Sunscreens after have many ingredients we don’t even know how to pronounce. Many of these may be harmful to your health and the environment. We have created a guide to select a sunscreen that works best for you.
Is it sunscreen or sunblock?
The main difference between sunscreen and sunblock is the active ingredients. Sunblocks create a physical barrier layer on the skin, reflecting like a mirror to limit the penetration of UV rays. Sunscreens are chemical and coat our skin with chemical agents that turn UV rays into heat which are then released into the air.
How are sunscreen and sunblock different?
Sunblocks active ingredients are titanium oxide or zinc oxide whereas sunscreens active ingredients may be PABA, avobenzone or oxybenzone.
Sunblock may also be called mineral sunscreen.
What is SPF?
SPF means sun protection factor. This is a measure of how many UV rays penetrate a layer of sunscreen.
What is the best SPF?
Despite being in a country that is especially vulnerable to skin cancers, it is not required for sunscreens to be SPF tested. Make sure to lookout for products with no SPF rating as they may not be protecting you from the sun. No SPF can protect you 100% from UV and UVB rays, making re-application crucial. Higher SPF does offer better sun protection.
- SPF15 blocks 93% of UV rays
- SPF30 blocks 97% of UV rays
Which type should I choose?
Now that you know the difference, which type of sun protectant is best for you and your family?
Healthline recommends the best sun protectants have:
- Water resistance
- Broad spectrum protection
Both physical and chemical sunscreens are effective in preventing sun damage. Broad-spectrum sunscreens with offer your the best protection from the sun. Broad spectrum means the product will be protecting you from both UV and UVB rays. Many products, such as Babu sunscreen has a combination of both sunscreen and sunblocking ingredients.
Some people consider physical sunblocking formulas better as they are made from active minerals. However, it is important to read the labels of your favourite sunscreen as some mineral formulas are accompanied by nasty chemicals.
What ingredients should I avoid?
Is sunscreen reef safe?
Unfortunately, there is no way of scientifically testing whether a sunscreen is reef safe or not- yet. Until this type of testing becomes available, it is important to be weary of reef safe branded products.
Still interested? Check out Health Post for more healthy sunscreen information.