Sunscreen vs Sunblock: What’s Actually the Difference?

What’s a beach day without sunscreen? A total sunburn disaster, ouch! We wouldn’t even want to think about it. Many people wonder about sunscreen vs sunblock, which is better?

Irrespective, of sunscreen or sunblock, it is a must-have in every season (no, not only in summers) but every season. Even if you are going to cook food, wear sunscreen

Have you ever wondered why sunscreen and sunblock are two different things but do the same job? So why are they different? Read ahead as we break down sunscreen vs sunblock in depth.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen works as a defense layer between your skin and sun harmful UV rays. It filters the UV rays and keeps most of the rays out, however, some may penetrate through your skin. Sunscreen contains ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, para-aminobenzoic acid, and others that absorb the sun’s rays. It is also called chemical sunscreen.

UV rays are incredibly harmful to your skin and may cause pigmentation, dark spots and, in the worst case, skin cancer. So to protect your skin, apply an adequate layer of sunscreen to your skin. 

What is Sunscreen?

What is Sunblock?

The main function of the sunblock is also to protect the skin from sun’s UV rays.The product is thicker and less translucent than sunscreen. It creates a thick layer to repel the sun’s harmful rays; that’s why it is referred as physical sunscreen. Unlike sunscreen, sunblock repels UV rays and doesn’t let anything pass through your skin. 

Sunscreen vs Sunblock – Main Difference Between Them


The main difference between sunscreen and sunblock is the mechanism of protection from UV rays. Sunscreen mainly absorbs the harmful rays so that they don’t reach the deeper layer of your skin. The product usually gets absorbed into the skin quickly. 


While we know a sunblock creates a barrier between the skin and UV rays. When we apply sunblock the product is prominent and visible on the skin.It often leaves a white cast on the skin. 

Sunscreen vs Sunblock Ingredients

Sunscreen has a combination of ingredients that helps to protect against UV rays. Oxybenzone or Avobenzone are the two main ingredients present in sunscreen. It also contains elements like PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid); some users might be allergic to PABA, so it’s best to use a sunblock instead.

Sunblock contains titanium oxide or zinc oxide as its main ingredients. Because of these elements, sunblock seems thicker in consistency than a transparent sunscreen. Users find it difficult to spread the sunblock on their skin. 

Which one should I use, Sunscreen or Sunblock?

Which one should I use, Sunscreen or Sunblock?

Both sunscreen and sunblock protect against the sun. But, when it comes to choosing the one that suits your skin, you would likely be using a sunblock with zinc oxide to have complete protection from sun damage. If you are going for a sunblock, be aware of specific ingredients, as they can flare up allergies. 

People with sensitive skin must avoid anything with a lot of fragrance, preservatives and certain chemicals that can cause allergic reactions. But, if you have a regular skin type, you must go for sunscreen instead of sunblock. You can always consult your dermatologist to see which one works best for your skin type.

The takeaway is that sunscreen vs sunblock is something we can debate about and weigh the pros and cons of both. Knowing which one is suitable for your skin type is solely your decision to make as both are sun-protecting products and both have different things to offer, so choose wisely! 

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