Sunscreen Vs. Sunblock: Which One Is Better?

Even though you've likely used sunscreen and sunblock interchangeably, they're actually different products with different usages. While it's incredibly important to always have adequate sun protection, it's also important to find the best product for you. Before you buy your next bottle of sun protectant, it's a good idea to take a look at the pros and cons of each option. 

It turns out, the main difference between sunscreen and sunblock lies in their names. According to Health, sunblock physically blocks UV rays from absorbing into your skin with the help of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Just like its name suggests, sunblock creates a physically protective barrier between your skin and the sun, blocking the damaging wavelengths from reaching your body. On the other hand, sunscreen absorbs the UV light into its formula, the outlet explains, then emits the rays outwardly as heat. In order to do this, sunscreens often contain chemicals like octyl salicylate and ecamsule to create a chemical reaction on your skin.

While both lotions protect your skin from the sun, the way that they inhibit UV rays differs. As such, their chemical makeup does as well.

You can apply sunscreen and sunblock differently

Those movies that have lifeguards sitting in the sun with white spots over their noses aren't far off. According to Health, sunblock doesn't require a ton of rubbing in because it won't go away completely. Because it physically shields your skin, you simply slather the white lotion on and let it do its job. On the other hand, you have to rub sunscreen into your skin so it can properly absorb the sun's rays and protect your body.

VeryWell Health explains that some brands have formulated thinner sunblocks that spread more easily but still maintain the same chemical make up. Because these lotions can only somewhat rub in, many people opt for the classic sunscreen. However, the outlet suggests, if you're allergic to ingredients in either option, using the other will help you stay protected from the sun. Health reports that people with sensitive skin are better suited to using sunblock because sunscreen often contains more chemicals.

Many dermatologists suggest using sunblock on your body to fully protect your skin since it can effectively keep your cells safe. But, if you prefer sunscreen and it keeps you from getting red, load up the 35 SPF.