This, however, often goes ignored. Many still struggle to add sunscreen into their skin care routine in general. Some just can’t be convinced that even if it’s cloudy out, or you're not going to the beach or on a hike, you still need sunscreen. So trying to open their eyes to the radical idea that wearing sunscreen indoors is necessary can be quite the challenge. Let’s lay out some of the facts so everyone can understand why sunscreen is crucial, even if you feel safe behind your windows.
Why You Need Sunscreen Indoors
With the international pandemic keeping many inside for long periods of time, sunscreen usage is being neglected even more than usual. According to NPR and Nielsen, in the first two weeks of the pandemic, sunscreen sales dropped about 20%. However, you shouldn't take that sunscreen out of your shopping cart if you want what’s best for your skin.
Even if you are meticulous about lathering on the sunscreen before leaving the house for your weekly grocery shop or daily walk, you could still be at risk within your home’s walls.
It’s a common misconception that sunscreen isn’t needed if you are inside, but oddly enough, that’s not true. While windows block out UVB rays, UVA rays are still able to move through glass. These UVA rays are the UV rays that are linked to the deeper levels of sun damage like altering the DNA in skin cells, breaking down collagen and elastin (which leads to wrinkles and fine lines), and causing skin cancer.
Simply put, even if you’re inside you’re still at risk of harming your skin’s health in the short and long term, unless you happen to be in a windowless room, or have outfitted all your windows with UV-blocking blackout curtains. But once you let the natural light in, it’s time to pull out the tube of sunscreen.
Blue Light’s Effect on Skin
We also should start to take blue light from our phone and tv screens into account. While blue light, also known as High Energy Visible (HEV) light, does not emit UVA or UVB rays, according to some studies like one done by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, blue light can disrupt our circadian rhythms, which not only messes with our sleep cycle, but also our skin’s overnight regenerative process. Over time, this may contribute to premature signs of aging and hyperpigmentation as our skin cannot properly restore itself.
Not all sunscreen will shield your skin from blue light, but one that specifically contains iron oxide will help protect against visible light. Products with antioxidants like vitamin C or E, are also beneficial when it comes to combating blue light. Your morning skincare routine should incorporate a serum or cream packed with antioxidants and a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Sunscreen’s Not a Nuisance
If you’re worried about sunscreen clogging up your pores, making your skin with a greasy or sticky feeling, or leaving a whitecast, don’t fret. Sunscreens have progressed past the oily, thick formulas that leave you feeling sticky and looking ghostly. Mineral sunscreens are especially lightweight and noncomedogenic, so they easily absorb into your skin, and don’t leave any harsh whitecast. So they’ll feel and look natural on your skin and you won’t feel like you’ve made any changes to your routine.
This information may seem strange, because let’s face it, it is, but new research is constantly becoming more common knowledge. Like I mentioned, there are still people who don’t wear sunscreen when it’s cold or cloudy, but studies consistently state it’s a necessity.
So even if you're stuck inside social distancing, try to remember to apply sunscreen daily if you want your skin to be as healthy as possible. It’s just one extra step in your skin care routine, and while the impact may not be immediately noticeable, it’ll make all the difference in the long run.