Melanin Maintenance: The Best Sunscreen For Brown Skin

July 6, 2016  |  
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Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Not all sunscreen is created equal. Some are oily and greasy, others leave a white, chalky film on your body. This can deter people from using sunscreen, along with the misconception that melanin-rich skin doesn’t need sunblock. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Brown skin is still susceptible to both sunburn and skin cancer, yet, according to a 2010 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 63 percent of African Americans never use sunscreen.

The advantages of using sunscreen – year round, not solely during the summertime – are obvious. Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from sun damage, but many of the sunscreens on this list also reduce the appearance of discoloration and hyperpigmentation. And with clear zinc and other types of formulas, they also go on translucent. So, which sunscreens are best for brown skin? Here are a few options you should consider. If you favor one in particular, a brand not included here, share it with us and your fellow Noirettes in the comment section.


This brand of sunscreen, infused with skin-fortifying ingredients like white ginger, passion flower and plantain extracts, is specifically formulated for darker skin tones.

CeraVe Sunscreen 50 SPF

This lightweight, oil-free sunscreen contains invisible zinc technology, which translates to a clear finish on your skin, as well as ceramides, which help to maintain your skin’s natural protective barrier.

NeoStrata Skin Active Matrix Support SPF 30

Definitely the most expensive sunblock on this list (retail value of $72), NeoStrata’s sunscreen contains an antioxidant complex of pomegranates and vitamins A & E, as well as ingredients that increase collagen and reduce the appearance of discoloration.

Image: L'Oreal

Image: L’Oreal

L’Oreal Paris Invisible Protect 30

L’Oreal’s UVA/UVB broad spectrum sunscreen is water resistant (80 minutes) and, best of all, goes on clear.

Image: Sensai

Image: Sensai

SENSAI Silky Bronze Cellular Protective Stick SPF30

Smooth, water resistant and replete with ingredients that fight aging skin, SENSAI’s protective stick is lightweight and has the added bonus of fitting easily in your purse.

SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50

In addition to zinc oxide and broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, SkinCeuticals’ non-comedogenic sunscreen minimizes the appearance of pores and provides a matte finish, even in hot, humid climates.


Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation SPF50+

Ultrasun’s anti-ageing, water-resistant formula sunscreen hydrates skin, is free of oils, perfume and emulsifiers, and is ideal for skin that’s prone to pigmentation.


Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This oil-free, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic moisturizer, which contains a soy complex and helps prevent sunburn, is proven to even skin tone and texture.

Aveeno’s face and body sunscreen protects and hydrates skin as well, and is available in SPF 30, 45 and 60.

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