As a reminder, visible light represents 45% of the electromagnetic spectrum, coming from LED bulbs, fluorescent light and light emitted by screens. Using Fitzpatrick skin types – a model that identifies the amount of pigment in the skin and how it will react to sunlight or lasers – researchers found that people with darker complexions, classified by Fitzpatrick skin types four to six, had excessive hyperpigmentation compared to those with Fitzpatrick skin types one to five.
“Emerging science shows that visible light has the ability to induce immediate darkening of pigments with exposure,” says Pearl Grimes, MD, certified dermatologist and director of the Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California. “This is a problem with people who have darker skin tones in your [Fitzpatrick type] three to six, and that’s a lot less of a problem with lighter skin tones. “
As for how to protect the skin from visible light – which, let’s be honest, is necessary enough to go about your daily business – a new study published last month in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology compared the prevention of hyperpigmentation in four Fitzpatrick types using iron oxide versus an SPF 50+ mineral-based sunscreen. To perform this research, dermatologists asked 40 patients to use broad-spectrum sunscreen and the other half to try an iron oxide formula. “Iron oxide was able to block visible light, unlike a competing mineral formulation SPF 50, which had no ability to absorb visible light,” says Dr. Grimes.
That’s not to say that SPF isn’t necessary either, because it is. While iron oxides protect well against visible light, they don’t do much against UV, so you’ll want to make sure you have a product that contains the two zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (UV blockers) as well as iron oxides. “Especially for women of color, we need to be really aware of the use of sunscreens that contain iron oxides,” certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, previously told Well + Good. Keep scrolling through iron oxide sunscreen products with this visible light blocking ingredient.
Buy iron oxide sunscreen
Dermablend Flawless Creator Liquid Foundation – $ 40.00
The recent study above used exactly this foundation from Dermablend, which has been shown to be effective in combating the effects of pigmentation on darker skin tones. The formula has full coverage that stays light as it protects and unifies your skin.
Isdinceutics mineral brush – $ 55.00
For easy-to-apply, all-day skin protection, use a powder-based SPF like this from Isdin. It contains a blend of mineral filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as well as iron oxide that you can dust off at midday to defend against photoaging.
Jane Iredale Glow Time – $ 50.00
For soft but subtle coverage, this BB cream unifies your complexion while offering your skin UVA and UVB protection based on minerals as well as iron oxides to fight against visible light rays.
For more must-have sun protection tips, watch the video below.
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