Sun Safety, Preventative Tips

Sunblock vs sunscreen - What is the difference?

There are some big differences between sunblock and sunscreen

Team Avatar
Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 24/01/14

Often sunblock and sunscreen are interpreted as the same thing, however they are actually quite different. This article will help you understand the difference between sunblock and sunscreen once and for all.


  • Is also called physical sunblock and occasionally physical sunscreen (just to confuse you even more)
  • Contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
  • These compounds physically ‘block’ ultraviolet radiation at the skins surface
  • Acts on the surface of the skin and does not have to be absorbed by the skin


  • Is also called chemical sunscreen
  • Contains active chemical ingredients that act as filters and reduce ultraviolet radiation penetration to the skin
  • These chemicals have to be absorbed by the skin and take at least 20 mins to be effective.

Visit The Cancer Council for more information on sunscreen.

For special offers, promotions and health news

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Laybuy - Pay it, easy.