Sun Safety

Sunblock vs sunscreen - What is the difference?

There are some big differences between sunblock and sunscreen.
MoleMap Team
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MoleMap Team
November 17, 2023
1 minute

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.

And remember, for personalised skincare guidance and expert recommendations, consult with skin cancer clinics for services like mole check and skin check. Protect your skin today for a healthier tomorrow.

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