If you’re like most people, you love spending time in the sun. Summer is a great time to get outside and soak up some rays, but you don’t want to make the mistake of forgetting to apply protection to your skin. A common mistake that a lot of people make is thinking sunscreen and sunblock are the same products. The truth is that these products interact with ultraviolet light in different ways.
What’s the Difference?
Both products can protect your skin, but they achieve this goal in different ways. Sunscreen is used much more often than sunblock, and it’s designed to filter ultraviolet rays from the sun. By keeping most harmful UV rays out, it offers decent protection for your skin, and it can be classified as a chemical sunscreen.
Sunblock is another product, and to protect your skin, it reflects harmful UV rays from the sun. You can think of sunblock as physical sunscreen, and it’s made to prevent UV rays from penetrating your skin.
Do They Both Protect the Skin?
It’s important to know that both products will protect your skin, and they’re great choices for people who spend long hours under the hot summer sun. Since sunblock and sunscreen use different ways to achieve the same goal, one isn’t necessarily better than the other.
When shopping for these products, you should make sure the product protects against UVB and UVA rays. Products that deliver adequate protection will give your skin broad-spectrum protection, and you should see this rating on the product label.
For maximum protection, the product should have an SPF rating of 30 or higher. SPF stands for sun protection factor, and it’s a rating system that tells consumers how much protection they’ll get from specific products. You’ll find many products that only have an SPF rating of 15, and since they don’t offer enough protection, you should stay away from them.
How Do They Work?
Sunblock products use zinc or titanium oxide to protect your skin, and these active ingredients produce a thick, opaque consistency. For some people, the thick formula is irritating because it can be difficult to spread all over the body. The opaque color of many sunblock products is easy to see on the skin, and if you’re trying to look your best, you might find this unappealing.
Sunscreens are known to contain several different chemicals, which absorb harmful ultraviolet rays. Some common ingredients found in sunscreens are avobenzone or oxybenzone. Some people are allergic to these chemicals and should consider using a sunblock alternative. It’s quite common for these products to contain oils or fragrances, and since these additives can irritate the skin, make sure to check the label before making a purchase.