Most people use the terms sunscreen and sunblock interchangeably to refer generally to a lotion that protects the skin from the sun, but the two words actually carry very different meanings. This difference was recently highlighted by Hawaii’s decision to ban certain sunscreen sales due to their danger to coral reefs. Before you head out into the harsh Florida sun this summer, it’s important to understand which type of sun protection you are using and if it’s the best for your health and skin.
Sunblock Creates a Physical Barrier on the Skin
Sunblocks sit on top of the skin to absorb, reflect, and scatter the sun’s rays away from your skin. They are also known as mineral sunscreens because they contain natural mineral ingredients like zinc and titanium oxide. They sit on top of the skin to block the sun’s rays instead of entering the skin or bloodstream. Sunblocks can be thicker and a bit more difficult to apply to the skin, but they are considered the safer choice because they do not contain harmful chemicals. Sunblock products are definitely the best choice for young children, pregnant and nursing women, and those with sensitive skin.
Sunscreen Penetrates the Skin to Absorb UV Rays
Chemical sunscreens are the most widely used form of sun protection in America because they are more cosmetically appealing and easier to apply to the skin. They use chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate that are meant to work into the skin to absorb harmful UV rays and stop them from damaging the skin.
Unfortunately, these chemicals have been linked to estrogen disruption in the body and allergic skin reactions. They also pose a risk to the environment; a 2015 study of coral reefs determined that oxybenzone “leaches the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white. It can also disrupt the development of fish and other wildlife.” This has led Hawaii lawmakers to pass a bill to prohibit the sales of sunscreens containing such ingredients.
Choosing Your Sunscreen This Summer
Selecting the right form of skin protection isn’t always easy with so many options available, but it’s best to select a physical sunblock labeled as “Broad Spectrum” between 25 and 50 SPF. Physical sunblocks are gentle on sensitive skin, safer for children, and less damaging on the environment. Try a product line like Obagi, which provides mineral broad spectrum sunblocks with safe ingredients for all skin types. Call (813) 935-2273 to order your Obagi sunblock from MindBodySpirit Care in Tampa, Florida today.