The Difference Between a SunBLOCK and a SunSCREEN

August 07, 2018


Have you seen these different labels on products on your shelf or in the sun care aisle? While they may seem like the same sun protection at first glance, these terms actually differentiate between two very different products.

Confused? Don't worry! This blog will break it down for you :)

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First of all... let's talk about the difference between UVA and UVB rays

UVB = Burning Rays

  • Mostly affects the outermost layer of the skin
  • Causes sunburns; increasing your risk of skin cancer
  • Intensity changes throughout the day, throughout the year, and proximity to the equator

UVA = Aging Rays

  • Deeply penetrates the skin layers, contributing to wrinkles, age spots, loss of elasticity, and pigmentation
  • Can damage DNA and collagen
  • Consistent across time of day, year and location
  • Can penetrate through clouds and glass

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Sunblock and sunscreen ingredients were designed to protect us from one, or both, types of UV radiation. The main difference between a sunBLOCK and a sunSCREEN is the active ingredient in that product...

 

Sunblock = Physical Filter

Physical filters are ingredients that do not absorb into your skin, but rather sit on top of the skin and block UV radiation. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are common examples of physical sun protecting ingredients. Non-nano zinc oxide is the active ingredient we use in our Safe Summer Skin Creams!

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Sunscreen = Chemical Absorber

Chemical absorbers are ingredients that absorb into your skin, and then absorb UV radiation.

The risk factor? UVA rays penetrate the skin so deeply, so creating a chemical ingredient that can penetrate just as deeply can be dangerous. It's important to read labels and see what other ingredients (endocrine disruptors, fragrances, etc.) within a sunscreen may also absorb into your skin. This is part of the reason why some people, especially babies and children, can have such adverse reactions to sunscreen products.

Here's a video recap of all of this information!