Choosing skincare products perfect for sensitive skin can be a nightmare! This is why sensitive skin sufferers should use sunblock and not sunscreen. Sunblock is the best sun protection for sensitive skin... this is why... http://wp.me/p6LuQS-11n

Why Sunblock Is Best For Sensitive Skin

In Anti-aging & Protective Skincare, Sensitive Skincare by Cheryl Woodman MChem1 Comment

When those dreamy pictures of sunshine and palm trees become a reality… or at least the sunshine part, there’s no palm trees in my garden. Yours? *winks*… it’s time to ramp-up the suncream application. This can be a nightmare if you have sensitive skin. Extra products, means more stuff on your skin that could cause a freak out.

This is why, the best kind of sun protection for sensitive skin is sunblock.

Want to know exactly why and just how to choose one? I have you covered…

Choosing skincare products perfect for sensitive skin can be a nightmare! This is why sensitive skin sufferers should use sunblock and not sunscreen. Sunblock is the best sun protection for sensitive skin... this is why... http://wp.me/p6LuQS-11n

What The Heck Is Sunblock?

Did you know there are 2 families of sun protecting ingredients? Personally, I had no clue until I became a cosmetic chemist and really looked into these things. There’s lots of words that get used to refer to, ‘that cream in the yellow/orange bottle’. Suncream, sunscreen, sunblock, sun protection, sun fluid… very fancy ‘eh!

There’s only 2 names that tell you more about the actual cream;

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Sunblock

These my friend, are the 2 families of sun protecting ingredients.

But, what are they? What do they mean? How do they help me?

Sunscreen and sunblock ingredients defend your skin from sun damage, but they do it in different ways. It’s like ordering take-out to eat in your comfy pants or dressing-up to head out for a fancy dinner.  You still succeed in your goal of food, but both experiences have different benefits ‘eh *smiles*.

  1. Sunscreen ingredients react with UV light to make it harmless.
  2. Sunblock ingredients reflect UV light, keeping it away from skin.

Sunscreen ingredients are a bit like those self-warming hand heaters. The ones where you flip a tiny disc inside the packet, followed by crazily instant heat. Sunscreen does nothing until it sees a UV ray. When it bumps into its one true love, things get ‘heated’ and chemistry happens. In non-romantic talk, sunscreen sucks up the energy of a UV ray, making it harmless to your skin. When it does this, the energy breaks down the sunscreen ingredients into something new. This is why you have to reapply sunscreen, it gets used up.

Sunblock ingredients are like having lots of tiny, tiny mirrors all over your skin. Ever seen a solar farm? That’s what sunblock would look like on your skin, times a bazillion in magnification. Sunblock ingredients don’t react with UV light like sunscreen. Instead they save their energy and give it the, ‘talk to the hand’ treatment. This is why sunblock lasts longer than sunscreen.

Want a handy reminder? I’ve pulled together a freebie, 1-page crib sheet that explains exactly how to de-code a bottle of sun protection. If you’ve found yourself puzzled by the difference between suncreams in the past, this is for you!

Choosing the best sun protection is a pretty weighty decision. Make it a great one, and it will permanently put a lock on the door between your beautiful skin and it ending up looking like a well-done rasher of bacon *winks*. Unlike a lot of other skincare products, you can tell exactly what that bottle of sun protection will do for your skin, just by looking at the bottle. That means once you arm yourself up with this 10 phrase sun protection dictionary, you'll be choosing the best sun protection faster than a NASA rocket launch... http://wp.me/p6LuQS-VI

Why Is Sunblock Best for Sensitive Skin?

Sunblock is the best sun protection for sensitive skin for lots of reasons. You’ve probably already guessed a few!

  • Sunblock is made from minerals naturally found within skin.
  • It’s pretty inert, which means it doesn’t react with stuff.
  • It’s based on a mineral that helps skin heal.
  • It lasts longer than sunscreen.
  • It’s an FDA registered skin protectant.
  • They are broad spectrum! (download the sun protection crib sheet if that makes no sense)

You might be wondering what these magic ingredients are. ‘N let’s face it, it’d be helpful to know a few to check whether you’re holding a sunscreen or a sunblock. Not every brand is as helpful as labeling them with their family name. There’s gotta be room for some fancy marketing speak too ‘eh *winks*.

The family of sunblock ingredients is small. Which is kindly, friendly on our brain cells!

  1. Zinc oxide
  2. Titanium dioxide

If you’re holding a sunscreen, you’ll see some of these ingredients on the list;

  1. Oxybenzone
  2. Dioxybenzone
  3. Avobenzone
  4. Ethylhexyl Salicylate
  5. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
  6. Octyl Methoxycinnamate
  7. Octocrylene
  8. Homosalate
  9. Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane

There are lots of others. These are some of the most common and you’ll usually find at least one of the bolded options in a sunscreen.

