What’s the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

sunblock vs sunscreen.jpg
What’s the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

(KUTV) There are two types of protective lotions – chemical and physical.

Sunblock, the physical kind, may contains both organic and non-organic ingredients that sit on top of the skin acting as a barrier between your skin and damaging UV rays by reflecting or scattering UVB light. Look for products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Sunscreen, the chemical kind, penetrates the skin and absorbs the UVA rays on the skin before they are able to reach and damage your dermal layer. Avobenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene are the active ingredients in deflecting harmful UV rays before they reach the protective outer epidermis layer of your skin.

UVA rays are the UV rays that are constant year round and contribute to aging of the skin. UVB rays are the burning rays and are primarily implicated in skin cancer. In order to fully protect your skin, choose a broad-spectrum sunblock that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Luckily these days, formulas often contain a mixture of both sunblocks and sunscreens.

Dr. Alston recommends a broad-spectrum sunblock. Sunblock ingredients should include zinc, titanium or both and remember to reapply frequently.

There are common misconceptions about SPF. SPF 15 doesn’t mean 15 minutes of protection. It means it will protect you 15 times longer compared to no sunblock. The higher the number the better. Dr. Alston recommends a minimum SPF of 30.

Consider your personal needs and habits when deciding the best sun protectant. You may also need to consider your application depending on activity level. For instance, if you’ll be in the water or sweating a lot, it is best to reapply frequently. Sensitive skin may fare better with sunblock since titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are less irritating than some ingredients found in sunscreen.

Adding sunscreen to your daily routine can block UVA, promoting graceful aging and UVB, which can keep your skin from burning. With this new knowledge, you can safely minimize your sun exposure risk and choose the right sunblock to best fit your lifestyle.