A lovely golden tan is probably on the mind of everyone as we rock and roll into the Summer(for some of us, at least). It just doesn't seem right to be walking around the beach on a hot Summer's day in your bikini or your shorts, heading off to the water's edge with a skin tone matching that of the white sand. Some people think that those people should be banned from beaches until they have taken a trip to their local tanning spa or have at least put in a couple of descent hours lying in the sun, getting a good tan.


Sunscreen vs. Sunblock

Most people don’t realize it, but there is actually quite a difference between sunblock and sunscreen. It mostly boils down to the ingredients. Quite literally, the sunblock will block out the rays a lot more for a greater length of time. If you look at the ingredients in sunblock, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - these are just a few of the ingredients that you will discover.

These will usually make your skin whiter. Sunscreen doesn’t have this effect on your skin. They contain things like benzophenoes, which add protection against UV and cinnamates as well as salicylates which will protect against the UVB factor.

sun tanning


These days, Helioplex is an added ingredient that help prolong the protection. If you see a sunscreen advertised which tells you that this ingredient has been added then you can be confident that it is going to do you some good. Neutrogena offers a very good make of sunscreen with this ingredient which has done well in the reviews.

A Sensitive skin sunblock that will suit you

To find the right kind of sunblock for your skin you really have to experiment. You will know if you have sensitive skin from either applying makeup or shaving. You may have experienced some kind of allergy with previous brands. If you have a fair skin then you should definitely look into a sunblock with a high SPF, especially if you are an outdoor kind of person.

Something like Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion is something to look out for because it is designed for skin types of a sensitive nature. This particular sunblock doesn’t have a fragrance or irritant that may bother you normally. It is also hypo-allergenic. If you are looking for a non-greasy sunblock then this may not be for you because it does tend to have a bit of oil to it, but it would be perfect for the beach.

Sunblock for babies and children - what to choose?

Getting the right sunblock for your baby from the start is vital, especially in this day and age with climatic changes and the various ways that the environment can add extra damage. Dermatologists don’t advise that you expose babies to the sun who are less than 6 months old, but if you have to it is important that you look to a sunscreen or sunblock that that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients will protect against UVA and UVB rays.

There is always the debate about using chemical products on young skins, but there is no proof that has caused damage unless the skin starts to flare up. Do a patch test beforehand. Do this test to the inside of the upper arm. You should find an SPF which is at least 15, but under 30. If you exceed that then you will be looking at decreasing the amount of protection. It’s not necessary to buy a children’s sunblock.

sunscreen for children

credit: Lisa Williams

There is not much of a difference at the end of the day. When it comes to the application make sure you take particular care with the face, covering all the features thickly. Reapply the sunscreen every couple of hours, even if it says it is waterproof. Don’t be fooled by labels that say you only have to reapply every so often. Always look at the ingredients to know what is inside the tube. Don’t trust the cover of the bottle, especially when it comes to sensitive skins.

What the sun can do your skin

Unfortunately, the problem with this is that the lovely golden brown tan you are after doesn’t last all that long and you will have to work at it day in and day out. This causes excessive damage to your skin.

You may not notice the damage in years to come, but later down the line you will start to see fine lines starting to appear a lot sooner than they should actually be there. This is because the layers under the top layer of your skin have been damaged. There really is nothing you can do for this. Some people will spend a hefty amount on chemical peels and plastic surgery.

Worse than this, you may find that you develop skin cancer at quite an early age. Melanoma is the worse type of skin cancer caused by the sun. Once it gets into your blood it can spread like a forest fire and if it is left it can quickly get into your organs. This is why it is essential to look for a protection. The obvious answer would be to look into one of the good sunblock brands on the market.

Don't be fooled by overcast weather


credit: flickr.com/photos/axelkr/2875470332

Of course, it doesn’t mean stay off the beach completely. What if you are passionate about surfing or something like wakeboarding. Choosing a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 is going to keep the harmful rays away. This will also depend on your lifestyle and your skin type. If you are someone who spends their life on the beach then you may want to step up the factor a little and you may also want to find something for a sensitive skin if that is you.

If you are wearing a good sunblock and still getting burnt, then deal with the situation and find something better which is right for you. It is the UVA which penetrates into your skin and this produces melanin. The UVB is what gives you a sunburn. Don’t be fooled by thinking that it’s safe to stay in your local tanning salon either because the lights they use give the same effect that outdoor tanning gives.