Sunscreen vs sunblock: Is there a difference? Sunscreen vs sunblock: Is there a difference?
Hooray! Time to head down for a fun time at the beach! But wait, first things first: Apply sunblock! Or is it sunscreen? Is there... Sunscreen vs sunblock: Is there a difference?

Hooray! Time to head down for a fun time at the beach! But wait, first things first: Apply sunblock! Or is it sunscreen? Is there even a difference?

Well, if you didn’t know beforehand, let us be the first to tell you that there is a difference! Sunscreen and sunblock varies in what it’s made out of, and in how it protects you from the sun.

So without further ado: The differences between sunblock and sunscreen!


One of the differences between sunblock and sunscreen is in how it protects you from the sun. For example, sunblock blocks out the sun through physical means. As the active ingredients in sunblocks are zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which when applied to your skin, scatters the UV rays before they reach the protective outer layer of your skin. It basically acts as a reflective barrier between your skin and the UV light.
Sunscreen, on the other hand, protects you from the sun with chemicals that penetrate the skin and absorbs the UV rays before they are able to damage your inner skin layer. Usually made up of ingredients such as ecamsule, which blocks out photoaging UV rays.
Another difference lies in that sunblock blocks out UVB rays, while sunscreen blocks out UVA rays. The A in UVA stands for aging, while the B in UVA stands for burning. UVB causes damage to the more superficial skin layers, causing reddening and sunburns, and in extreme cases, skin cancer. Although significantly weaker than UVB, UVA penetrates the skin and causes skin aging and wrinkling, and contributes to the onset of skin cancer.
Sunblocks were made to shield against UVB rays, while sunscreens prevent damage from UVA. Use a formula with a mixture of both sunblock and sunscreen, so that you can fully protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays.


How to slather?

Just to note, applying both sunblock and sunscreen at the same time does not give you extra protection. Apply sunscreen at last half an hour before going out into the sun, to allow your skin to completely absorb it first.

Furthermore, do not apply too much sun lotion, and the recommended amount of lotion to apply is an ounce.


To Reapply or Not to Reapply?

If you happen to be someone who tends to sweat buckets and buckets, then you may want to consider reapplying your lotion frequently. Take note to apply sun lotion only as much as your activity demands, and not too much. Also, if you have sensitive skin, sunblock would be the better choice as the zinc and titanium found in it will not irritate your skin as much as some of the ingredients that sunscreen contains.

It is recommended that you do not apply sunscreen too often, only at times where you will be spending a large amount of time under the sun, as the chemicals in the lotions may become toxic to the skin after an excessive amount of application. Besides, you still need the occasional dose of vitamin D from the sun.

However, actively applying sunscreen and using protection against the sun will promote graceful aging, and prevent the risk of sunburns or even skin cancer!


Wayne Chan

An idealist at heart, Wayne struggles to reconcile the world in his mind and the world at large. Still, he's not going to let his internal strife stop him from positively impacting the world!

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