We’ve all heard of the notion of, ‘making your own sunscreen’, to avoid potentially dangerous ingredients in sun protection, but maybe we should back up and look at what’s actually in our ready-to-use, readily-accessible (and let’s face it, easier to use/access/provide to guests), store-bought sunscreens and sunblocks.
First, what’s the difference between sunscreen and sunblock? Don’t they both provide sun protection? Correct. But they do so in two very different ways. Sunblock does just that, it blocks out harmful UVA and UVB rays as soon as you apply it. Sunscreen actually absorbs the rays and takes about 20 minutes for it to become effective after application.
Sunblock seems like the best solution – it contains 2 active ingredients/UV filter ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are both generally safe for your skin (unless you are sensitive to mineral makeup, the titanium dioxide might present a break-out issue). The only problem is sunblock is thick and difficult to apply. It doesn’t absorb quickly and can leave a white layer of cream and needs to be reapplied frequently (due to it rubbing off more easily.)
Sunscreen is much easier to apply. It comes in sprays and creamy solutions which apply easily and absorb much better. It stays on longer, but any sweaty deckie will tell you, it sure stings when it hits the eyes! Its active ingredients/UV filters include a long list of tough-to-pronounce substances, some of which are irritating to the skin and can generate free radicals which cause skin damage, irritation and aging. Sunblock’s ingredients do not generate free radicals.
So! The option is yours. It might be worth doing a little more investigation but next time you hit the grocery store, be sure to check out your options! Making your own sunscreen/sunblock could also be an option, although there seems to be some mixed opinions on this one. We’ll explore this topic another day :)