Home Beauty Difference Between Sunscreen and Sunblock: Here is What Your Dermatologist Wants You to Know

Difference Between Sunscreen and Sunblock: Here is What Your Dermatologist Wants You to Know

difference in sunscreen and sunblock

I am sure that when you visit a supermarket or pharmacy, you must have seen some products labelled as “sunscreen” and “sunblock”. Not only this, if you are scrolling down through your Instagram, you might have noticed the recommendation of “sunscreen” and “sunblock” for your skincare routine. Right?!

Even though the words are interchangeably used, you might wonder if there is any difference between sunscreen and sunblock. And if there is any difference, which one should you use? And most of all what are these products used for? 

So, No Need to Worry. We’ve got your back!

You would be definitely astonished to know that there is without a doubt the difference between sunscreen and sunblock. So, this blog is for you, in order to help you understand the difference between sunscreen and sunblock. And to guide you which one you should buy as per your skin.

Sunscreen vs Sunblock: How They Protect Your Skin

Like many other people, you might know that sunscreen and sunblock are the same. However, both of these are different forms of skin care products used for sun protection. Now let’s have a look at the difference between sunscreen and sunblock. 

Sunscreen: How it Works

It is one of the most common types of sun protectant. Just as the name indicates, it screens and filters the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. Sunscreen is basically a chemical compound that has the ability to absorb and weaken the UV rays wavelengths. These wavelengths or else would affect the skin otherwise. It helps in keeping away most of the rays. But, since no product gives 100% protection, for this very reason it lets some rays in. 

Sunscreen is also known as “chemical sunscreen”. The reason it is called chemical sunscreen is that the chemical compound in the sunscreen would absorb the UV rays and prevent it from affecting your skin. Sunscreen is more like a window that reduces the effect of the harmful UV rays.

Sunblock: How it Works

Just like the word block in its name, it blocks the UV rays from the sun from penetrating the skin. It is known as a physical sunscreen. The reason being, that it physically reflects the rays of the sun from penetrating the skin. 

Difference Between Sunscreen and Sunblock Ingredients

Different types of sunscreen and sunblock use different ingredients to protect our skin from the harmful effect of UV rays. This is the other main difference between sunscreen and sunblock.

Ingredients in Sunscreen

Sunscreen has a variety of chemicals in it that protect your skin from harmful UV rays by absorbing them and avoiding them from penetrating your skin. Avobenzone and oxybenzone are two of the active ingredients in sunscreen. People who are allergic or sensitive to chemicals like para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA avoid using sunscreen and opt for sunblock. 

You also need to check the label of the sunscreens if you don’t want to have any oils or fragrances in the sunscreen. Some sunscreens also have either natural or chemical insect repellent in them. You need to avoid using such sunscreen that has insect repellent chemicals in them. Because insect repellent should be applied in small amounts and sparingly. While sunscreen needs to be reapplied often. 

Ingredients in SunBlock

Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the two active ingredients in sunblock. Due to these two ingredients, sunblock is thick in its consistency. However, people with sensitive skin often opt for sunblock instead of sunscreen. The reason is that zinc oxide and titanium oxide are less irritating as compared to the ingredients of the sunscreen.

In the case of sunblock for children, the ingredient can be either zinc oxide or titanium oxide. These sunblocks are good for children of age 6 years and above. Some think it’s a disadvantage as it’ll become difficult to spread and apply all over the body.

Sunblocks are also mostly opaque. It means that after applying, they can be seen on the skin. This makes sunblock unappealing. There are, however, some brands that offer sunblock with less- visibility.

Many brands today use a mixture of both sunscreen and sunblock so it’s important that you need to check the ingredients before buying if you are sensitive to any chemical.

Sunscreen Vs Sunblock: Benefits and Risks

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and protects you from various germs and harsh environments. Even if your skin is protecting you from the harmful rays of the sun, it doesn’t mean that you go out without protecting your skin. Without sunscreen and sunblock on your skin, you are putting your skin at risk of various health problems. 

Here are some further differences between sunscreen and sunblock on the basis of benefits and risks that you need to know. 

Sunscreen and Sunblock Benefits

We all use various products for glowing skin and opt for the best home remedies for skin. But, with age, our skin is bound to get old. Skin ageing can be triggered by sun exposure and an unhealthy lifestyle. So, no matter how good a skincare routine you have, if you aren’t using sunscreen, your skin is prone to vulnerable skin issues. There are no major differences between sunscreen and sunblock when it comes to benefits as both work good for your skin.

