I used to only wear sunscreen to the beach, thinking that I'd only need it when I was overloading on my activities in the sun. But let's face it, we live on an island where the seasons are quite blurred and the sun is a major part of our everyday lives. It is recommended that people who live in a seasonal environment wear sunscreen no matter what. So I think the same thing applies to Jamaicans, especially since it almost always looks like summer here.
You may be thinking, "hey, sunblock, sunscreen, same thing right?" Well no, they do both protect you from sun burn and harmful long term effects such as wrinkling and skin cancer. But, they are two different products working in two different ways. Sunblock does just that. It blocks the sun's rays from getting to your skin by mirroring them. In other words the sun's rays are bouncing right off. Sunscreen on the other hand, absorbs the harmful rays before they can get to the surface of your skin. It is way more intricate than that but that's the simplest way to put it.
Whether you're a sunscreen or a sunblock fan you must choose what works best for you. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is also an important part of choosing the right product that works best with your skin. Most of these things are made easy to figure out from just reading what's on the bottle. But if you aren't sure and you have a dermatologist then ask them what's best. It is also important to invest in lip balms and even make-up that provide protection from the sun.
I doubt, however, that sunblock/sunscreen protects you from getting tan but it does protect your skin from burning and eventually stripping. If you do want to get a darker skin tone without spending hours at the beach, a safe way for you to do this is to purchase a self tanner that also has SPF. This means that you can multi-task. You will get the skin tone you wish for along with coverage from the sun's damaging rays. And, while you think it over, take a listen to Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen).
Peace, Love & Blaze,