With today’s rising concern over the ozone hole and the increased number of cases of skin cancer, the talk about ways to protect the skin from the harmful action of sun rays can be heard everywhere, from TV and radio, to awareness campaigns and lectures. All of them focus on the need to protect the skin from the negative consequences of overexposure to the sun, like sunburns, premature aging, wrinkles and freckles and, more importantly, skin cancer.
Everybody knows that the skin must be protected with a lotion during exposure to sun, whether it is a sunblock or a sunscreen However, most people confuse the two types of products, that in fact have very different actions, ingredients and effects.
The reason why people should know the difference between sunblock and sunscreen is that they can be able to choose the product that suits the best their skin type and their specific needs.
What is sunblock?
Sunblock, much like its name suggests, blocks the sunrays from penetrating the skin. Sunblock contains metals like zinc oxide and titanium oxide that scatter the rays, both UVA and UVB rays, that reflect on them. This product does not contain chemicals, which makes it suitable even for very sensitive skin, and for babies too.
The main reason why most people avoid sunblock is that it is opaque and it can be quite messy and unappealing, especially when everyone wants to look their best at the beach. However, there are sunblocks today that are transparent and virtually invisible just like sunscreen, so this should not be a problem.
It is important to read carefully the ingredients listed on the label, because some manufacturers advertise their product as sunblock, while in fact it is a sunscreen. There are also products that combine sunblock and sunscreen.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is much more popular than sunblock, mostly because it is completely transparent and also often contains the ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin. This product works by absorbing the UV rays, but the problem is that it only works against UVA and not UVB rays. Therefore, the protection it offers cannot be considered complete.
In addition, sunscreen products often contain ingredients that can irritate the skin and cause allergies and side effects. Reglardless of this, it has been found that sunscreen is the bets product for skin protection against sunburns.
The important thing to consider in both sunblock and sunscreen is the SPF or the sun protection factor. The higher it is the better protection it offers and it allows more time spent in the sun.