Most people use the terms sunscreen and sunblock interchangeably to refer generally to a lotion that protects the skin from the sun, but the two words actually carry very different meanings. This difference has been starkly highlighted by Hawaii’s decision to ban certain sunscreen sales due to their danger to coral reefs. Two important questions remain: Are you using a sunscreen or sunblock? Which one should you be using?
Sunblock Creates a Physical Barrier on the Skin
Sunblocks sit on top of the skin to absorb, reflect, and scatter the sun’s rays away from your skin. They do not enter the skin or the bloodstream. These are also known as mineral sunscreens because they are sourced from natural minerals like titanium oxide and zinc oxide. Though they can be thicker and a bit more difficult to apply to the skin, sunblocks are considered the safer choice because they do not contain harmful chemicals. They are safer for sensitive skin, babies, and toddlers. Read more