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The Truth About Wearing Sunscreen Indoors

So you're WFH and not traveling to work anymore... should you still wear sunscreen?
In this article:

When it comes to skincare while we WFH, chances are, you fall into two categories: 

  • 1. Maybe remember to shower every other Tuesday, or
  • 2. Carry out an elaborate 14-step routine, complete with indoor sunscreen application.

      We won’t ask what group you fall under, but for most of us reading this with yesterday’s coffee stain on our t-shirts, the second group may as well be filled with mythical creatures.

      Now speaking of myths and sunscreen — a long-held belief is that SPF protection is required only for days spent outside. However, groups are emerging with the belief that sunscreen ought to be applied every day, whether spent indoors or out. Who should you camp with? We’ll help you decide, but first, let’s go over some basics:

      What are the benefits of sunscreen?

      If you couldn't think of a single reason to put sunscreen on today, sit back — we've put together 4 benefits of sunscreen that will have you setting reminders to apply SPF come rain, come fifth consecutive day spent indoors:

      1. Sunscreen keeps the complexion even

      One of the few times it's cool to wear multiple colors across the skin is in support of our favorite sporting teams. When that discoloration is courtesy of sun damage however, it can have far-reaching consequences. Take hyperpigmentation ⁠— this occurs when the skin cells produce melanin (the pigment in our skin), as a protective measure against UV rays. As if that isn’t bad enough, when these UV rays hit certain features experiencing inflammation, e.g the acne on the face; they worsen the likelihood of these spots getting even darker.

      By wearing sunscreen, the SPF blocks the UV lights from getting to the skin, preventing the production of melanin in the first place. This also prevents already existing spots from getting darker. Grabbed your sunscreen yet?

      2. Sunscreen protects against sun damage

      On the surface, the sun’s rays might feel great on the skin, but without the right protection, these ultraviolet rays can go deeper within the skin, triggering a variety of disorders like rosacea. By using sunscreen daily, you reduce the penetration of these rays into the skin, protecting it.

      3. Sunscreen helps protect against the visible signs of aging

      Your skin could do with all the protection from the sun’s rays it can get. Overexposure to sunlight can accelerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles across the face, especially exposure to those pesky UVA rays. Do you know these rays not only penetrate the surface of the skin, but go deeper to break down important skin proteins that hold it together? Without these proteins, the skin loses structure and flexibility, causing rapid aging. Yeah, we don’t want that!

      Wearing sunscreen regularly can help hit the brakes on skin aging caused by the sun’s harmful rays.

      4. It can help to reduce the risk of skin cancer

      Skin cancers like melanoma can be life-threatening. The daily use of sunscreen can be of benefit by providing cumulative protection from the UV rays responsible for skin cancers.

      UVA rays have longer wavelengths, which means they are able to penetrate through clouds and windows, and deeper into the skin!

      Got it! But Why do I need to wear sunscreen inside?

      Good question. Now answer this — when is the best time to put sunscreen on:

      • A. When it’s super hot outside
      • B. When it’s pouring rain
      • C. Stuck at home wearing pajamas all day?

      If you picked A, you’d be only partially correct. But if you went with all three, you’d get top marks!

      We already know the damage caused by being exposed to sun rays on a hot day; but how much damage can the sun do on overcast days, or times spent indoors, snacking in bed? It would appear, enough to require sunscreen as a daily part of your skincare routine!

      The sun's UVA and UVB rays are largely responsible for the skin damage that comes from overexposure to sunlight. They are ever-present, meaning even on cool overcast or rainy days, you can be exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. This is because the clouds offer only limited coverage against the sun’s UV rays. However, because of a difference in wavelengths (UVA rays have higher wavelengths), UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and can even pass through windows. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths that prevent them from passing through windows, sparing us the need to worry about them when tucked safely at home.

      While indoors, UVA rays can penetrate windows on sunny, overcast, or rainy days, leaving your skin exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays when you don't wear sunscreen indoors.

      Proper SPF coverage of around 30 or above, is especially important where you tend to work close to windows. SPF 15 or higher is suitable where the work station is away from windows.

      How often should I reapply sunscreen indoors?

      Now that we agree that wearing sunscreen indoors is a must-do when working close to a window, let's decide on just how much your sunscreen that will require.

      Depending on how much activity you engage in, should you spend most days laid back, barely breaking a sweat, one application of sunscreen should do the trick.

      However, because sunscreen melts away with sweat, if you engage in midday workouts, be sure to re-apply your SPF coverage. Likewise, if you take frequent showers, your skin will thank you for reapplying sunscreen.

      If you work next to a window all day long however, you're going to want to re-apply your sunscreen every couple of hours. This is because sunscreen can lose its stability in the sun.

      So there you have it. Sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage, reduce the risk of skin cancer, discoloration, etc. Only, to get its job done, it requires that you wear it every day plus Sunday, at home or away. 

      Article written by guest writer, Elizabeth Plumptre.


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