This New SPF Contains 2 Ingredients Derms Will Never Stop Recommending for Dark Spots and Melasma

Photo: Stocksy / Lucas Ottone
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There's no way around it—sun exposure makes hyperpigmentation worse. So protecting your skin with a solid sunscreen is key if you're prone to dark spots, melasma (a skin condition that causes patches of brown or gray discoloration on the face), and more. But the new SPF from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare takes hyperpigmentation protection to the next level—it's made with tranexamic acid, an ingredient that decreases melanin synthesis and thus inhibits hyperpigmentation, which is the overproduction of melanin, a pigment produced by cells in the skin that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color.

Experts In This Article
  • Dennis Gross, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

“Tranexamic acid is a great ingredient to combat pigmentation," says Dennis Gross, MD. "It works by blocking skin cells and melanocytes—aka the cells that produce pigment—from communicating with each other, leading to a reduction in pigmentation. It helps with everything from sun spots to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and there is even some anecdotal evidence suggesting it helps with melasma. Beyond pigmentation, it strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier—keeping hydration in and external irritants out."

Dr Dennis Gross All-Physical Ultimate Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++ ($42) is made with non-nano zinc oxide, a physical blocker that provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. SPF 50 means it protects against 98 percent of UVB light and PA++++ means it offers "extremely high" UVA protection (the highest ranking, BTW). And because mineral sunscreens work in part by reflecting visible light (the light that causes hyperpigmentation), they're extremely effective for hyperpigmentation-prone skin. But despite being a mineral sunscreen, it goes on totally sheer and feels super hydrating. With this formula, you're protected on all fronts.

"One of the biggest contributors to hyperpigmentation is sun exposure; by adding tranexamic acid to the ultimate defense SPF,  you are not only getting the protective benefits from zinc dioxide, you also have an added layer of protection against hyperpigmentation that may form as a result of sun exposure," says Dr. Gross. "When free radicals from the sun come into contact with skin, it sends our melanocytes into overdrive as a natural protective response. This results in dark spots and uneven skin tone."

Research has also found that the use of sunscreen alone can help prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. So the addition of tranexamic acid takes the brightening to the next level. Plus, it's got a blend of amazing skin hydrators like plumping hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera leaf gel, and more to leave your skin feeling hydrated, which isn't always the case with mineral sunscreens.

Bottom line: This sunscreen feels amazing on the skin, which is reason enough to pack it into your daily skin-care routine—especially as we creep closer to summer and all the sun exposure that comes with it.

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