You may think that if you spend your day at your desk at the office or home, that you don’t need sunscreen or sun protection. Or, may you’re having a self-care day, and have no intention of brushing your hair, let along put sunscreen on.
Is it really the case that you don’t need sunscreen while you are inside?
Why you always need to wear sunscreen
It is a common misconception that you don’t need to wear sunscreen when you’re indoors, and it all has to do with the glass used in our windows.
Standard glass windows don’t block all ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. UV radiation is made up of two types of UV rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. The glass windows fitted in our houses, offices, and vehicles block UVB rays, but at least 50% of UVA rays can pass through.
UVA rays penetrate deep into our skin tissue and are proven to be the cause behind reddening skin, sunburn, photoaging and, more dangerously, skin cancer. The risk of getting skin damage related to UVA rays is especially high for those who sit near a window, or in a room with lots of sunlight.
How to protect your skin indoors
There are a couple of things that you can do to protect yourself from sun exposure while you are inside.
The same rules apply when you sit near a window as to when you are outside: regularly apply and reapply sunscreen. If you are not sure when to apply sunscreen or don’t know what factor to use when you are inside or outside, talk to your healthcare provider or dermatologist about our Sun4Health app, which is designed to take the guesswork out of your sun protection.
Install special window films
You can now buy special window films for your home and your car that can block up to 99.9% of UVA radiation, helping to protect your skin (and furniture!) from sun damage. These products can also contribute to energy efficiency: they reduce heat within the home in hot weather and during the winter reflect interior heat back inside. Additionally, some manufacturers offer a special type of ‘safety’ films that can hold window glasses in place when shattered reducing property damage and personal injury in case of an accident.
Sun protection behind glasses is essential in your car too. In most vehicles, only the laminated windshield comes with both UVB and UVA protection. The side and back windows allow in more than 60% of UVA rays. Research has shown that UV damage is more extensive on the side of the body closer to the window; i.e. in continental Europe drivers have more skin cancers on the left side of their faces and drivers in UK or Australia have more skin cancers on the right.
There is a third option.
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