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Sunblock vs. Sunscreen: What’s the Difference

woman applying sunscreen

These two items are mentioned together quite frequently but have striking differences. If you’re not sure how sunblock and sunscreen differ or which is best for your skin type, you’re not alone. Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about sunblock and sunscreen — and which one you may want to opt for. 

What Is Sunblock?

Sunblock essentially does just what it says. It is a protective shield from the sun and keeps UV radiation from harming your skin. While sunblock sits on the skin, it does not absorb into the skin. Zinc oxide or titanium oxide are commonly used in sunscreen. Sunblocks are generally transparent and noticeable when applied to the skin. With many brands, you may be able to find that they offer products that are a fusion of sunscreen and sunblock. 

What Is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is also a chemical barrier that protects your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen is absorbed into your skin and captures the UV rays before they can do damage to your skin or dermal layers. Some sunscreens contain specific ingredients that absorb those pesky UVA and UVB rays to protect you from sunburn. 

How Do Sunblock and Sunscreen Compare?

Both sunscreen and sunblock protect your skin from dangerous ultraviolet rays and can help keep your skin from aging due to sun exposure. Some sunscreens and sunblocks can also feel similar when applied! Many sun-protecting products contain sunscreen and sunblock! 

What Is Different About Sunscreen and Sunblock?

Sunscreen and sunblock are different in many ways. As we mentioned above, sunblock is a barrier that sits atop your skin and blocks UV rays, while sunscreen penetrates your skin and absorbs UV rays, thus keeping them from hurting your skin.

Sunscreen will absorb into your skin and lose its effectiveness over time, whereas sunblock can wear off of your skin. You should reapply sunscreen or sunblock every two hours at least! 

Is SPF the Same as Sunscreen and Sunblock?

Now let’s throw another name into the mix! What is SPF? And how does it differ from sunscreen and sunblock?

SPF actually means “sun protection factor.” This is your way to tell how well the product will shield your skin from the sun! So, the higher the SPF, the higher the protection.

Other Information on Labels

  • Water-resistant and broad-spectrum — what do these terms mean for sunscreen? Many physicians advocate sunblocks that have the following benefits:
  • Broad-spectrum defense - The term "broad spectrum" refers to a product's ability to protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. Water-Resistant - This means that the sunscreen or sunblock will last around 40 minutes in the water! 

Which Is Better Overall?

Well, it’s not necessarily about which is better, but which is better for you! For those with more sensitive skin, it can actually come down to the ingredients that are in the sunscreen or sunblock. Sunblocks or sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide can be considered safer for those with sensitive skin.

Overall, if you have skin that is more delicate, you should avoid products that contain fragrances, parabens, oxybenzone or PABA (ingredients found in sunscreens and other skincare products).

Thankfully, at Urban Skin Rx®, we ensure that our products are held to a high standard because we care about you and your skin. We know how important sun protection can be, so we are continuously innovating and creating the best products with the best ingredients! 

SPF Options at Urban Skin Rx®

At Urban Skin Rx®, we have several options for protecting your skin from the sun!

Our Complexion Protection Moisturizer with SPF 30 is a breakthrough solution that combines chemical and mineral actives to deliver superior SPF 30 protection with skin-nourishing ingredients.

Additionally, we also offer our Shineblock™ Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30. This amazing product is a lightweight, dual-purpose moisturizer and mineral-active sunscreen that protects skin from dangerous UVA/UVB damage so you can keep your radiance!

Camphor Bark and Safflower Extract soften and soothe skin without clogging pores, and the oil-absorbing formula also includes Camphor Bark to decrease the look of redness and irritated skin. It also has a silky matte texture, which is ideal for oily or blemish-prone skin.

And if you are looking for a mineral moisturizer, we’ve got you covered there as well! Check out our Sheerglow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30. Our Sheerglow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30 is a lightweight, dual-purpose broad-spectrum sunscreen and moisturizer that offers 100 percent mineral-active sun protection to protect your skin from dangerous UVA/UVB radiation that causes hyperpigmentation and premature skin aging.

For more information about each product, check out each product page, and let us know if you have any questions! 

How Can I Find the Best Products for My Skin?

It can be challenging to decide on which products are best for your skin. At Urban Skin Rx®, we want to make it as easy as possible. The best place to start is with our skin quiz. Using the right products for your specific skin type and issues will give you the greatest and quickest results. In our skin quiz, we will take the time to learn as much as possible about your skin. After this, you will be provided with specific products that suit your skin best.

Do you still need guidance after the skin quiz? We completely understand! On top of our skin quiz, we also offer virtual consultations.

Our even tone experts are ready to help you build the skincare lineup of your dreams. Schedule your consultation today. Feel free to read our frequently asked questions on our virtual consultations page for additional information, and come prepared to ask questions. We can’t wait to meet you!

If you’d like, you can also reach us by chat, email or phone. Looking for quick answers? You can also check our Instagram for specific details on our products or ingredients! 

In Conclusion

We learned that sunblock functions more as a barrier for the skin and sunscreen is absorbing the sun’s rays while penetrating and protecting the skin from sun damage. There are also chemical and physical sunscreens, and many different sun protectants actually contain sunscreen and sunblock.

The name is not necessarily as important as the ingredients and the SPF number. It is most important to pay attention to what is best for your skin. Not all sun protection works the same for everyone. It is wise to read labels and know what you are applying to your skin, as the skin is the largest organ of the body. While the sun can provide Vitamin D and help you significantly, it can also hurt you and cause your body harm. Sunscreen and sunblock can protect your skin from drying, aging and skin cancer.

If you need more help with information on sun protection, reach out to us today! We would love to give guidance or advice and help you pick the best skincare for you.

By: Tiesha Bridges Licensed Aesthetician & Customer
Service Representative