Choosing Sunscreen for Pigmented Skin

Sunlight is one of the major factors of having age spots or hyperpigmentation. This is in a way that extended exposure to the sun can aggravate the effects of age spots and pigmentation of the skin.   This happens when the skin absorbs too much ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D production is provoked by ultraviolet rays. Too much ultraviolet rays causes skin injury and aging.

An effective solution against the sun’s harmful rays is using sunscreen. The function of sunscreen is either to obstruct or absorb the UV rays from the sun. Sunscreens specifically restrain two kinds of UV rays, the UVA and UVB. UVA is responsible for cell mutation, thus melanoma, while UVB destroys the skin resulting to sunburn. The problem against sunscreens is its unbalanced protection, when UVA is disregarded and UVB is blocked, which can cause more skin damage. In selecting the best sunscreen, especially for people who already have age spots and hyperpigmentation, what should be put in mind?

You have to know what type of skin you have first. There are 6 skin types according to Fitzpatrick (1975).

Type I         (1-5 von Luschan scale) very light (celtic/Nordic)
Type II    (6-10 von Luschan scale) light
Type III    (11-15 von Luschan scale) light intermediate, dark skinned European
Type IV    (16-21 von Luschan scale) dark intermediate, Mediterranean
Type V        (22-28 von Luschan scale) dark/ brown type
Type IV    (29-36 von Luschan scale) very dark/black

After that, list down all the things you’ll be doing that will involve the use of sunscreen. You can already determine what sunscreen will be suited for you.  But you also have to look at its Sun Protection Factor. The Sun Protection Factor determines how much protection a sunscreen can provide the user.   The average SPF measurement is up to 50. The effectiveness of sunscreens also depend on its components so look for avobenzone, ecamsule and zinc oxide on the ingredients list of your sunscreen.

Sunscreens also come in many forms, be it gel, lotion or creams. There are also whitening lotions that have SPF, although they are not as effective as true sunscreens. But it is best to use plain sunscreen for optimal protection. It is up to you to find what would be the best sunscreen suited for you, your skin and your lifestyle.

However, it must be put in mind that sunscreens are not the medication for age spots and pigmentation. The only thing that sunscreens can give to people with age spots or hyperpigmentation is preventing it from getting worse. If you want to totally get rid of your age spots or hyperpigmented skin, then consulting a dermatologist is recommended.