When it comes to sun protection, one of the most common misconceptions is that you don’t need to wear it indoors. Unfortunately, that’s not true — not even a little bit.
The sun is the number one cause of wrinkles, with dozens of studies documenting the impact according to dermatologists. It doesn’t matter what your skin tone or color is, wearing sunscreen year-round will prevent skin damage from UV rays, thus minimizing your risk of skin cancers and premature aging.
That’s because, while glass effectively blocks most ultraviolet (UV) rays, it does not block all of them in equal measure. To better understand this, it’s also important to know the difference between two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB.
UVA rays are generally linked to the aging of skin cells and tend to be the cause of wrinkles, sunspots and other signs of sun damage. UVB rays, on the other hand, are stronger and can directly damage the DNA in skin cells. UVB rays are also the principal cause of sunburns and are linked to most skin cancers.
According to the research, the glass typically used in car, home and office windows is designed to block most UVB rays, but it does not offer protection from all UVA rays. So even if you’re indoors, if you’re close to a window you still run the risk of exposure to UVA rays and possible skin damage.
Sunscreen should be applied every day to exposed skin, and not just if you are going to be in the sun. For days when you are going to be indoors, like in the case of quarantine, apply sunscreen on the areas not covered by clothing, such as the face and hands. Sunscreens can be applied under makeup, or alternatively, there are many cosmetic products available that contain sunscreens for daily use. It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun and minimize your future risk of skin cancer.
Don’t reserve the use of sunscreen only for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun’s rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun’s rays.
The blue light emitted from digital screens — including your computer, phone, tablet and TV — can also affect your skin in two ways:
Blue light can increase the production of melanin or pigmentation in the skin, which could lead to melasma and age spots.
Blue light can also create free radicals, which might cause inflammation and lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastic tissue in the skin.
Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Coat the skin liberally and rub it in thoroughly. Don’t forget that lips get sunburned, too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called water-resistant sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you’ve towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.
The type of sunscreen you choose is a matter of personal choice. Creams are best for individuals with dry skin, but gels are preferable in hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest.
Unless you’re working from home in a windowless room, then most of the medical experts will advise that you wear sunscreen indoors to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays.
With inputs from Manasvini Pant, who is also a beauty creator on Trell.