Sunscreen or Sunblock? Sunny or Not, Here I Come!

sunscreenNow that summer is over, you may think your endless fight against sun damage is done; but think otherwise, the fight will never end even if it’s not sunny outside.

You should be using sunblock or sunscreeneven in winter months!

If you are trying to prevent premature aging, fine lines, and awful wrinkles, your daily beauty regimen most likely includes the application of some kind of sun protection. I am sure you also think about protecting your skin from UV rays and the free radicals they contain, thus sometimes wonder about which product to buy. Every store has many options available between sunblock and sunscreen and many people think that these two products are the same and it doesn’t matter which one you use.

skincancerHowever, there are a lot of differences between them, not only is your type of skin important but the type of protection your skin needs also plays an important role where you want to spend your hard earned money!

Thus, the question for today is:

Sunblock or Sunscreen?

First of all, as a physician, I will advise that sunscreen and sunblock are both a safe and effective form of daily sun protection. Research indicates that 95% of Melanoma(skin cancer) are caused by UV exposure. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate your skin. Just follow the main guidelines of SPF30+, Broad Spectrum, and Water Resistant.

Sunblocks are designed to provide a shield against UVB rays, while sunscreens penetrate the skin and absorb the UVA before they reach the deepest dermal layer.

Sunblock creates a layer of protection on the surface of your skin, blocks the UV rays. Has active ingredients such as Titanium or Zinc Oxide; is specially formulated to be thick so the UV rays cannot pass through. Sunblocks have more gentle ingredients to sensitive skin, although the thickness might not be ideal for acne-prone skin; but don’t feel discouraged, nowadays there are plenty of sunblocks that are “non-comedogenic”; a fancy word for “it will not make you breakout”.

Sunscreens can absorb harmful UV rays using a variety of chemicals before they penetrate your skin. Checking the label is important if you want to avoid active ingredients, fragrances or oils that are often added to sunscreens those that you might be allergic to. Sunscreens have to be applied ideally 20-30 min before sun exposure to be fully absorbed into the skin and re-applied every 2 hours.

My recommendations:


eltaMDSkinCareEltaMD sunscreens are formulated with transparent zinc oxide and are noncomedogenic, sensitivity-free, fragrance-free and paraben-free. All EltaMD sunscreens are recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation as effective broad spectrum sunscreens.


Lightweight, sheer sunscreen is ideal for oily and/or combination skin, giving you the highest level of UVA protection available, along with UVB coverage in a formulation that won't clog pores. Appropriate for oily and combination skin types.

And there is no excuse to forget your sun protection as both products are #TSAfriendly.

SkinMedicaFurthermore, if your goal is to enhance your beauty and improve your skin, use the product of your choice daily.

The best product will be the one that you will be able to use everyday!!

Robert Velarde MD

Medical Director

Serenity MedSpa and Wellness

Request an appointment here: or call Serenity Med Spa and Wellness at (281) 603-1060 for an appointment in our Houston office.

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