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Yes, You Need Sunblock

By John Fleming

Nobody like putting on sunblock. It’s messy and inconvenient. It’s also essential if you want to keep your skin healthy. According to a recent study by the American Cancer Society, there are over 1,000,000 new cases of skin cancer each year and damage by the sun is the number one cause.

Besides the obvious health reasons for wearing sunblock, the sun makes you look older. If you can get in the habit of wearing sunblock every day you can avoid almost all of the skin problems that come along with aging. As with aging, the damage done to your skin doesn’t happen all at once but rather over a period of years. That’s why regular use of sun protection is so important. By the time you notice damage to your skin in your 20s or 30s, it’s too late. If you are in your 40s or beyond, stay with it. It can still make a huge difference in the years to come

So, what are the differences between sunblock and sunscreen? Sunblock acts like a physical barrier, like sitting under an umbrella. The old style sunblocks contained chemicals like zinc that look like a layer of white paint on your skin. Works great but maybe not so stylish for walking around the pool. Sunblock also can feel greasy and can cause some skin breakouts like acne.

Where sunblock acts as a barrier, the materials in sunscreen act as a filter to allow only a certain small range of UV light to get through to the skin. Sunscreens are not as visible on the skin as sunblock and protect against UVA, UVB, or both. Some radiation does get through and sunscreen needs to be reapplied every few hours. Exposure to sunlight causes the ingredients in sunscreen to break down so make sure to reapply every two to three hours.

There are some things that you need to know about sunblock and sunscreen:

* Don’t wait until you’re at the beach before you apply your sunscreen. Most sunscreens need a half hour to dry completely and become effective at blocking out the harmful rays.

* Remember that kids are more sensitive than adults when it comes to the sun. Use a higher SPF rating on children or even better dress them in lightweight pants or shirts that cover more of their skin. They’re relying on you for protection and that includes from the sun.

* Just like food, sunscreen goes bad. If it’s older than three years, the chemicals that protect your skin have started to break down and degrade so it’s time to go out and buy some more.

* Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D in your skin. Using sunscreen prevents this process so you should consider taking vitamin D supplements to make up for it.

* No sunscreen is completely waterproof so even if it says so, you still need to reapply sunscreen if you’ve been in the water to get the maximum benefit.

* If you’re sitting in the shade you still need sunscreen. There is enough reflected light that comes off of sand, water or snow to give you a burn, even under an umbrella. Same goes for cloudy days. Clouds don’t filter out the rays that cause burns.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Fleming, John "Yes, You Need Sunblock." Yes, You Need Sunblock. 22 Jun. 2010. 20 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Fleming, J (2010, June 22). Yes, You Need Sunblock. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Fleming, John "Yes, You Need Sunblock"

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