It’s summertime! The time of the year when everyone hits the beach, enjoys pool parties, and generally spends a lot of time in the sun. 

While we all love getting that perfect sun-kissed glow, it’s important to protect our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. 

Sun protection is crucial, but with so many options available in the market, it can be confusing to choose the right one. 

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the differences between sunblock and sunscreen and which one is the best for sunburn cure.

What is Sunblock?

Sunblock is a type of sun protection that physically blocks the sun’s UV rays from reaching your skin. It contains minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which create a physical barrier on your skin. This barrier reflects the sun’s rays away from your skin, making it a highly effective form of sun protection.

How Does Sunblock Work?

Sunblock works by physically blocking the harmful UV rays from reaching the skin. 

Pros of Sunblock

  • Sunblock is highly effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays.
  • It is long-lasting and doesn’t need frequent reapplication.
  • Sunblock is ideal for people with sensitive skin.
  • It does not contain harsh chemicals that may irritate the skin.

Cons of Sunblock

  • Sunblock can be thick and difficult to spread.
  • It may leave a white residue on the skin.
  • Sunblock is not as water-resistant as sunscreen.
  • It may be less effective for activities like swimming or sweating.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a chemical-based sun protection that absorbs the sun’s UV rays before they can penetrate your skin. It contains ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone, which work together to absorb the sun’s rays and prevent them from causing skin damage.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Sunscreen works by absorbing or scattering the harmful UV radiation before it can penetrate the skin. 

Pros of Sunscreen

  • Sunscreen is easy to apply and absorbs quickly into the skin.
  • It does not leave any residue on the skin.
  • Sunscreen is water-resistant and suitable for activities like swimming or sweating.
  • It comes in a variety of formulations, including sprays, lotions, and gels.
  • Sunscreen is available in options that suit different skin types and preferences.

Cons of Sunscreen

  • Some people may be allergic or sensitive to the chemicals in sunscreen.
  • This can cause skin irritation or breakouts.
  • Sunscreen needs to be reapplied frequently to maintain its effectiveness.
  • It should be reapplied especially after swimming or sweating.
  • Sunscreen can break down over time, reducing its effectiveness.

Differences Between Sunblock And Sunscreen

Active Ingredients

Sunscreens usually contain chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate, while sunblocks contain minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Level of Protection

Sunblocks generally provide a higher level of protection than sunscreens because they offer physical protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens, on the other hand, may only protect against one type of UV radiation.

Application and Texture

Sunscreens tend to be more lightweight and easier to apply, while sunblocks can be thicker and more difficult to rub in.

Chemical vs Physical Protection

Sunscreens work by absorbing the UV radiation, while sunblocks work by physically blocking the UV radiation from reaching the skin.


Sunblocks are typically more resistant to water and sweat than sunscreens, making them a better option for outdoor activities or swimming.


Which One is Best for You?

When it comes to choosing between sunblock and sunscreen, it depends on your skin type and personal preference. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergic reactions, sunblock may be a better option for you. If you have oily skin or don’t like the heavy texture of sunblock, then sunscreen may be a better choice.

It’s also important to consider the level of protection you need. If you are spending a lot of time outdoors, especially during peak sun hours, then a higher SPF sunscreen is recommended. If you are just running errands or spending a short time outside, then a lower SPF sunscreen or sunblock may be sufficient.

Sunblock vs. Sunscreen for Different Skin Types

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, sunscreen may be a better option as it’s less likely to clog your pores. However, if you have dry or sensitive skin, sunblock may be a better option as it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that could irritate your skin.

Sunblock vs. Sunscreen for Different Activities

If you’re planning on swimming or sweating, sunscreen may be a better option, as it’s more water-resistant than sunblock. However, if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, sunblock may be a better option as it provides more long-lasting protection.

Different Forms of Sunscreens

Vegan Sunscreen VS Normal Sunscreen 

  • Vegan sunscreen is made without animal-derived ingredients, while regular sunscreen may contain animal products like beeswax, lanolin, or carmine.
  • Both vegan and regular sunscreens can protect from UV rays, with the level of protection depending on the SPF rating.
  • Regular sunscreens may contain ingredients that harm marine life and coral reefs, while vegan sunscreens often use mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to be more eco-friendly.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, consider its environmental impact, as well as the SPF rating.

Powder Sunscreen VS Normal Sunscreen

Powder Sunscreen:

  • Comes in a loose powder form that is easy to apply
  • Often contains physical UV-blocking ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
  • Can be applied over makeup
  • Good for people with oily skin as it absorbs excess oil
  • Can be messy to apply
  • Can be difficult to apply an adequate amount for sufficient sun protection
  • May require frequent reapplication

Normal Sunscreen:

  • Comes in a lotion or cream form
  • Can contain physical or chemical UV-blocking ingredients
  • Can be water-resistant or sweat-resistant
  • Provides full-body coverage
  • Often easier to apply an adequate amount for sufficient sun protection
  • Needs to be applied at least 15-20 minutes before sun exposure
  • May leave a greasy or sticky residue
  • May cause skin irritation or breakouts for those with sensitive skin
  • May require frequent reapplication

Scalp Sunscreen

  • It is typically in the form of a spray or lotion
  • It is especially important for people with thinning hair or bald spots, who are more susceptible to sun damage on the scalp
  • Some scalp sunscreens are water-resistant, making them ideal for outdoor activities like swimming or sports
  • Scalp sunscreen may contain ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which provide physical UV protection, or chemical UV-blocking agents like avobenzone or octinoxate
  • It should be applied liberally to the scalp at least 15–30 minutes before sun exposure
  • Must be reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating
  • Some people may find scalp sunscreen to be greasy or heavy, so it’s important to choose a product that works well for your hair type


Both sunblock and sunscreen are effective ways to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. They provide varying degrees of protection and should be reapplied regularly. 

Sunblock works by creating a physical barrier, while sunscreen works by absorbing UV rays. Sunblock is better for sensitive skin, while sunscreen is suitable for most skin types. 

Ultimately, the choice between sunblock vs sunscreen comes down to personal preference and the level of protection you need.

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