• Melissa Tamesar

Sunblock vs. Sunscreen Part 2

In my last blog post, we discussed the science behind how the sun affects our skin and the potential conditions it may cause. Today, we’ll discuss the difference between sunblock and sunscreen. Sun protection is vital to our everyday skin care routine, however, knowing what product to use is where it gets tricky for some. It’s important to note that UV rays are at their strongest between the hours of 10am and 3pm, so if you are going out during those hours, that’s when sun protection is needed the most!

Sunblock specifically assists with protection from UVB rays. If you’re someone who burns easily, then sunblock is probably the best protection for you! The consistency of sunblock is a lot thicker than sunscreen because it’s essentially a layered shield going on top of your skin. This layer doesn’t allow UV rays to penetrate through to your skin. The key ingredients in sunblock are zinc oxide and titanium, which causes it to be thicker and more opaque when you apply it. The downfall to sunblock is that it may cause acne because of how thick it is. If you are going to use sunblock this summer, then make sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin thereafter.

If sunblock takes care of the UVB rays, then sunscreen protects from UVA rays! The “A” stands for “aging”. Sunscreens that are labeled “broad spectrum” protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens are not as thick as sunblock and instead of creating a layer that prevents the sun from getting in, it absorbs some of the rays before it touches your skin. Although sunscreen comes with higher levels of SPF (which is the level of sun protection it provides) it’s still unable to absorb all the sun rays, which can be harmful to your skin. The key ingredients in sunscreen are avobenzone and benzophenone which are the elements that absorb the sun. These ingredients also can give you acne breakouts or overall skin irritation, especially for sensitive skin.

If you’re still undecided about which product to use, consider the length of time you’ll be in the sun, what activities you’ll be doing, and how sensitive your skin is. I can’t stress the importance of using sun protection, especially if you’re getting treatments like chemical peels, or laser treatments during the summer. The sun rays are can be very harsh to our skin, and it’s up to us to prevent the damage before it occurs.