You’ve probably grown used to the new normal of working from home, social isolation, and minimal time spent in public spaces after months of quarantine. Perhaps you’ve turned your backyard into an adult summer camp, complete with evenings spent drinking wine from your decanter around a fire pit. Your favorite movie is playing on your outdoor projection screen at the same time, with high-quality sound coming from your portable Bluetooth speakers.
Although you are probably aware of the importance of wearing sunscreen outdoors and reapplying it after swimming or working up a sweat.
You’re sitting at home, watching your favorite show, with no plans to leave the house. Is it still necessary to use sunscreen?
You can believe that you don’t need sunscreen if you get out of bed, get in your car, and drive to work, where you sit at your desk all day. Or maybe you’re spending a lazy Sunday binge-watching your favorite show and have no intention of brushing your hair or applying sunscreen.
Is it essential to wear sunscreen inside now that people who work from home spend the majority of their days indoors? And, if you’re working indoors, what’s the right sunscreen for your face?
We consulted medical experts to find out the answers to these and other issues, as well as whether or not you should wear SPF indoors.
Why do you need to use sunscreen indoors?
You should wear sunscreen indoors, according to four of the five dermatologists we spoke with. What is the reason for this?
You’re exposing yourself to potentially skin-damaging light if you’re sitting near windows or in front of a computer screen. There are three key reasons why you should wear SPF indoors, all of which are related to what you’re exposed to:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays
- Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays
- Blue light from smart devices, computers and TVs
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays vs. sunscreen
Ultraviolet radiation, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “A rays will penetrate windows and cloud cover,” causing signs of aging such as loss of elasticity and wrinkles. Unfortunately, not all windows have been treated to block the sun’s harmful rays. Unless you’re in a room with solar window films, then there is no need to apply sunscreen.
UVA light contributes to the development of skin cancers by prematurely ageing the skin by breaking down collagen and elastic tissue. Since it does not induce tanning, you can be unaware of how much UVA you are exposing yourself to.
Sunscreen vs Ultraviolet B rays
Ultraviolet B rays, on the other hand, can damage the skin’s DNA, triggering an inflammatory reaction that results in red sunburns.
When the cells are damaged beyond repair and die, a sunburn peels. Such cells that survive become gradually weakened over time as a result of exposure, leading to skin cancer.
Sunscreen vs blue light
The blue light emitted by digital displays, such as your monitor, phone, tablet, and television, may have two effects on your skin:
- Blue light can cause melasma and age spots by increasing the development of melanin or pigmentation in the skin.
- Blue light can also produce free radicals, which can cause inflammation and cause the skin’s collagen and elastic tissue to break down.
What if you don’t want to put on sunscreen while you’re inside?
If you ask us, the answer to this problem is straightforward: Take a break from the heat. Close the curtains or get out of your chair.
If you insist on sitting in front of a fan, you should probably apply sunscreen. However, it isn’t the only solution to the problem.
When you can’t stop the heat, such as when you’re at the beach or out running, the possibility of skin cancer greatly outweighs any theoretical concern about chemical sunscreen exposure.
But what about when you’re at home? Simply close the curtains or leave the room. No additional indoor precautions are needed if you simply avoid sunlight entering your windows. Unless you work from home in a windowless space, most medical experts we spoke with recommend wearing sunscreen indoors to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Apply sunscreen every day, whether you plan to be outside or not, to be on the safe side. It will save your skin in the long run.