While you can make a sunblock from zinc oxide that protects from UVA & UVB damage (I explain the difference in the sun protection crib sheet). You need more than 1 sunscreen ingredient to do the same. Some of these only protect against one kind of UV light. Others protect a little against both.

The blend of ingredients in a sunscreen is really important which is why, some suncreams will also contain sunblock ingredients.

I know those ingredients lists can be a bit daunting. So let me walk you through a couple…

Have a go at guessing whether each is a sunblock or sunscreen before you scroll past the ingredients list.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 SPF50…

Aqua / Water, Homosalate, Panthenol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Alcohol Denat., Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Triethanolamine, Dimethicone, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Peg-8 Laurate, Sorbitan Oleate, Zinc Gluconate, Madecassoside, Manganese Gluconate, Isohexadecane, Sodium Acrylates Crosspolymer-2, Silica, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol, Perlite, Drometrizole Trisiloxane, Poloxamer 338, Disodium Edta, Copper Gluconate, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, BHT, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol.

Did you take a guess? No peeking ‘eh *winks*.

This pick is a sunscreen. There’s no confusion there. Zinc oxide, our favourite sunblock ingredient is definitely not on the ingredient list. There’s also a party full of sunscreen ingredients (the bolded ones).

Let’s take another go…

Aveeno Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (6%) (Sunscreen), Zinc Oxide (3%) (Sunscreen), Inactive Ingredients: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-8, Beeswax, Dimethylimidazolidinone Rice Starch, Polyamide-5, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Arachidyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Trisiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Bisabolol, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Arachidyl Glucoside, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Sodium Citrate, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract.

Got your answer in mind?

This example is a mind boggle. You might’ve been confused because the product names itself a sunscreen. Did you see that? You might’ve looked at the ingredients list and been confused to find just sunblock ingredients.

Let me clear this up for ya. This example is definitely a sunblock.

It really is a little strange that Aveeno choose to call this a sunscreen. I’d take a guess that they are trying to avoid being associated with the ‘white-cast’ some sunblocks create.

This is the one downfall of sunblock, sometimes it can leave a white cast on skin. This can make you look audition ready for Casper the ghost. hmmm… not what you were going for? Thankfully there are lots of new sunblock formulations that make this effect minimal.

Final guess who…

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28

Active Ingredients: 11.6% Zinc Oxide (ZinClear™), 0.67% Titanium Dioxide. Inactive Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate (Coconut Oil), Glycerin (Vegetable), Cetearyl Alcohol (Coconut), Cetearyl Glucoside (Coconut), Squalane (Spanish Olive), Gluconolactone, Dicaprylyl Ether (Coconut Oil/Palm Kernel Oil), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Fructooligosaccharides (D-Beta) (NutraFlora®), Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Glyceryl Isostearate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate (Vegetable), Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum (Fermented Sugar), Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Alumina, Simethicone, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

What a breath of fresh air this one is ‘eh!

Sometimes companies will list out the active sun protecting ingredients separately from the rest of the cream. This is so helpful!

This suncream is definitely a sunblock. One that’s specially made to avoid white cast.

Best for sensitive skin. Tick. Sunblock ingredients only. Tick. Avoids the Casper look? Tick.

Why Sunblock Is the Best Sun Protection for Sensitive Skin

The difference between using a sunscreen or a sunblock is a bit like ordering takeaway pizza or chinese that comes with free prawn crackers! Sunscreens do their job well, a lot of people even prefer them as they never leave a white cast. BUT. Sunscreen ingredients do nothing else other than defend skin from UV damage. While that is no small thing, sunblock ingredients go the extra mile. They have the prawn cracker freebies that are perfect for sensitive skin.

If you have very sensitive skin, your skin might even react to sunscreen ingredients, or the chemicals they turn into when reacting with sunlight. This is another reason why sunblock is the best sun protection for sensitive skin, it doesn’t react with anything, your skin included.


Which brand of sun protection do you use? What was it that made you choose it? Chat to me in the comments below…


Choosing the best sun protection is a pretty weighty decision. Make it a great one, and it will permanently put a lock on the door between your beautiful skin and it ending up looking like a well-done rasher of bacon *winks*. Unlike a lot of other skincare products, you can tell exactly what that bottle of sun protection will do for your skin, just by looking at the bottle. That means once you arm yourself up with this 10 phrase sun protection dictionary, you'll be choosing the best sun protection faster than a NASA rocket launch... http://wp.me/p6LuQS-VI