Sunscreen vs Sunblock, CNY Healing Arts skin careBy Lauren Krug, NYS Licensed Esthetician and Nail Specialty

Spring is finally upon us and summer will be just around the corner, at CNY Healing Arts in Latham NY, we want your skin to be prepared! The sun’s rays are more powerful then ever and its time to start protecting your skin from damage that can be caused by over exposure to the sun. As you are preparing for outside get togethers, walks in the park and days by the lake, attention must be paid to you and your family’s skin health. Now the big question: Sunscreen VS Sunblock? Is there a difference? Does it really matter? Truth be told, it does matter depending on what you’re looking for. Let’s break it down.

Sunscreen is the more commonly used of the two sun protection lotions. An easy way to remember what sunscreen does is to use the word “screen” from it. Sunscreen, just like a screen on a window or door, filters; letting some things in but keeping most things out. Therefore sunscreen allows some UV rays to reach your skin but deflects most. The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, determines the amount of UV rays that reach your skin. The higher the SPF rating, the less UV rays reach your skin while the lower the SPF the more UV rays will reach your skin. Since sunscreen acts as a screen letting only some UV to reach the skin, a sunscreen lotion will allow some tanning of the skin while helping to prevent the skin from sunburn. Sunscreen lotions are less visible on the skin then sunblocks and most will protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate our skin more deeply than UVB rays and have been known to contribute to skin aging, wrinkles and skin cancer. UVB rays affect our outer most layers of skin, causing reddening and sunburn we have after too many hours in the sun. Sunscreen must be applied every few hours because the ingredients in the lotion break down after extended exposure to sunlight. Please remember also to reapply sunscreen after going in the water or after excessive perspiration!

Sunblock is not as widely used as sunscreen mostly because of its thick opaque white consistency. Sunblock literally acts as a “block” for the sun’s UV rays, composed mostly of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Because of the thick texture of sunblock, most people do not use it all over their body. Infants and young children should always have this sun protection lotion applied to them since their skin is more sensitive than adults and will burn easier. People with more sensitive skin who tend to burn or freckle very easily should also use sunblock rather than sunscreen.

There is no clear winner over the battle between Sunscreen vs Sunblock. If you desire sun protection but would like to get tan during those nice summer days, sunscreen is your best bet. For those with children and sensitive skin, go with a sunblock for total protection from the sun’s harmful rays. With either one you choose, just be sure the bottle says “broad spectrum”, “multi spectrum” or “UVA and UVB protection”. Also the SPF rating should be 15 or above. This way you are getting the most out of your sun lotions, while protecting you and your family from all the damaging rays of the sun. Sunscreen and sunblock should be used on a daily basis regardless of the weather to help protect your skin from UV damage. After shopping for the proper sun protection, take a trip to CNY Healing Arts in Latham NY for more skin care advice and a personalized tour of our amazing spa!

By Lauren Krug
Licensed Esthetician