The difference between Sunscreen and Sunblock

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends you wear sunscreen whenever you go outside. This includes cloudy days. Daily sunscreen application may seem tedious, but it’s an important step if you want to save your skin from burning, wrinkling, and aging. Sunscreen isn’t an all-protective force field. It is intended to be combined with other sun-safety approaches, like covering up with clothing, staying in the shade, wearing a hat, and scheduling activities to avoid times of day when the sun is most intense (10 AM – 4 PM).

Approximately 95% of the UV radiation reaching our skin is ultraviolet A (UVA) light, primarily responsible for chronic effects such as photoaging, wrinkling, and age spots. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays make up a smaller percentage but may be potentially even more harmful, as they are the primary cause of sunburns.

Sunblock blocks UV rays by forming a physical shield while sunscreen absorbs them. There is a difference between sunscreens and sunblock; Sunblock is the product that protects against UVB rays while sunscreen protects against UVA rays. Exposure to UV radiation is considered to be one of the factors responsible for aging.  

Sunscreen: Sunscreen is a chemical defense that penetrates the skin and absorbs the UV rays before they reach and damage the dermal layers. Typically, sunblock includes zinc oxide or titanium oxide.

Harvard University has stated that sunlight is essential for many important bodily functions, including producing vitamin D and maintaining your circadian rhythm and mood. Yet too much sun exposure can also be harmful.

  • Chemical Sunscreens: Organic filters absorb UV radiation and convert it into a small amount of heat. You may notice compounds such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene in the ingredients listed on the bottle. Oxybenzone and avobenzone are relatively good filters for UVA radiation; however, they may be paired with other agents such as octocrylene and homosalate to stabilize them provide UVB protection.
  • Physical Sunscreens: Inorganic filters are mineral compounds such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that theoretically work by reflecting and scattering UV light to protect your skin. These sunscreens tend to offer more broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB light. These sunscreens tend to go on thicker and may appear whiter.


Sunblock comes under the physical category of protective lotion, containing both non-organic and organic constituents that get deposited on the skin’s surface when applied, shielding the skin from harmful UVB rays. These block the rays from penetrating the skin. Some of the ingredients found in sunblock are octocrylene, octyl salicylate, and octyl methoxycinnamate. The chemical type of protective lotions can be broadly referred to as sunscreens. This lotion permeates through the skin and absorbs the UVA rays before reaching and damaging the dermal layer. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide constitute the sunscreen. An example is one of the ingredients present in sunscreen. This compound shields the skin from the photoaging UVA rays. A formulation that constitutes sunscreen and sunblock ingredients serve as a protective agent against UVB and UVA rays. A combination of these two is more efficient in the protection of the skin than using them alone.

Age Prevention

As the age progresses, certain changes occur in the skin influenced by certain extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The skin changes are among the most visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots and dryness, and fat loss, making the skin lose its natural smoothness.

Frequently forgotten spots to apply sunscreen:

  1. Ears
  2. Nose
  3. Lips
  4. Back of neck
  5. Hands
  6. Tops of feet
  7. Along the hairline
  8. Areas of the head exposed by balding or thinning hair

Water-resistance sunscreen:

  • Water Resistant: Effective for up to 40 minutes in water
  • Very Water Resistant: Effective for up to 80 minutes in water

Sunscreens I have used

  1. EltaMD UV (Physical Sunscreen): EltaMD UV has been named best sunscreen in most 2020 sites. It is supposed to clear helps calm and protect sensitive skin types prone to acne. It contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid, ingredients that promote healthy-looking skin. I have tried this, and I like the tinted version of this sunscreen.
  2. Neutrogena (Physical Sunscreen): I have been a fan of Neutrogena since it removed my ACNE as a teenager. I like this sunscreen on my body (not my face) because it keeps my skin moist. I tested the Hydro Boost line in Europe, and it met my needs, kept me from burning, and did not let my skin dry. The scent is not bad in this line, but I might try other brands and provide a review.
  3. Banana Boat (Chemical Sunscreen): I have used Banana Boat spray, but I wouldn’t say I like sprays as I feel sticky. I had to put it in here because I have used it, and it’s a common one I see in California’s water parks.

Source: Anti-aging and Sunscreens: Paradigm Shift in Cosmetics and