Although FDA labeling no longer allows sun protection companies to label as products as “sunblock”, there is a meaning to each name and we break the confusion down for you here.
What are Words For?
While both terms are effective defensive options against the sun, the former concentrates on UVA rays, and the latter, UVB.
An easy way to remember the difference is by looking at the words themselves; they each describe exactly what they do. Sunscreen settles into the skin and “screens” out most of the UV rays, while sunblock remains visible on the skin’s surface and “blocks”, or deflects, the rays away. As an example, you may recall Roy Scheider’s character in Jaws sporting that obvious zinc oxide on his nose as he went out to sea with Quint and Hooper on the Orca.
As with many sun-protective or medicinal options nowadays, significant improvements have been made. Meaning presently you can buy products that combine both sunscreen and sun-block. It’s the best of both worlds!
Application and Re-application
Regardless of which version of sun shield you opt to use on your skin, it’s important to make sure you’re using enough of it. The rule of thumb is that at minimum you should employ an amount that would at least fill a standard shot glass. At issue is that even among the people who do regularly use it, the amount that many apply is insufficient to adequately safeguard them. Frankly, if you’re going to buy it and wear it, you might as well get your money’s worth of sun protection.
And remember, it’s just as important to re-apply your sunscreen or sunblock as it is to apply it in the first place. Ideally, the first coating should go on about half an hour before you head outside. It should then be re-applied no longer than every two hours to maintain your protection.
If you’re active while outdoors you should apply additional amounts of sunscreen or sunblock even sooner. Activities that cause you to sweat will most certainly hasten the erosion of the product’s effectiveness. Of course, swimming will do that as well. So no matter how recently you’ve put in on, please be sure to add more as soon as you come out of the water.
One very easy way to determine when more sunscreen or sunblock is needed without having to guess is to use our Sundicators. Sundicators are UV monitoring wristbands that, through a simple color-changing technology, tell the wearer at a glance when it’s time to re-apply the product. They’re waterproof, gender-neutral and are made for use by all ages. They’re the size of a narrow bookmark, and don’t interfere at all with any outside sport or activity. For more information on them, please click the link to our website below.
What Else Can You Do?
Unless, for whatever reason, some wayward villain is making you walk across the open desert like Clint Eastwood had to in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, there is almost always shade to be found when you’re outside. If so, don’t be shy; use it. Trees, awnings, patio umbrellas and the like are all good options.
Also, accentuate the protection your sunscreen or sunblock is affording you by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats and sunglasses. If you’re a man who wears one, believe it or not that beard is greatly helping you too by preventing most of the sun’s UV rays from reaching the part of your face that it’s covering.
There are so many easy ways to keep yourself safe from the sun. The more you adhere to using them, the more your chances increase of keeping your skin healthy and looking great!
*Additional source articles: oncosec.com and cancer.about.com
Sundicators: The Best Skin-surance Under the Sun!
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