Sunscreen Vs. Sunblock

Hey readers..There is a general confusion when it comes to sunblock or sunscreen – which one to buy? How much SPF? And so many other questions…

This post would help atleast a little for such queries, I hope.

As we all know sunscreen provide us sun protection from the UVA and UVB rays and also helps the skin from darkening or getting tanned.

As the name goes, sunscreen products form a thin film on the screen which either absorb or reflect the sun rays falling on the exposed human skin, based on the components present in it.

The effectiveness or the coverage from the sun of a sunscreen is measured in terms of SPF – Sun Protection Factor.

Simply put, the higher the SPF – the more sun protection the product offers.

For Indian skin tones, SPF 15-30 should be a good choice whereas there are products available upto SPF 70 in the market. If one thinks they get tanned too quickly or stay out in the sun for most part of the day – SPF 50 would be a good choice too.

But, interestingly SPF measurement of the sunscreen is about the protection from the sun’s UV-B rays only.

The other set of rays – the UV-A from the sun, causes skin aging and cancer which is not supported by the SPF measure.

PA system is the measure of protection against UVA rays. PA refers to Protection of grade UVA. PA++ is considered to be a good measure.

Conventional sunscreens protect the skin only from UVB rays and not UVA. Whereas, broad spectrum sunscreens can help to check both the ray types.


What on earth is a sunblock then – if you are wondering so… read on!

Sunblock is a type of sunscreen too. It is generally a opaque sunscreen which is effective in blocking both UVA and UVB rays.

It is claimed that they consist of a heavy carrier material which is a little resistant to be washed off easily.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two important and common ingredients in most sunblock products. It has been verified that these components degrade slowly upon exposure to sunlight.


Tips for sun protection from dermatologists:

  • Choose sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Apply sunscreen thick enough to get full SPF protection
  • Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure
  • Reapply in cases of swimming or sweating under the sun
  • Avoid the sun between 10 am to 4 pm when it is at its strongest
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses with UV protection when out in the sun or atleast carry an umbrella
  • Avoid reflective surfaces like water or snow while under the sun; they can increase UV radiation exposure

Yes.. sunblocks are better than sunscreens but do not totally get rid of the rays falling on the skin.

So, be it a sunscreen or sunblock – check the protection measures, know the ingredients and choose wisely!


Hope this post helped…. Stay protected – stay cool! 🙂


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