By November 1, 2013 Read More →

Are You Getting Enough Protection with your Sunscreen

sunscreenIs sunscreen a staple in your daily skin care routine? Are you doing your best to purchase expensive sunblock only, thinking that they’re the best in the market? Have you heard of the claims that products like these are a must if you want to keep your skin youthful? There is no doubt that these products keep sun rays off from your skin, but have you contemplated hard if they really protect you from the sun? Today, you’ll learn the differences of sunblock and sunscreen and you’ll also see whether or not these products are truly enough to protect you from premature aging. You’ll also learn new ways on how to protect your skin from the sun sans wearing these products.

Sunblock/Sunscreen – Which is which?

A lot of people think that sunblock and sunscreens are the same. They forgot that both products are created with special features and that they may not have the same specifications. First off, sunscreens are used to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays by absorbing it. The UVB rays are then destroyed once it gets to a skin that’s covered with sunscreen. On the one hand, sunscreen is more transparent and lighter compared to sunblock. Meanwhile, sunblock is quite whitish in color and your favorite lotions are usually loaded with sunblock already. What sunblock does is reflects the sun’s rays, both UVA and UVB, back to the air without necessarily letting it absorb in the skin and destroy it from there. Conversely, nobody wants to wear the heavier and the whiter sunblock from head to foot, right? This situation makes sunscreen more popular when it comes to facial sun protection and sunblock more popular when it comes to arms and legs protection. But when it comes to swimming and sun bathing in swimsuits, sunscreen is oftentimes used more than sunblock because of its finish effect on the skin.

To help you decide which product to use, take note of these quick tips: use sunscreen when you’re out at the beach and in broad daylight, and use sunblock when going out of the house heading to your office or going to school without really expecting to stay out for more hours.
Are Both Products Effective in Fighting against Premature Aging of Skin?

This is a question that most people, especially women, are raising. It has been shown that both products functions as shields from the sun, which is apparently the number one cause of skin aging. Nevertheless, we cannot really their efficacy unless we understand their ingredients and how they work.

Firstly, sunblock contains zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which are known for their roles in repelling the sun’s rays. It should be remembered that both rays are the culprits of sunburn and skin cancer. Also, most companies are incorporating sunblock in their whitening lotions and creams these days. Therefore, you get to enjoy two benefits in one product. Meanwhile, sunscreen also offer the same protection as it contains benzophenone and cinnamates and salicyclates, which fight against UVA and UVB respectively. You might also read avobenzone as an ingredient in sunscreen. But sunscreens take time to start working; hence, you need to reapply it to your skin. Nevertheless, there are sunscreen products in the market that are packed with Helioplex and Anthelios Hx, which are the current breakthrough in this product. It has been dubbed that both items can protect the skin from the sun’s rays for 4-5 hours longer than regular sunscreens, making them more expensive compared to the conventional choices.

Secondly, your skin color tells which sunblock or sunscreen you should opt. If you have fair skin, you need to protect it more with sunblocks or sunscreens that at least have an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30. Fairer skin has lesser melanin or skin pigmentation, which is a body’s natural defense against the sun’s harmful rays. Others even opt for SPF 45. Consequently, people with brown or dark-colored skin go for lower SPFs like 15 or 10.

Thirdly, knowing the application procedure is your best defense to fully utilize the products. These sun-shields should be applied on the skin 30 minutes before sun exposure. It is only in this time duration that they have started to settle in the skin and ready for protection. Also, it should be noted that sweat and water, especially salt water and chlorinated water, can wear off the product. It is then advisable to re-apply sunscreen before going to the water and in-between rests. Experts advise to re-apply ever two hours.

Fourthly, always remember that there is no single sunblock or sunscreen, no matter how sophisticated, that can protect you from the sun’s damaging rays 100%. Needless to say, you still need to find ways on how you can avoid exposing your skin from the sun for a long time.

Fifthly, both products contain chemicals, which may and may not be good for your skin. For instance, both products may contain parabens. Experts note that any chemical ending in ben is BAD. Whether it’s methylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben, it is bad. Sadly, some of our favorite sunblocks and sunscreens contain this chemical, which is found to be a carcinogen and can actually cause damaged skin in long run than smooth, youthful skin. So, start tossing those sunblocks that are packed with this ingredient. Benzophenone, one of the most common ingredients in sunscreens, has been found to be a culprit of some health woes. Experts found that this ingredient upsets hormones and affects a person’s cognitive aspect. Some sunscreens contain PABA, which often cause allergic reaction to most users.

Other Tips

Given the basic facts of both products, you’re still encouraged to protect your skin from the sun’s rays by knowing the good ingredients. Opt for sunscreens and sunblocks that are made of plant-based ingredients and also those that are non-fragrant or non-scented. These are safer, but may not be as stronger as the chemical alternatives. But would you rather use a skin damaging product? One of the ways to avoid premature skin aging due to the sun’s rays is to cover your body with protective clothing when planning to spend water sports for few hours. Rash guards are a good bet when surfing or skiing. Speaking of clothing, opt for heavier and darker colors when going out of the house during the day. Dark ones don’t absorb suns’ rays while heavy pieces of clothing disable the rays to get through to it easily. Staying away from the sun is another best tip. Always remember too that these products, when not used properly, may have an unsightly effect on your skin. Consequently, you have to test for possible allergic reactions to the product before purchasing it by rubbing a little amount of it on the back of your palm. If it gets irritated, don’t buy. Don’t forget to apply the areas at the back of your ears, back of knees, and even on your feet and hands, which are oftentimes neglected. It is also advisable to use sunscreens even during cloudy days and learn that you should stay away from the sun from 10am-3pm. Finally, some of the best sunscreen and sunblock products out there include: Coolibar, NO-AD sunscreen lotion, Clinique Broad Spectrum, and more.

About the Author:

A senior writer and editor of The Green Guide and a father of 3 kids (1 girl and 2 boys). Rob's special interests include geography, enviroment study and hiking. Rob has traveled to over 100 places in 30 different countries in the past three years. His exotic and fun experiences will be talked in his new book which is going to be published soon.

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