pores to aggravate acne. If your skin is naturally oily, you might not even need a moisturizer with it. It contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and niacinamide to keep the skin hydrated and happy. Plus, it wears well underneath makeup.
More good news is that it’s paraben-free and packed in an airless pump bottle. It’s won several awards from Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, RealSimple, and multiple times from InStyle.
The active ingredients are 9% zinc oxide with 7.5% octinoxate.
Did you know that zinc oxide is the very best sunscreen on earth? It provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVB and UVA rays. (The former causes sunburn and the latter causes skin cancer and premature aging.) What’s more, zinc oxide calms the skin, which is why it’s used in diaper cream. The only downside is that if it’s highly concentrated, it leaves a white cast on dark skin (3).
But what about octinoxate? Aren’t chemical filters bad? Well, octinoxate, also known as Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, is one of the most common chemical filters used in sunscreens and other cosmetics. It absorbs UVB radiation which prevents sunburn, but it doesn’t do anything to guard against UVA. Unfortunately, it breaks down in sunlight which is why it has to be reapplied frequently.
But octinoxate might have a dark side because it seems to affect hormones in animal studies and in vitro (in the lab, not in humans). So, if you are pregnant or under the age of 2, maybe skip this product (4).
- Oil-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free
- Safe for rosacea and acne-prone skin
- Non-greasy, wears well under makeup
- Has won multiple awards from various organizations
- Available in transparent and tinted versions
- Contains a chemical filter (octinoxate) as well as zinc oxide
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70
You’ll forget you’re wearing Neutrogena’s dry-touch sunscreen because it leaves the skin feeling natural, never greasy or sticky. Moreover, it stays on in water for up to 80 minutes.
You can get it in a lotion, spray, or stick. No matter which one you choose, they all dry matte. Then you can enjoy fun in the sun as you’ll be protected against UVA and UVB rays.
What’s the magic ingredient? Avobenzone is one of the chemical filters in the Helioplex formula. But the sunscreen also has octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
But let’s focus on Avobenzone for a moment. Is it safe? We’re pleased to report that it’s considered the gold standard for absorbing UVA rays and it’s available worldwide, making it the most used chemical sunscreen on the planet. Sadly, though, it breaks down in sunlight and it must be reapplied after a couple of hours. But it has no estrogenic effect on hormones and doesn’t irritate the skin. Weirdly, Avobenzone cannot be combined with mineral sunscreen ingredients (5).
Unlike sunscreen with zinc oxide, it’s completely transparent and doesn’t leave a white residue. It also doesn’t clog pores.
If there’s any con is that it will make your eyes sting, so try using a different sunscreen on your face if you find that it bothers you.
- Sets to a natural-looking finish, non-greasy, not sticky
- Broad-spectrum protection against sunburn and premature aging
- Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
- Comes as a lotion, stick, or spray
- Makes eyes sting
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
Why purchase two different sunscreens for the face and body when one like this can take care of everything? It uses Cell-Ox Shield Technology that incorporates antioxidants with broad-spectrum UV protection. Even though it’s water-resistant for 80 minutes, feel free to wear it underneath makeup on ordinary days, too.
Like all products from LaRoche-Posay, it’s been dermatologist-tested and it’s free of common allergens and safe for sensitive skin. The oil-free formula doesn’t contain artificial fragrances, parabens, or even oxybenzone or octinoxate. Instead, it relies on Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene.
It works so well that it’s won over 90 awards from a variety of sites and organizations. Furthermore, you don’t have to get it in a velvety milk if you don’t want – it’s available in spray, lotion, and other formats, too.
- Award-winning formula with broad-spectrum UV protection plus antioxidants
- Dries down to a velvety finish that’s not greasy or sticky
- No white cast on dark skin
- No fragrance, parabens, oxybenzone, or octinoxate
- Safe for sensitive faces and bodies
- Has a slight strange odor that disappears almost immediately once it dries
CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30
Skip the chemical filters and enjoy mineral sunscreen in either regular or tinted versions. CeraVe offers both kinds and all of them feature three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated.
Besides the broad-spectrum protection and the extra dose of moisture, the non-comedogenic formula is designed for sensitive skin. It contains no parabens or artificial fragrance, plus it’s been allergy-tested.
The tinted sunscreen can be used in the place of makeup primer if you wish. However, those with dark skin may find that it leaves a bit of a cast (that disappears if you use foundation).
Lastly, this sunscreen features the Seal of Approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation. Get it in body lotion, face lotion, or sunscreen stick formats.
- 100% mineral sunscreen approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation
- Available in transparent or tinted versions for the face and body
- Comes as a lotion or stick
- Non-comedogenic with no artificial fragrance or parabens
- Made for sensitive skin
- Not completely transparent on dark skin
Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lip Balm
Vitiligo robs the pigment from the lips just as easily as it does from anywhere else on the body. Therefore, please don’t forget to protect your lips with sunscreen.
This soothing lip balm has a subtle pleasant scent but no artificial fragrance or flavoring. It uses 8% zinc to keep your lips safe from the burning sun and dehydrating wind.
Finally, it’s hypoallergenic and infused with natural goodness like sweet almond oil and shea butter.
- Features zinc for broad-spectrum protection
- Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, no parabens
- Conditions the lips with natural plant oils and botanicals
Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50 by Colorescience
Colorescience makes powdered, brush-on sunscreen for your face and scalp. What’s nice is that they also have colored lip balm that doubles as blush. It comes in three shades: Bronze with golden undertones, Blush with pink undertones, and Berry that’s a little more vibrant. None of these are lip stains, but they hold up pretty well. Feel free to layer the color to disguise white patches.
Not to worry, this is all-mineral protection with 12.5% zinc oxide. There are no chemical sunscreen filters in the tube. Still, remember to reapply it every couple of hours to maintain a defense against UV rays.
In closing, we know that some people like to use blush as eye shadow, but this product hasn’t been tested for that purpose.
- Mineral-only lip balm/blush with 12.5% zinc oxide
- Three shades for all skin tones, buildable color
- Not recommended for use as eye shadow
If you have vitiligo, it’s crucial that you use sunscreen when you go outdoors or even sit by a window. The UV protection prevents sunburn and worse, plus it may keep your skin from tingling uncomfortably in sunlight.
We hope our reviews of various face and body sunscreens for vitiligo have helped you find what you need today. If you like what you got, come back and tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/vitiligo-discomfort-stops-with-sunscreen by The American Academy of Dermatology Association
2. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/vitiligo-common-cause-loss-skin-pigment Vitiligo and Loss of Skin Color, by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, published August 17, 2020
3. https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/zinc-oxide by INCI Decoder
4. https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/ethylhexyl-methoxycinnamate by INCI Decoder
5. https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/butyl-methoxydibenzoylmethane by INCI Decoder