Is sunblock different from sunscreen?

sunblock and sunscreen

Yes!  Sunblock deflects UV rays while  sunscreen absorbs them.  Put it another way, the former refers to a physical sunblock and the latter, a chemical sunblock.  Yet, most of us use both words interchangeably.

In my earlier entry, What’s The Correct Sunblock Dosage?, I’ve already explained that physical sunblocks are those that uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to reflect or scatter UV radiation before it reaches our skin.  Chemical sunblocks on the other hand, use organic absorber to absorb UV rays and invalid the damage of UV achieving a full blockage of a broad spectrum UV rays.   

I also mentioned that physical sunblocks appear to be better as according to the Environmental Working Group, “Sunscreens without zinc and titanium could accelerate by an average of 20 per cent the skin damage, premature aging, wrinkling and UV-induced immune system damage linked to UVA exposure.”

However, all the confusion about sunblock and sunscreen may soon end if the term “sunblock” is banned by the FDA.

The FDA has indicated that it intends to ban the term “sunblock” from being used in marketing claims when the agency eventually finalizes its sunscreen regulations because it falsely implies that the product is blocking all  light from the sun when no product can do this.  â€œWe continue to believe the correct terminology is sunscreen.”

And when that happens, I’ll be changing my sunblock category to sunscreen category too.


  1. James Dalton says:

    I did not notice this until I started doing research for my website. Quite interesting I should say. Sunscreen vs sunblock

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