National Sun Awareness Week: Sunscreen vs Sunblock

June 6th to June 12th is National Sun Awareness Week! Choosing a sunscreen can be overwhelming as store shelves across the country stock up on hundreds of different kinds of sun protectants. Sprays vs lotions, SPF 20 vs SPF 60, Ultra Sheer vs Ultra Defense… the list goes on and on! Although it is common to interchange the words sunscreen and sunblock, there is indeed a difference between the two: chemical vs physical protection.

Sunscreens protect our skin from harmful rays by absorbing UV radiation using carbon-containing chemicals. These chemicals go by a variety of names: avobenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, oxybenzone, octisalate, ecamsule, etc. Sunscreens are absorbed by the skin and should be applied 20-30 minutes before exposure. It is not uncommon for your skin to develop a sensitivity to one or more chemicals found in sunscreens. If this is true for you then consider using a sunblock instead!

Sunblocks protect our skin by reflecting the sun’s rays. The active ingredients in sunblocks are minerals – Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Sunblock is also known as physical or mineral sunscreen. It is effective immediately after application. Recall the vibrant white nose of the lifeguard at the beach? Sunblocks have gotten a bad rap for being thick, greasy, and unappealing as their formulas rest on the skin’s surface. Nowadays, technology has enabled the micronization of the active minerals allowing for a sheer application and matte finish.

At Dr. Andrea Hickey’s Medical Aesthetics we are happy to offer both sunscreens and sunblocks. The ProDerm™ Cosmeceutical line provides two excellent sunscreens – a Facial Day Cream and a Daytime Fluid. In addition to providing an SPF of 20, each daily protectant also contains natural soothing agents and high quality moisturizers.

The newest addition to our sun protection collection is the TiZO Mineral Sunscreen. Both tinted and non-tinted formulas are gentle on even the most sensitive skin. These sunblocks have an SPF 40 and are free of chemical sunscreen filters, dyes, fragrances, oils and preservatives.

All of our sun protection products guarantee broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays!