Difference Between Sunblock and Sunscreen

Without the sun, life on earth would not be possible. It also keeps the planets on their axis, meaning it keeps everything in check not only on earth but also in a few more planets and stars. The earth has a protective layer, much like a shield that keeps harmful rays of the sun away called the ozone layer. Human activities have led to the degradation of the layer, and now the intense and damaging rays of the sun seep through.

Extended periods in the sun will have effects that may cause sunburn, skin cancer, and fast tracks the process of aging. Sunscreen and the sun block help in protecting you against the effects of this harmful UV rays. A large number of the population use the two terms interchangeably. Below are the differences between sun block and sunscreen.


Sunscreen is less visible on the skin after application while sun block appears as a white paste on the skin. This difference in the characteristics protects you differently from the UV rays of the sun. Sunscreen filters the UV rays of the sun, keeping the harmful rays out while letting some penetrate. No sunscreen can give 100% protection.

Due to the nature of sun block, it reflects the rays of the sun from the skin completely.

Chemicals Used

Most of the sun block available on the market today uses titanium oxide or zinc oxide as ingredients. This makes sun block to have a thicker and more thick consistency, which makes it visible on the skin and harder to spread all over the body.

Sunscreen contains benzophenones, cinnamates, and salicylates, which actively protects you from the UV A and UV B rays. Some people are allergic to certain ingredients in sunscreen and so make a scrutiny of the label for the ingredients used before purchasing sunscreen.

Sun Protection Factor

The sun protection factor scale determines the effectiveness of sunscreen. The SPF is the levels used in estimating the amount of UV radiation that it will take to cause sunburn on your skin. Dermatologists suggest that the sunscreen you use should have an SPF of at least 30, which protects you from 97% of the UV rays.

Sun block, on the other hand, does not appear on the SPF scale since it blocks out the sun’s rays from your skin.


To protecting yourself from the harmful sun rays, apply the sun block or sunscreen at least half an hour before going out in the sun. The nature of sunscreen makes it prone to washing off by your sweat as well as water and will need re-application. After every two hours, re-apply your sunscreen to maintain the protection.

The nature of sun block makes it hard to wash off with water. This makes it a better option if you are going to stay extended periods in the sun. Use up to one ounce of sun block per day to give the necessary protection against the UV rays.

When going out pay particular attention to your face, ears, arms, and hands, this is because they are the most prone areas to sunburn. Spread sunscreen or sun block on each part of your body. Another area that gets serious sunburn is the lips, and most people pay little attention to them. Apply a lip balm that has sunscreen of SPF of 15 and above.

The use of sunscreen and sun block is necessary if you are going out into the sun for more than twenty minutes. The reflective ability of the sun is quite high, 17% on the sand and 80% on snow you should not only use sun protection on the searing hot summer days but cloudy days as well.

Recently introduced is waterproof sunscreen, but it starts to wash off after one and a half hours, so reapplication is necessary. Despite the pasty nature of sun block, some zinc oxide-based sun block is now available on the market. They are brightly colored and are as effective as the traditional sun blocks.

How to Choose Sunscreen and Sun Block

• Dermatologists suggest that your skin tone should direct the SPF levels you should buy. Fair and light skinned people burn more quickly than darker people will. Be assured of protection from UV radiation with at least an SPF level of 15. Re-application should be as per to the instructions on the pack.
• Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against the radiation effects of UV A and UV B. Some ingredients used by some manufacturers in sunscreen accelerate the consequences of the sun on your skin. Oxybenzone causes hormonal disruption and damage cells speeding up the risk of cancer. Incorporated for its anti-aging properties in sunscreen, retinyl palmitate accelerates the damage by the sun. Go for a sunscreen without fragrance for kids with sensitive skin. Be careful to read the label and watch out for these harmful ingredients.

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