March 2, 2017

Sunscreen or Sunblock? Which is which?


Gone are the days now where we dread taking a morning shower, or get savings in our electricity bills for not using our aircon units that often due to the cold weather. We are now feeling the warm, sunny and dry heat of summer. And we can’t wait to jump into that refreshing pool or that inviting beach to beat off that summer heat, but wait! Are we protected?

We all know that sunlight gives us energy and provides Vitamin D which is good for our health, but too much exposure or being exposed in it during the wrong time of the day can be very dangerous, and damaging particularly to our skin due to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that comes with it. Even if we do not engage in these summer activities, we should ensure adequate protection for our skin.

What to use now? Sunscreen or Sunblock? These are two different products that give different protection.

Sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb UVA rays and reduce the amount that reaches the skin to prevent damage in your dermal layer. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the active ingredients needed to deflect the harmful UV rays before they reach the epidermis, or the outer layer of your skin. Another ingredient to look for is ecamsule, which is a photostable sun protectant that guards off photoaging UVA rays. By the way, “A” in UVA ray stands for “Ageing.” So basically, sunscreen protects our skin from the aging effects of the sunlight. Another distinct characteristic of sunscreen, is that it’s usually colorless and gets invisible when applied on to skin.

Sunblock on the other hand protects our skin from UVB rays. “B” in UVB rays stands for “Burning.” Sunblock when applied serves as barrier between these harmful UVB rays and our skin, reflecting or scattering these UVB light to prevent “burning” of the skin, or commonly known as “sunburn.” You may look for sunblocks with octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate and octocrylene. These are organic compounds with absorption, antibacterial and mositurizing properties respectively. It is the one usually thicker and remain visible when applied on to skin and more difficult to wash off than sunscreen.

Luckily, nowadays, there are products, like the broad-spectrum protection sunscreen that have both the protection from UVA and UVB radiation, so you won’t need to buy 2 separate products anymore.

Another important tip, we should still consider looking for product with higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) because it defines how long we get to stay protected under the harmful rays of the sun. SPF 15 means we get to have 15 times protected against uv rays than having a product without SPF at all.

So the next time we visit our favorite beauty counter, make sure we know the benefits we can get from the labels they have. We must prioritize the protective benefits they have to aid us in enjoying our outdoor activities, not only this summer, but in our day-to-day plans. As they say, prevention is better than cure, so let’s have a worry-free skin everyday.

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Lizzy F. | Pinoy Trends

Lizzy is a single mom who's workaholic on weekdays, but a full-time mom to her unica hija and cats and dogs on weekends. She had never moved on with her top 40 kinda music, but would still cry tremendously every time she watched 8 Below movie. Pet peeve: stubborn people.