Best Melasma Treatments & Skincare

Elta MD Sunscreen vs iS Clinical SPF 50 Tinted Sunscreen Moisturizers

Tinted Sunscreen moisturizer reviews - Zinc oxide sunscreens from Elta MD, iS Clinical and Josh Rosebrook

In San Diego, it’s easy to remember to wear sunscreen all year long because the weather is almost always perfect for venturing outdoors. But I even wear it on cloudy days. Or if I’m not sure how much I will be going outside. As a gal who has dealt with melasma for almost 15 years, I understand how critical a good quality SPF can be to healing my melasma, and decreasing the look of an upper lip melasma mustache 🙂

I’ll be making more updates to my best mineral sunscreens for melasma guide, but I wanted to call out 2 new sunscreens I’ve been trying this year, and one of them may surprise you. And keep in mind I still need to work through which of the sunscreens I recommend are likely reef-safe sunscreens. But I also love sunscreens that can wear well underneath different types of foundation, so this year I set out to find some new sunscreen favorites to add to my skincare routine.

IS Clinical Sunscreen Review – is IS Clinical Worth It?

I had been meaning to try IS Clinical for a few years now. I knew my next steps this year would be more professional lines like Biologique Recherche, IS Clinical or SkinCeuticals. I first tried IS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50 after my amazing Biologique Recherche facial here in San Diego in February and I was blown away. But I was good and worked to shop my own stash before purchasing in May. And now I’ve been wearing it most days. And as I share in Instagram, my face has never looked better despite all the stress of this year.

Honestly, I start to get a litter nervous each day when I put it on as the last step in my skincare routine. I’m going through it so quickly! But still, the price is better than the Josh Rosebrook mineral SPF I used to wear more often.

I’ve been absolutely loving my iS CLINICAL Eclipse SPF 50+ PerfecTint Beige. It’s hardly tinted, doesn’t leave a white cast and should blend in well for most light skin tones. Unfortunately, I don’t know how well this would look for dark skin tones and I’m going to write to the brand to understand where color expansion is on their roadmap.

This IS Clinical sunscreen feels more like skincare – it is a very emollient and moisturizing creamy formula that absorbs very quickly on my dry skin. I do however wear a moisturizer underneath as well. I used to wear my Josh Rosebrook SPF as both a day cream and SPF, but honestly, that was not hydrating and moisturizing enough for my dehydrated and sensitive skin. And I love that this IS Clinical Eclipse SPF has no scent, vs the blue tansy scent of Josh Rosebrook.

Per IS Clinical’s site description, this sunscreen “is a unique fusion of scientifically advanced physical sunscreens – transparent titanium dioxide and micronized zinc oxide – coupled with pure vitamin E. This antioxidant-rich blend provides superior water-resistant broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection”. If it’s important to you, this sunscreen is paraben-free. And it does fit within my fluid spectrum of cleaner skincare that is non-irritating on my sensitive skin. It of course has a lot of synthetic ingredients, which honestly my skin needs in a moisturizer (more on that another time).

If you have an aesthetician you should buy it through him or her. But you can also find IS Clinical at or the below-linked picture drives you to Amazon below * for $45 and Prime shipping.

3 awesome zinc oxide tinted sunscreens that can be worn well under makeup
3 awesome zinc oxide tinted sunscreens that can be worn well under makeup. Swatches of Elta MD UV Daily tinted sunscreen, iS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50 and Josh Rosebrook

Elta MD Sunscreen – Why do people love this sunscreen?

When I visited my family back home in Louisiana last year, I saw Elta MD in my mom’s skincare stash. And then I heard and saw it everywhere. At first, I tried it and I couldn’t understand what the big deal was? At the time I was mostly wearing my beloved AKT Therapy Elemental Sun Balm or Josh Rosebrook SPF. **You can Save 15% on my favorite sunscreen AKT Therapy Elemental Sun Balm at* or with code MAGGIE15 (hi friends! if you like my recommendations and buy through my affiliate link I may make a tiny fraction to put towards to upkeep of my blog)

Let’s put aside for a minute the ongoing study into SPF ingredients by the FDA. I don’t take a fear-based approach (most of the time) to skincare (anymore) but there are a few reasons I don’t normally use chemical sunscreens. (1) I hate the smell and the taste of chemical sunscreens. They linger. If I’m around someone (pre-Covid 🙂 ) and they are wearing it and give me a hug or sit in my car, I will continue to smell their sunscreen and I swear the particles just make their way into my nose and mouth and I can’t stand it. (We became very sensitive to scents in my house after our switch to remove artificial fragrance and use fragrance-free detergent about 8 years ago).

My second reason for not liking to use chemical sunscreens? From my personal experience, they don’t work as well to reduce melasma flare-ups or prevent future melasma. I’ve found they do protect against sunburn, but not melasma. It took me a long time to draw this conclusion. And not what that I considered lightly. I think it’s very important for everyone to wear sunscreen every day and it’s more important to me that you wear sunscreen than delay wearing it because you’re not sure what type to wear. Or if you can’t afford the $35+ sunscreen I recommend. I didn’t start seeing significant melasma and hyperpigmentation improvement until I started wearing really high-quality physical sunscreens.

And lastly, I was wearing and regularly reapplying a popular chemical sunscreen when my melasma first developed one summer’s day on Sullivan’s Island South Carolina many moons ago.

So was I hesitant to try a chemical sunscreen? Absolutely. But I needed to understand what the fuss with Elta MD was all about.

I’ve been trying the EltaMD Skincare UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40, Tinted. And I think one major reason this sunscreen doesn’t bother me like other chemical sunscreens is because it is both a physical and chemical sunscreen. It contains 9% zinc odixe (micronized) plus 7.5% octinoxate. The zinc oxide definitely gives me more confidence and I think it cuts down on the side affects and smell of chemical sunscreen I don’t like. This formula is scent free. I think it would work fine for even more sensitive skin than mine. But personally, despite the addition of hyaluronic acid in this EltaMD sunscreen, I find the IS Clinical Eclipse to be more hydrating.

I also don’t think the tint in the Elta MD sunscreen is as universal as the IS Clinical. It is more yellow. However, it does blend in well to be almost undetectable, in lighter skin tones.

The price difference between these two sunscreens is actually only $6 at I can see why people like Elta MD sunscreen, but I think if they tried the IS Clinical Eclipse, they would love it and feel the $45 is worth it. Actually I found it for even less on Amazon and with Prime shipping.

You really can’t go wrong with either of these UVA/UVB protection sunscreens. And if you are concerned about chemical vs physical, just choose a sunscreen you will wear and check out this helpful one-sheeter from

Tinted Sunscreen swatches - moisturizing mineral, physical and chemical sunscreen from Elta MD, zinc oxide sunscreen from iS Clinical and Josh Rosebrook
Tinted Sunscreen swatches – moisturizing mineral, physical and chemical sunscreen from Elta MD, zinc oxide sunscreen from iS Clinical and Josh Rosebrook

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