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What Is the Difference Between Sunblock and Sunscreen?



Sunscreen offers chemical protection from the sun, sunblock offers physical protection.

More Info: Both sunscreen and sunblock can help you protect your skin from the sun, but what are the differences between these two sun-protection products? The main differences are the ingredients in each product and the way sunscreen and sunblock block keep the sun from damaging your skin. Sunscreen offers chemical protection from the sun. Certain ingredients in popular sunscreens absorb into your skin and filter out harmful UV radiation. Sunblock physically keeps the sun from damaging your face and body. Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and other ingredients form a protective layer on your skin that keeps UV radiation out.

Although sunblock offers more thorough sun protection, sunscreen is still more commonly used. Sunscreen absorbs invisibly into your skin, making it appropriate for everyday use. Sunblock products are opaque and generally remain visible on your skin, even hours after you apply them. They can be difficult to remove when you’re no longer outside. Both are available, though, in a wide range of SPFs: products promising sun-protection factors of 70 or 100 are becoming more common. Both sunscreen and sunblock also protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Combining the two can offer the best sun protection. Applying sunscreen to your face, arms and legs provides one layer of protection. Sunblock can then be used on delicate or particularly sun-sensitive parts of your face, such as the nose or lips. Remember, though, that both sunscreens and sunblocks are most effective when applied a minimum of 30 minutes before sun exposure.



” Georgia Health Info | Sunscreen: Answers to your burning questions.” Georgia Health Info. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2010.

“American Melanoma Foundation > Facts About Sunscreen.” American Melanoma Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2010.

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