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Serious Question – Should You Wear Sunscreen Indoors?

Published : July 2, 2021 7 mins read Updated On : Jun 27, 2024

Whether sunscreen should be worn indoors has come up for discussion as people become more aware of how important sun protection is. Sunscreens or sunblocks have typically been connected to outdoor pursuits like going to the beach or playing sports. However, the need for indoor sun protection has drawn more attention as people spend more time indoors, particularly with the advent of remote work and spending more time at home due to lifestyle changes. This blog post will explore this important topic and examine why using sunscreen inside might be helpful and the benefits of using sunscreen indoors.

What Happens When You Apply Sunscreen Indoors?

Sunscreen functions as a barrier on your skin to block or reflect ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun when applied indoors. Because less UV light reaches your skin indoors than outside, sunscreen's effectiveness may be lessened. However, because windows and walls shield most UVB (shortwave) and some UVA (longwave) rays, indoor UV radiation exposure is substantially less intense than outdoor UV radiation exposure (1).

Since most sunscreens are designed mainly for outdoor use, using them indoors may be optional or effective. Nonetheless, wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from potential UV exposure may be advantageous if you spend extended periods close to windows with direct sunlight or use artificial sources of UV radiation indoors, such as tanning beds. Also, specific contemporary windows are made to let a certain amount of UV radiation through, so it's still feasible to get some UV exposure indoors.

Not all sunscreens are created equally, and their efficacy might change based on things like the SPF (sun protection factor) rating, the kind of UV radiation being blocked (UVA or UVB), and the sunscreen's formulation. Hence, whether you're inside or outside, it's essential to pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it as instructed by the manufacturer for the best protection. The use of protective clothes, searching out shade, and limiting screen time are other ways to reduce indoor UV exposure and safeguard your skin from potential harm.

Do You Need a Full Spectrum Sunscreen Indoors?

A full-spectrum sunscreen, commonly called a broad-spectrum sunscreen, offers protection against UVA and UVB rays. In contrast to UVB radiation, which predominantly affects the skin's outer layer and is linked to sunburns, UVA radiation has a longer wavelength and can penetrate deeper into the skin. UVA radiation also causes the skin to age. UVA and UVB radiation can harm the skin and raise the risk of skin cancer.

While UV exposure from the sun indoors is often less potent than outside UV radiation, skin damage can develop over time. For instance, continuous exposure to artificial light sources like computer screens, LED lights, and fluorescent lights can cause fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation changes in the skin. Also, although the risk is typically lower compared to outdoor UV exposure, certain studies have revealed that indoor UV radiation may also contribute to developing skin cancer (2).

Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen indoors can lessen the risk of skin damage by shielding your skin from UVA and UVB radiation. Suppose you spend much time indoors or are exposed to strong artificial light sources. In that case, applying sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin regions is crucial and reapply it as the manufacturer instructs. Your skin's defence against indoor UV radiation can also be improved by combining sunscreen with other sun safety practices, including seeking shade, using protective clothing, and minimising screen time.

Do You Need to Reapply Sunscreen Every Couple of Hours?

Well, it's usually advised to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if you're outside and in the sun. This is because elements including sweat, water, friction from clothing or a towel, and sun exposure can cause sunscreen to wear off or lose its effectiveness over time. Reapplying sunscreen ensures sustained protection against damaging UV radiation while preserving its efficacy (3).

Many elements, including the sunscreen's SPF (sun protection factor), the quantity of sunlight exposure, the amount of physical activity or sweat, and whether you have wiped or touched your skin, might affect how often you should reapply sunscreen. Reapplying sunscreen usually is advised every two hours, as well as away after swimming or sweating profusely and right after towel drying.

For optimum use, it's crucial to adhere to the manufacturer's directions since certain sunscreens may have varying suggestions for reapplication. Although some sunscreens may make claims of being "water-resistant", "acne-prone skin sunscreen", or "sweat-resistant," meaning they might offer more prolonged protection, it's still crucial to reapply sunscreen frequently for the most excellent benefits.

Remember that sunscreen should be one step in your total sun protection routine. To further shield your skin from damaging UV rays, it's also vital to seek out shade, wear protective gear like hats and sunglasses, and limit your time in the sun during peak hours. Now the question arises what type of sunscreen to use, chemical or mineral?

Chemical Sunscreen Vs Mineral Sunscreen

Chemical and mineral sunscreens are two distinct forms of sunscreens that shield the skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation in different ways.

Chemical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens are composed of organic (carbon-based) substances that absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation and transform it into heat expelled from the skin. Avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and other organic chemicals, which absorb UVA or UVB radiation or both, are frequently found in chemical sunscreens. When applied to the skin, chemical sunscreens typically seem straightforward and are simpler to disseminate.

Mineral sunscreens: Often referred to as physical sunscreens or inorganic sunscreens, mineral sunscreens contain mineral components like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide that act as a physical barrier on top of the skin to reflect and scatter UV rays away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens offer broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Due to the mineral particles, they often have a thicker texture and may leave a white cast on the skin.

Both chemical and mineral sunscreens are permitted for use in the sun and can successfully lower the risk of sunburn, ageing skin, and skin cancer. Which sunscreen is "better" depends on the needs, skin type, and individual preferences. It's important to consider the following:

Chemical sunscreens are typically simpler to apply and might be more appropriate for daily usage on broader areas of the skin, including the body. They frequently have a lighter texture, making them preferable for everyday use when concealer or other skin care products are worn.

Niacinamide sunscreens that have become increasingly popular recently come under mineral sunscreens. On the other hand, those with sensitive skin or a history of skin allergies might prefer mineral sunscreens because they are less likely to irritate their skin. Also, because they function by sitting on top of the skin, they offer protection right once, in contrast to chemical sunscreens, which may take some time to operate because the skin needs to absorb them first.

Mineral sunscreens like a niacinamide sunscreen may also be recommended for application on more delicate body parts like the face and neck since they can act as a physical barrier to block UV rays and are less prone to irritating the eyes.

It's also important to remember that certain chemical sunscreens, particularly those that contain oxybenzone, have sparked environmental worries due to their potential effects on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. In contrast, mineral sunscreens are typically considered more environmentally benign since they don't include these potentially dangerous ingredients.

The sunscreen that you feel comfortable using consistently is the one that best suits your needs and preferences. The best sunscreen for indoors should provide broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, have an appropriate SPF (sun protection factor) rating for your skin type and activity level, and be applied according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Conclusion

The idea of using sunscreen indoors for the face might sound strange but blue light and UV deterioration build up over time. This implies that the more exposure you have to it whether through extended outdoor trips or prolonged inside streaming sessions the more at risk your skin is. Due to this, there is no argument about wearing sunscreen indoors. That is necessary.

FAQs

1. Is it necessary to wear sunscreen at home?

Yes, it is necessary to wear sunscreen at home. It protects you from UV rays from windows and blue light from screens, preventing skin damage and premature ageing.

2. Is SPF 50 too much for the face?

No, SPF 50 is suitable for the face.

3. How long does SPF 50 last on face indoors?

SPF 50 typically lasts for about 8 hours on the face indoors.  

author
Rochelle Rocque
Wellness, Beauty and Seasonal

Rochelle is a person who loves to learn and read new things. Writing is her way of communicating to the world, she writes what she feels. According to her writing is the best way to speak her mind.... Read More

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