Sunblock vs. Sunscreen

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by backto30

There’s sunblock and there’s sunscreen. The names may be interchangeable, but the products are not.

May is National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, so what better time to get a little refresher on sun protection?

Here’s a little-known fact: In 2011, the FDA passed a regulation prohibiting brands from labeling a product as a sunblock. This was done because the FDA believes the term can mislead consumers into believing products are more effective than they truly are.

However, the term “sunblock” is still used in conjunction with “sunscreen,” but there’s still more to it than an interchanging of terms.

But first, let’s get schooled on sun protection for a minute. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This is used as an estimate of the amount of UV radiation it takes on average to sunburn skin with the use of sunscreen.

Although the term “sunblock” is no longer used, there are still two types of sun protection products – physical and chemical.

Physical protective lotions, formerly known as sunblock, contain ingredients that stay on top of the skin creating a protective barrier between your skin and damaging UV rays through the reflection or scattering of UVB light.

Chemical protective lotions, also known as sunscreens, penetrate the skin and absorb UVA rays before they reach and damage your dermal layers. These kinds of sunscreens contain the active ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Thankfully, unlike many drugstore products, medical grade products contain the active ingredients in both that protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Now that you know what kind of sunscreen you need, the question is…do you know how to use it?

We all know that sunscreen should be applied to the skin at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure so that it is fully absorbed into the skin.

But, did you know you should even apply sunscreen at night?

Although the amount is smaller, our skin is still exposed to UV rays even at night time. These are the same UV rays that contribute to sunspots and premature signs of aging.

Whether it’s bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky, overcast and thundering, or even the dead of night, do yourself a favor and put on that sunscreen! (the good kind).

For more information on medical grade products, including our amazing SPFs, check out our Product Page.

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