What’s the Difference Of Sunscreen and Sunblock?

January 5, 2019

If you went to the beach with only one thing, it would be sunscreen. But when you stop by the drugstore to stock up and start reading product labels, you’ll notice that there are two types: sunscreen and sunblock. What’s the difference between the two, and is one better than the other? Health spoke to a dermatologist to help us decipher the fine print and unpack the benefits and drawbacks.

Sunscreens and sunscreens: the basics section.
Sunscreen contains organic chemical compounds such as octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate and ecamsule, which rely on chemical reactions to absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the skin, London-based dermatologist Cristina Psomadakis told Health.

On the other hand, sunscreens contain minerals such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that physically block UV rays. So, the main difference between sunscreen and sunblock is the way they protect the skin from UV rays. Sunscreen is so named because it literally blocks UV rays by forming a physical shield, whereas sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb UV rays before your skin does.

Sunscreens and sunscreens are also used differently. Because sunscreen only works when it is absorbed by your skin, it needs to be applied. But you can simply apply the sunscreen because it acts as a physical barrier. You must apply the sunscreen evenly, though, because UV rays can reach any exposed part of the skin, no matter how small. Because sunscreen is not rubbed in, it usually leaves a white shade on the skin that disappears completely.

Generally, sunscreens are designed to protect against UVA rays, which can promote skin damage. However, sunscreens are formulated to stop the damage caused by UVB rays, which can lead to sunburn. However, many sunscreens and sunscreens check both boxes to help prevent wrinkles and sunburn.

Do sunscreens and sunscreens have side effects?
When used correctly, sunscreen should have minimal side effects. It’s important to choose the right product for your skin type, especially if you have sensitive skin.” As with anything applied to the skin, there’s a chance of irritation or skin reaction,” Connecticut dermatologist Rhonda Q. Klein, MD, tells Health.

“Some sunscreens contain oils that can cause acne,” New York City dermatologist Deborah Jaliman, MD, tells Health.” Others may sting or cause itching if you have very sensitive skin.”

Is sunscreen or sunblock better?
Both types of sunscreen have their pros and cons, Dr. Psomadakis said. She advises people with sensitive skin or skin conditions to use sunscreen because some of the ingredients in chemical sunscreens can cause irritation or allergic reactions. But in the end, the best sunscreen is one you enjoy using and that fits your needs.

Dr. Klein believes that the advantage of sunscreen is that it doesn’t have any chemicals that could cause irritation.” Because physical sunscreens are located on the surface of the skin, they are well tolerated by even the most sensitive skin types,” she explains.

All sunscreens and sunscreens come with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor). The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of UVB rays. Keep in mind, though, that while a higher SPF blocks more of the sun’s UVB rays, no sunscreen will block them 100 percent.

What products do dermatologists recommend?

For a general body sunscreen, Dr. Jaliman recommends Badger Unscented Sunscreen SPF 30 ($13.86; amazon.com).” It contains a very high (18.75 percent) concentration of zinc oxide, is waterproof for 40 minutes, and is fragrance-free, making it suitable for those with fragrance sensitivities,” she says. Best of all, it contains moisturizing sunflower oil and the antioxidant vitamin E.

For sensitive skin, or skin prone to eczema or rosacea, Dr. Jaliman recommends EltaMD UV Physical Broad Spectrum Sunscreen ($26.40; dermstore.com).” It has a high concentration of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and provides UVA and UVB protection,” she says.

Keep in mind that sunscreen isn’t just for your body, and dermatologists recommend wearing it year-round-not just when the sun is out. (Clouds can block some UV rays, but not all.)Dr. Klein’s favorites for everyday use on the face are ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica ($55.00; amazon.com) and EltaMD UV Pure Broad Spectrum ($21.20; dermstore.com).