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Sunscreen vs. Sunblock vs. SPF: What’s The Best Option for Redheads?

Know Your Terms!

As redheads, you’ve probably (okay, definitely) heard the words “sunscreen”, “sunblock” and “SPF”. They’re used interchangeably, but did you know sunscreen and sunblock aren’t the same thing, technically? And SPF is more of an umbrella term.

Sunscreen, sunblock and SPF all serve the same purpose — they’re made to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays, but they work in different ways. Here’s everything you need to know about these terms and what they really mean:

What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a  “chemical sunscreen filter”. It penetrates the skin absorbing the UV rays before they reach and damage the dermal layers. Some sunscreens include avobenzone, oxybenzone, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), which are ingredients used to absorb the sun’s rays.

What is sunblock?

Sunblock also known as “mineral” (or physical) sunscreen deflects the rays before they reach your skin. Sunblock has ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide. The consistency is typically thicker in consistency and may leave a white cast on the body. 

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor (SPF 50, SPF 100, etc) and while this isn’t a type of product, it often gets assigned to sunscreen and sunblock products. SPF is an umbrella term that covers any product that offers sun protection from UVB rays. 

Which one is best for redheads? 

At the end of the day, many of these terms are used interchangeably, and it doesn’t really matter which one you opt for when it comes to getting proper protection. It’s important for redheads to choose a product that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and make sure to always reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.

One thing you might want to consider when choosing between sunscreen and sunblock are the ingredients. Redheads often have more sensitive skin and may experience irritation when using a chemical sunscreen, which means a sunblock (or mineral sunscreen) may be a better option. 

Rock it like a Redhead!


READ: The Best Mineral Sunscreens for Redheads Under $25

READ: Does Makeup With SPF Provide Adequate Sun Protection?

READ: 6 of the Best Hats to Protect Redheads from The Sun