Choose the Right Sun Lotion

Know the difference between sunscreen and sunblock, and how SPF works.

With the jargons and nuances surrounding sun lotion, the journey to find suitable sun protection can be often confusing and complex. That’s why we are going to breaking it down one-by-one. We hope that by the end of this article, you’ll be able to differentiate and select the right sun lotion for yourselves.


Sunscreen VS Sunblock


Generally, there are two different types of sun lotions -- sunscreen and sunblock. They work differently. Sunscreens provide sun protection through chemical defence against the sun. It is commonly made from ingredients, such as octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate and octocrylene, which penetrate the skin and absorb UV rays. Meanwhile, sunblock provides sun protection through physical defence. It does not go into the skin but sits at the top of the skin to reflect or scatter UV rays. The common ingredients are zinc oxide, ecamsule and titanium dioxide.



Due to the difference in ingredients and their properties, sunblocks are usually opaque. They leave behind a white cast that doesn’t look good but it does stay on top of the skin for longer periods of time. On the other hand, white cast is not a problem for sunscreen. Sunscreens are absorbed into your skin to give you a more natural look. Because of this, you’ll need to wait 30 minutes after each application for the sunscreen to be fully absorbed into the skin. This rule applies to each reapplication which is needed every 2-3 hours.


Now that you understand the clear distinctions, it should be easier to choose between sunscreen and sunblock. All you have to do is to map it back to your lifestyle, personal needs, habits and activity level. Generally, if you sweat less, moves more or don’t have time for reapplication, sunblock would work better for you. If you wear makeup and is usually desk-bound, sunscreen is likely a better choice. Another factor to consider is how sensitive your skin is to the specific ingredients. Generally, sunblocks work better for sensitive skin as its ingredients are less irritating for the skin.


How Does SPF Work?


Ah... SPF. What does this even mean? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The misconception about SPF is that the higher it is, the better the protection. It doesn’t work that way. SPF tells you how long the sun’s UV ray would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed. Let’s say the sun lotion has an SPF of 30. This means when you use the sun lotion, it takes 30 times longer for your skin to redden as compared to when it’s unprotected. However, this is all in theory.



Firstly, sun lotions will wear off during the day. For sunscreens, you’ll have to reapply after every 2-3 hours. For sunblock, reapplication is less frequent. However, if you are constantly on the move, you may rub off some of your sunblock while you are on the go. Hence, as a rule of thumb, it’s good to apply after 3 hours or so.


Secondly, some of us tend to skim on our sunscreens. Naturally, we won’t be able to achieve the SPF indicated on the product. To avoid doing so, you will need to apply 2mg/ cm – this is almost equivalent to 1⁄4 teaspoon for the face.


So which SPF should you pick? Generally, dermatologist recommends choosing SPF 30 or

higher in order to block out 97 per cent of UVB ray (unfortunately, we can’t completely block them out). It is also important to choose broad-spectrum sun lotion so that you have both UVA and UVB protection. UVA being the protection that your skin needs from ageing, while UVB protects you from burning.


Sample Store Recommendation


If you are still conflicted on which sun lotion to get, let us recommend you Heliocare Advanced XF Gel SPF 50.



This sun lotion is a combination between sunblock and sunscreen -- it provides both physical and chemical protection! With an SPF of 50 and broad spectrum coverage, it provides the basic coverage recommended by dermatologists. More importantly, its light texture melts perfectly on the skin, leaving no white residue (no geisha-look!) and hence great for indoor and outdoor use!


Heliocare Advanced XF Gel SPF 50 is also formulated with Fernblock that provides potent antioxidant, on top of its sun protection abilities. It is further enriched with potent vitamin E, green tea extract and photo-protective technologies for more efficient UV protection. With all these ingredients, you can be sure that you are given the maximum protection against the sun and its harmful effects on the skin.


The best part about Heliocare Advanced XF Gel SPF 50 is that it’s suitable for all skin types. There are no harmful chemicals for sensitive skins and it’s fortified with phytosphingosine – an anti-microbial agent – that helps with acne and, hence, suitable for acne-prone skin.


The best way to test if Heliocare Advanced XF Gel SPF 50 would work for you is to try it yourself. At Sample Store, we offer a mini tube of 5ml for you to have a go. Click here to redeem the sample.


We hope this article clarifies on the jargon and nuances surrounding sun lotions. May you choose better sun lotion for your skin and better protect your skin with this knowledge.


If you are keen to find out more about Heliocare products click here.


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