When you are ready a day out in the sun, you are going to want to wear something to protect your skin. When it comes to protection, will probably have to choose between sunscreen and sunblock. Despite these two types of sun protection usually being used interchangeably, they are different from each other.
The main difference between sunscreen and sunblock are the active ingredients used. Typically these protection methods will fall into one of two major categories, either chemical or physical.
Sunscreen uses chemicals in the form of highly concentrated ingredients that are designed to filter out ultraviolet radiation that could harm your skin, while still allowing some rays in. Most of the time this thin filter is not highly visible, but rather leaves a shiny protective layer that isn't too distracting. Chemical sunscreens are designed to absorb both UVB and UVA rays, the long wave and short wave variations of the sun's rays.
Sunblock, instead of using chemical protective measures contain physical properties such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which are designed to block UVR, or ultraviolet radiation effectively.
Sunblock is designed as a broad measure to effectively completely cut out both UVB and UVA rays. The problem with Sunblock is that, most of the time, people just simply don't like the messy feeling of having it on the body. The visible, sometimes sticky or greasy mess is not exactly a winning combination for comfort.
Simply apply either sunscreen or sunblock gently to areas that are exposed to the sun, if you feel you are going to be in the sun for 20 minutes or more. Remember that sun can pass through clouds, so regardless of weather you should use either generously. Sunscreen needs to be applied every few hours in order to protect you properly, as the chemicals that offer protection break down in the sun and lose effectiveness. On the other hand, sunblock only needs to be applied after you have been exposed to moisture, such as after a dip in the ocean. If you're planning ahead, 30 minutes before you go outdoors is generally recommended to allow time for the protection to set in.
How to Choose
Confused yet? It's understandable, but once you get out of the ins and outs of the major differences, you'll be happy to know that many popular protection methods contain both sunblock and sunscreen, including many popular lotion brands.
If you want a pure sunblock or a pure sunscreen, make sure you read the fine print on the bottle before you purchase. Another important thing to look at is SPF rating. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommend that you get a product with a minimum rating of 30, that means you don't have to spend extra to buy one just because it has a higher rating, the minimum amount is sufficient. The SPF rating is designed to match the amount of time you can spend in the sun without burning.
Apart from that, sunscreen versus sunblock come down to a matter of personal preference depending on the type of activity. If you are going to be hiking for many hours, you would probably want to apply sunblock in order to not have to reapply all day long. If you are going swimming or to the beach, you might want to use sunscreen as you will have to reapply after swimming or exposure to water.
Be Aware of Allergies
It should go without saying that because this is a highly potent product, it's wise to consult your doctor if you feel you might have an allergic reaction to any sunscreen or sunblock products. Many skin product companies make lotions specifically designed to help those who suffer from allergic reactions to ingredients, so if you feel you may have a reaction, stop taking your current product immediately and consult a professional. As a side note, many recommend not purchasing a product that contains Vitamin A, or its derivatives, as this is feared to speed up the cancer process.
Despite the differences, both sunscreen and sunblock provide excellent protection from the harmful rays of the sun. When used correctly they can prevent signs of early aging, skin cancer, severe burns and skin dryness. If you have neglected using sunblock for many years, and have started to notice signs of sun damage, contact your dermatologist to ensure that any problem with your skin is benign and not potentially harmful.
Ever since I was a young girl, I have had bad asthma and allergies. I had to stay in the hospital several times when I was in elementary school just to help get my asthma under control and it seemed like I was trying medication after medication with little success. I don't remember all of my childhood health details, since I was so young, but my mother has "filled in the blanks" for me. Thanks to modern medicine and a natural remedy, my health conditions are currently under control and have been for a few years now. I am very grateful for my good health, and I want to "pay it back" to others by creating a blog where I will post my health tips. I hope I can help you learn how to achieve good health!