Why You Need to Wear Sunscreen Indoors — Even If You’re Not Near a Window
Photodamage is no joke, and apparently it can find you even in self-isolation.
Now that we are all quarantined in our home, binge watching Love is Blind or Tiger King, baking sourdough, or playing Stardew Valley while listening to audio books (highly recommend this method of coping with isolation), we may or may not be skipping some skincare steps. Me, personally? My routine is down to three or four steps. I just can’t be bothered to do much more than that, seeing as no other human has seen my face in 14 days except for my boyfriend.
But even though I’ve pared back my skincare routine to the bare essentials, there is one step that I still definitely do not skip: sunscreen. You might think it’s counterintuitive. I mean, you’re not going outside, who cares? Sun? I don’t even know her. Yet the sun’s pesky rays can still damage your skin, even while you’re working on the couch. Yes, it’s me, Sheryll, telling you yet again, that you should wear sunscreen indoors, outdoors, and at all times, even during this period of stay-at-home self-isolation.
UVA rays penetrate windows
So, we know that there are different kinds of harmful rays that the sun emits. Let’s break them down.
UVB Rays: B = Burning
These are the rays that give you painful sunburns, tan your skin, and cause melanoma (aka skin cancer).
UVA Rays: A = Aging
These are the rays that cause cellular damage and you literally can’t escape them. These rays are still able to damage your skin through clouds, windows, rainy days, snowy days, and everything in between.
So, you see that even though you’re inside and not really receiving tons of UVB rays (according to Chicago esthetician Ashley White, most windows filter out these harmful rays), you’re still susceptible to damaging UVA rays. UVA rays cause a myriad of problems: They decrease collagen production (bye bye bouncy, plump skin), they cause fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and that signature leathery skin look. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays and cause an incredible amount of photodamage to the skin. In other words, UVA rays are no joke.
My work desk is right next to a window. The right side of my face is constantly in the sun. My couch is also right next to a window where the left side of my face is exposed to the sun. I’m getting sun at all times, which is nice, but I’m trying to look a youthful 30 for the next 20 years, okay!
But Sheryll, I’m not near a window
So, what if you have your windows closed? What if you literally get no sunlight at all? Not so fast! All of those Zoom meetings (and Zoom happy hours with friends) are also taking a toll on your skin. Our computers, iPads, and cell phones emit HEVL, or high energy visible light, aka blue light. These rays also penetrate the skin and cause photodamage, resulting in melasma and hyperpigmentation. Who knew?!
And also, if you do happen to take a nice walk outdoors (which I highly recommend that you do, at least once a day for your mental health, as long as it’s safe), you’re going to need sunscreen. Don’t get caught slippin’!
So, any way you slice and dice it, wearing sunscreen indoors is imperative if you don’t want to get sun damage. I recommend using an SPF of 30 or more with broad spectrum protection. Broad spectrum protection means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. My current favorite sunscreens? Black Girl Sunscreen, which has 30 SPF and zero white cast. It feels just like a moisturizer and is perfect for a day spent indoors. I also like the Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel, which is perfect for people with oily, acne prone, or combination skin.
Do you wear sunscreen indoors? If not, are you going to start? Let me know where you stand!