Sunblock vs Sunscreen

sunblock vs sunscreen

Sunblock vs Sunscreen, what is the difference?

Sunblock vs Sunscreen  Which is best for my family? Is there even a difference between the two??

We are faced with literally hundreds of bottles of lotions at the store these days. How can you decide what is best?

Here is a breakdown to help you make the best choice for your family:



Sunblock contains physical or inorganic ingredients that physically block the sun (both UVA and UVB) . Often it is a much thicker lotion than a sunscreen. Look for Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide as the main ingredient. This may be a better choice for your family if you have anyone with sensitive skin since titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are less irritating than Parsol 1789 found in sunscreen. Because most brands of lotion are a combination of both sunblock and sunscreen, if you are looking for a true sunblock try Blue Lizard Australian Sunblock and Neutrogena Sunblock.



According to the American Melanoma Foundation (AMF), sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb UV radiation and reduce the amount that reaches the skin.  Many of the chemicals used for SPF such as avobenzone, avobenzene, oxymethylcinnemate can cause irritate the eyes or even cause skin irritation. Look for Parsol 1789 in many of today’s sunscreen brands to avoid irritation.

The Bottom Line on Sunblock vs Sunscreen:

1. Most lotion is a combination of both sunblock and sunscreen, so read the ingredients carefully if you are needing a pure sunblock.

2. Be sure to look for a sunblock or sunscreen that does NOT contain vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, as this may speed up the cancer that sunscreen is used to prevent.

3. Be sure to check the Environmental Working Group’s searchable database of all sunblocks and sunscreens before headed to the store to find the ones safest and most effective for you and your family.

Evironmental Working Group Searchable Database

4. Here is a link to the SKIN CANCER FOUNDATION’S website with more important information on sunblock vs sunscreen and for an overview of the FDA’s guidelines: SKIN CANCER FOUNDATION

As always, be sure to check with your health care provider before deciding what is the best option for sunblock vs sunscreen for your family.

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