Sunscreen and sunblock shield you from different types of rays. Here’s why you need them.
If there’s one thing all beauty insiders agree on, it’s using sun protection. Irrespective of skin tone, colour or type, using sunscreen or sunblock should be part of your daily beauty routine. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that reaches the earth from the sun causing skin damage.
What really causes damage?
The sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) rays account for roughly 95 per cent of the radiation reaching the earth’s surface. They deeply penetrate the skin, causing damage to the skin’s DNA as well as ageing, resulting in leathery-looking skin and wrinkles. They can penetrate through glass too, so you need protection even if you’re indoors the entire day. More intense than UVA rays, UVB rays can damage the outer layers of the skin and are the main cause of sunburns, pigmentation and skin cancer. These rays are present even on rainy and cloudy days, making it important to slather on sunscreen or sunblock even when you can’t see the sun.
What’s the difference between sunblocks and sunscreens?
Sunblocks and sunscreens are actually two different kinds of protective lotions. Sunblocks are formulated with organic and non-organic ingredients and sit atop your skin to shield it. They tend to have a more opaque consistency and reflect the UVB rays preventing them from reaching your skin.
Sunscreens, on the other hand, contain ingredients that absorb ultraviolet A (UVA) rays before they can reach the deeper layers of the skin and cause damage. They are also called chemical sunscreen. Sunscreens are lighter, almost invisible, and should be reapplied more often since ingredients break down after extended exposure to sunlight. Using a broad spectrum sun protection product will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
A version of this article first appeared on www.cleo.com.sg.