As if you haven’t heard enough about the importance of protecting yourself from that big orange ball in the sky, here’s more to ponder regarding UV protection for the skin: In addition to slathering on sunscreen at the pool, park, and other outdoor haunts, it’s also important to wear SPF when your plans call for a day indoors. Consider the following:
Indoor lighting can emit UV rays. Think you’re safe from UV damage in a windowless cubicle? Think again. Exposure to fluorescent lights may increase lifetime UV exposure by 3 percent – enough to be a concern when it comes to skin cancer and aging, and to trigger photosensitive skin conditions such as melasma. Halogen bulbs can have a similar detrimental effect. Incandescent bulbs have little or no UV light emissions, but the biggest winners are LEDs – not only to they emit zero UV light, but they’re the lowest energy users as well.
Windows increase sun exposure. Don’t discount the UV light that penetrates indoor spaces through windows. UVA rays shine right through the glass in most buildings – clear glass allows 75 percent of these aging, skin damaging rays through, while tinted and reflective glass may reduce that to 25 to 50%. While laminated or UV protectant-coated glass does block out 95 to 99% of sunrays, it’s a rare find in commercial or residential buildings. Your best bet is distancing yourself from windows or relying on blinds and curtains as a physical barrier.
Indoor days involve more outdoor time than you think. Let’s say that your “indoor day” includes a 30-minute morning commute in your car, a 5-minute walk to your office door, and a 30-minute drive home in the afternoon. In most cars, the windshield blocks all UVB and 50% of UVA rays. However, untreated side windows in cars offer no protection, and tinted windows offer a variable shield. Suddenly, your “indoor day” isn’t looking very skin safe at all – and this kind of sun exposure can have a huge impact over time.
The takeaway here is a point we emphasize time and again: Broad-spectrum sun protection is critical every single day of the year. Apply a block with SPF of 30 or higher each morning to exposed skin, allowing sunscreen to penetrate facial skin before applying makeup. Wearing sunscreen daily is the single biggest step you can take in slowing down the clock on aging of your skin.
Resources:indoors, skin health, sunscreen