Sunblock and Sunscreen benefits include:

  • Reduces ageing signs
  • Limit the sunspot appearance
  • Protect your skin from sunburn
  • Avoid broken blood vessels
  • The risk of skin cancer is reduced

Sunblock and Sunscreen Disadvantages 

Now let’s have a look at the disadvantages of sunscreen and sunblock. Where on one hand sunscreen protects the skin, it has some potential risks as well. Side effects of sunscreen and sunblock are due to some of the ingredients in it that can cause irritation and redness. Some of these ingredients might even cause your skin to be more sensitive. In this case, you need to consult your dermatologist to get other sunscreen having ingredients fit for your skin. 

In rare cases side effects of sunscreen and sunblock can be:

  • Acne
  • Stinging, itching and burning of the skin
  • Swelling and redness on the skin
  • Pus in the hair follicles
  • Pain in the hairy area
  • Late appearance of the rashes

If any such symptoms appear, you need to visit your medical healthcare provider without a delay and stop using the product immediately. 

Sunblock vs Sunscreen Which is Better?

Both sunscreen and sunblock are excellent products used for sun protection. You are actually good to go if you choose such a product out of these two that provide protection against both UVA and UVB  rays and are also sweat-resistant and water-resistant.

You need to also check the SPF of the sunscreen and sunscreen. It is basically a sun protection factor. It measures the amount of solar energy needed to cause sunburn when you are wearing sunscreen on your face. SPF of 30 can prevent about 97% of UVB rays from affecting your skin and about 98% of UV rays are blocked by SPF 50. There is no such thing as 100% protection. However, while you are using higher SPF, they need to be reapplied as they don’t last long. 

Before buying, make sure you check the number on the product that specifies for how long the sunscreen would be effective while sweating or swimming. You should opt for sunscreen or sunblock with SPF 30+. You also need to know your skin type because oily, dry and normal skin tones have different sunscreen and sunblock.

From Luxury to Necessity: Why SunScreen and Sunblock is Important for People in Pakistan

Everyone is aware of the summers in Pakistan. Where the scorching heat of summers not only leave us exhausted but tan as well. In this case, sunscreen and sunblock use are a must to protect ourselves from getting tanned and harmful UV rays. The best sunscreen and sunblock for the face recommended by dermatologists in Pakistan is that it should be SPF 30 and above.

There is a common perception that people with brown or darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen or sunblock. This is not true. In fact, people with dark skin tones have more melanin. High levels of melanin may reduce the risk of skin cancer. However, brown skin is still prone to sun damage. Due to this, dermatologists recommend that people of Pakistan should use sunscreen or sunblock daily. 

People of brown skin (like in Pakistan) are more prone to melasma, pigmentation and tanning as compared to fair skin people. Most sunscreens protect from UVB and UVC. UVA- the deadly rays which cause most tanning is exempted from this. UVA rays are deadly for brown skin people as it causes tanning. So while you are out in the market, make sure to get the sunscreen or sunblock as per your skin type. 

How to Choose Best Sunscreen or Sunblock for Yourself in Pakistan?

If you don’t know which sunscreen to get if you are in Pakistan. No need to worry. In Asia PA ratings are used. Sunscreens are listed as PA+, PA++, PA+++ and so on. Plus sign is basically related to the protection level from UVA. This method can easily help you in choosing the best sunscreen and sunblock. Make sure to properly check and read the ingredients, PA listing and SPF number before buying sunscreen/sunblock.

Takeaway Note on the Sunscreens and Sunblocks

We all use screen covers to protect our smartphones. Right?! So, why do we take our health and skin care lightly?

A good skincare routine is key for healthy, hydrated and glowing skin. Both sunblock and sunscreen provide protection against the harmful rays of the sun. No matter what your skin tone is, you should never skip your sunscreen or sunblock as your skin is not UV rays proof. Whether you are going out or at home, you need to protect your skin either way. If you are allergic or sensitive to any ingredient then you should consult a dermatologist near you. However, if you aren’t sensitive or allergic to any ingredients then either you choose sunblock or sunscreen, it’s all your personal choice.

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