Difference between sunscreen and sunblock

By, Prerana Sharma,
Sunscreen Vs Sunblock – Few days back one of my friend was very upset. Inspite of regularly using sunscreen her skin was getting tanned!! I asked her to try out sunblock specially for summers. So, what should you choose for your family- sun screen or sun block? Does it really matter? Is there a difference or is it a way for the consumer to spend more money? As one considers spending time in the sun, it is important to know the difference between sunblock and sunscreen so that the best product can be chosen.
 The difference between sunscreen and sunblock can be found in their names. A screen is something that filters, letting some items in, but keeping some items out like the window screen that lets the light in but keeps the mosquitoes out. A block is a barricade, which does not let anything through it. So sunscreen, allows some UV rays to reach your  skin. The amount of UV rays that can reach your skin is determined by the SPF ( sun protection factor). The lower the SPF rating, the more UV rays reach your skin (ie., u will be sun safe for a short period). The higher the SPF rating, the less UV rays reach your skin (ie., you will be sun safe for long period). SPF ratings can be  3 to 45 anything. Because it is a screen and lets some UV reach the skin, a sun screen product will allow for some tanning or darkening of the skin while preventing the skin from burning by keeping out some of the stronger UV rays. If one is going to go into water, it is advisable to apply sun screen approximately 15-20 minutes prior to entering the water so that the product has time to dry. Also, if one applies sun screen and spends time in the water, they should reapply regularly.

SunBlock: sun block is to block out all UV rays that could reach the skin. Sun block is usually thicker in comparison to sun screen and hard to spread evenly over the skin. It usually contains a zinc oxide. You must have seen cricketers lips are white white!! Athletes who play their sport in the hot sun paint it like “nerolac White paint” on the most easily burned areas—like their nose, lips or their cheeks. Since it is so hard to spread because of its texture, consumers typically do not use sun block to cover their whole body. For an infant sun block could be used, not only because their body has a smaller surface area, but also because their skin is more sensitive to the sun. 

The consumer needs to consider their needs and the state of their skin. More sensitive may need sun block or a sun screen with a high SPF. Sun screen and sun block are different enough, that when the consumer goes to purchase they should carefully assess their needs.
 In anti-aging skin care it is critical to prevent the sun from damaging the skin any further. Therefore, the best option for those interested in rejuvenating their aging skin is a sunblock. 
 It is important that which ever sun care product you chose that should protects against both the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays, on the UVB and UVA spectrum.

Active ingredients found in sunscreens:

Aminobezoic Acid, Avobenzone, Benzophenone, Cinoxate, Dioxybenzone, Ensulizole,
Homosalate, Meradimate, Octisalate, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, PABA, Sulisobenzone, Trolamine, Salicylate

Active Ingredients found in sunblocks:

Iron Oxide
Titanium Dioxide
Zinc Oxide
Let the sun chill…………


  1. Informative post. thanks. Lakme is more of a sunblock i guess, and even our humble Lactocalamine has sun blocking properties. btw titanium dioxide, if inhaled, leads to lung cancer. So be vary of talcum powders which claim to have sun screen effects that contain titanium dioxide, coz in powder form there are chances of inhaling it.

  2. Gayatri i loved the way you called Lactocalamine has humble..vaseline, lactoclamine and few other things are really humble .:)

  3. Can you recommend a good sun screen for men.I have tried lotus and neutrogena’s sun screen.Both have not worked for me.May be because I have a oily skin.Please do suggest.


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