Difference between Sunscreen and a Sunblock?
Sunscreens are the lotions/creams that, true to their names, “screen” or reflect the harmful UV rays of the sun but let the other not-so-harmful rays to pass through. It’s like, having a glass window as a shield that lets the light enter your room, at the same time, protecting you from the bugs and mosquitoes.
Sunblocks, on the other hand, totally BLOCK the UV rays to penetrate into the skin. There’s no question of harmful or not-so-harmful with them. They just don’t allow the rays to pass through at all. They are often used by individuals with extremely sensitive skin (prone to rashes/sunburns)
So, now we’re left with this question- Which is better? Sunscreen or Sunblock?
We are faced with literally hundreds of bottles of lotions at the store these days. How can you decide what is best? The answer is that it depends on your needs and requirements. Just keep the following points in mind:
- If you have a very sensitive skin, and you just can’t avoid being in the sun for long hours, then you must surely go for a sunblock.
- Though on the face of it, the sunblocks have a clear advantage over the sunscreen products, however, it’s important to note that the Sunblock products are thicker as compared to sunscreen products. This is partly due to the “zinc oxide” or titanium dioxide that is usually, present in sunblock products. This is why sunblock products often come in paste form.
- Sunblocks are hard to blend and usually, end up leaving a white cast on the face. Remember,the cricketers or athletes on the field-that’s one of the example of the application of a sunblock.
- Sunscreen products tend to be more liquid in their concentration being water or oil based. It’s a lot easier to spread on the skin as compared to sunblock products.
- Sunscreen products are a lot easier to be washed off by water, and even by your sweat. On the other hand, Sunblock products are a lot harder to wash off from your skin. You can swim for long periods of time on the beach and still have the sunblock on your skin.
The good news is that most of the products today are a good mixture of both the sunblock and sunscreen ingredients.
Whether you're buying a sunscreen or a sunblock, just make sure the following:
- It should provide “broad spectrum protection covering UVA and UVB”,
- If it’s a sunblock, then it should contain one or two of these ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide or Avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789).
How to apply your Sunscreen or Sunblock?
It’s best to have a separate moisturizer and a sunscreen lotion. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Apply moisturizer 10 or 15 minutes prior to the application of the sunscreen. Apply sunscreen liberally, A thick layer is always better. Re-application of sunscreen every 2-3 hours is also important, in case you sweat a lot.
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More in "Beat the Heat" Series:
- What's SPF? How much is best for me?
- Un-Tan your skin -Get rid of the sun tan.
- Get rid of those Sunburns and rashes
- Four Must Have Healthy,Delicious and Refreshing Indian Drinks this Summer
- 3 sunscreen/Sunblocks available in India that I recommend