With summer just around the corner, it’s important to start thinking about sun protection. Sunscreen and sunblock are two of the most popular ways to protect our skin from harmful UV rays, but what’s the difference between the two, and which one should you choose? In this article, we’ll explore the differences between sunscreen and sunblock as well as discuss more about protection against sunlight.
Sunscreen vs. Sunblock
Sunscreen and sunblock are both designed to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. However, there are some key differences between the two. Sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb UV rays, while sunblock physically blocks the sun’s rays from reaching the skin.
Sunscreen typically comes in a lotion or spray form and is easier to apply than sunblock. It also tends to be less visible on the skin, which makes it a more popular choice for everyday use. Sunscreen is also called chemical sunblock. Chemical sunblocks are products that contain organic compounds that absorb UV radiation. These compounds work by converting the UV radiation into heat, which is then released from the skin. Some of the most common ingredients in chemical sunblocks include avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate. One of the main advantages of chemical sunblocks is that they are easier to apply and blend into the skin. They are also less likely to leave a white residue on the skin. Another advantage of chemical sunblocks is that they are often formulated to be water-resistant, making them a great choice for outdoor activities and swimming.
Sunblock, on the other hand, is typically thicker and more difficult to apply. It also tends to leave a visible white or coloured residue on the skin, which can make it less appealing for everyday use. It is also known as physical sunblock or mineral sunblock. Physical sunblocks, also known as mineral sunblocks, are products that contain natural minerals that physically block UV radiation. These minerals sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV radiation away from the skin. Physical sunblocks are often preferred by those with sensitive skin, as they are less likely to cause irritation. This is because physical sunblock does not penetrate the school, unlikely chemical sunblock. Some of the most common ingredients in physical sunblocks include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals work by reflecting UV radiation away from the skin.
When it comes to sunscreen, there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. This will help protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also important to choose a sunblock that’s water-resistant, especially if you’ll be spending time in the water.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” which is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect the skin from UVB radiation, the type of radiation that causes sunburn and can contribute to skin cancer.
SPF numbers typically range from 15 to 100, with higher numbers indicating greater protection. However, it’s important to note that the difference in protection between different SPF levels is not as significant as you might think. For example, SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB radiation, while SPF 50 blocks about 98% of UVB radiation. So, while higher SPF numbers do offer slightly more protection, the difference is not drastic.
It’s also important to note that SPF only measures protection against UVB radiation, not UVA radiation, which can also contribute to skin damage and skin cancer. To ensure adequate protection against both UVA and UVB radiation, it’s important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
In terms of maximum SPF, the FDA has set a limit of SPF 50+. This is because there is little evidence to suggest that sunscreens with SPF values higher than 50 provide significantly greater protection than those with an SPF of 50. Additionally, higher SPF sunscreens may give people a false sense of security and cause them to spend more time in the sun than they should.
Sunscreen or sunblock?
When it comes to choosing a sunblock, there are a few things to consider. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergic reactions, a physical sunblock may be the best option for you. If you are looking for a sunblock that is easy to apply and offers more protection, a chemical sunblock may be the better choice.
It’s also important to consider the environment when choosing a sunblock. If you are planning on swimming or spending time in the water, choose a sunblock that is water-resistant and does not contain harmful chemicals.
In addition, it is also important to apply sun protection the proper way. Here are some tips on how to apply sunblock:
Choose the right sunblock: Make sure to choose a broad-spectrum sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation, and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
Apply before going outside: Apply sunblock at least 15-30 minutes before going outside, to allow time for the product to absorb into the skin.
Use enough product: Most people don’t use enough sunblock, which means they aren’t getting the full protection they need. A general rule of thumb is to use about one ounce (or a shot glass full) of sunblock for each application.
Reapply every 2 hours: Sunblock can wear off over time, so it’s important to reapply every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming.
Apply to all exposed areas: Make sure to apply sunblock to all exposed areas of your body, including your face, ears, neck, arms, and legs. Don’t forget hard-to-reach areas, such as your back and the tops of your feet.
Don’t forget about your lips: Your lips are also vulnerable to UV radiation, so make sure to apply a lip balm with SPF.
Use sunblock every day: UV radiation can damage your skin even on cloudy days, so it’s important to use sunblock every day, even if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time outside.
In summary, to apply sunblock correctly, make sure to choose the right type that suits your skin and needs, use enough of it, reapply regularly, and apply it to all exposed areas of your body, including your lips. By following these tips, you can protect your skin from harmful UV radiation and reduce your risk from sun damage.
If you are struggling with any skin concerns, do not hesitate to contact The Clifford Clinic today. We offer a range of treatments, including acne, pigmentation, acne scar treatment in Singapore and more.