A woman applying sunscreen in her face

Should I wear sunscreen indoors? The Definitive Answer

Should you be wearing sunscreen indoors? Is it really necessary, or is it just another way for the skincare industry to make money? 

Yes, we hear you! You're probably wondering why on Earth you would need to wear sunscreen indoors if there is no sun exposure. Aren't you safe from the sun's rays inside? Won't the windows block them? Well, unfortunately, that's not always the case! 

So, even if you get in the car and then go to work, have a lazy Sunday, watch the best TV shows, or are just a vampire wannabe that never sees the light, applying sunscreen is a must if you want to avoid premature aging and, not to alarm you, skin cancer. 

Don’t believe us yet? Sit down, dust off the sunscreen that was hidden in your tote bag, and let us walk you through all the reasons why you need to wear sunscreen even when you are inside. 

Sunscreen 101: The basics

Before getting our hands into answering the question “Should I wear sunscreen indoors?”, let us talk to you about the oh-so-mighty sunscreen and all this product can shield you from: 

UVA and UVB rays: WTH are they?

Most people are familiar with the term "UV rays," but not everyone knows exactly what they are. Let us put it in a simple way: UV lights are electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and they can be classified as UVA and UVB. 

On one hand, UVA rays are the "aging" rays that cause the skin to wrinkle, lose elasticity, and tan. They penetrate deep into the dermis, causing collagen fibers to break down. 

On the other, UVB light is considered to be the "burning" rays that cause sunburns. They damage the skin's surface, making it as red as a shrimp and sore.

Both types of UV rays can damage the skin and lead to skin cancer!

Can sunscreen protect you from UV rays?

A sunscreen works like a superhero shield by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the sun's light. This helps to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation! 

Most sunscreens have chemicals that absorb both UVA and UVB rays. These chemicals convert light into heat, which is then released from the body. Additionally, they contain ingredients that reflect or scatter sunlight away from the body. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two examples of ingredients that reflect UV light.

Can UV rays penetrate windows?

Do you ever feel like you're being watched, even when you're alone in your house? It could be the UV radiation that is paying you a visit because, yes, they can penetrate glass windows! 

While UVB rays can be blocked by glass, meaning you can’t get burned, UVA rays can! In fact, 75% of those rays can easily go through the windows and cause you to develop aging signs and skin cancer indoors!

And what about blue light?

Now you must be like “Okay, but what if I never expose myself to UV light and spend all my days in a windowless room watching Netflix without ever seeing the sun?”. Well, we have news for you: you still need sunscreen to protect your skin from the blue light emitted by screens! 

Blue light is a type of high-energy visible light that is emitted by electronic screens. And while it isn’t nearly as harmful as UV light, prolonged exposure can still lead to premature skin aging, that’s why you still need to wear SPF indoors!

What is SPF?

No, SPF doesn’t stand for “Super Pretty Face”! 

SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” It’s a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s UV light, which is the main cause of sunburn and premature aging. The higher the SPF, the greater the level of protection. For example, an SPF of 15 will filter out about 93% of the sun’s UVB rays, while an SPF of 30 will filter out about 97%.

Wearing sunscreen indoors: Do’s and Don’ts

Just in case you are still wondering why you should wear sunscreen everyday when you are indoors: because UVA rays can still penetrate window glass, causing damage to the skin cells, age spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and even skin cancer. Plus, even if you are in the dark, blue light can still cause skin damage. 

But what is the best sunscreen for everyday use? Is it really necessary to reapply sunscreen? Let us give you some tips!

How long does sunscreen last on skin?

So, if you slather on sunscreen before heading out for a day of at-home chores, how long does it last? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, most sunscreen products will last for about two hours before they need to be reapplied. However, many factors can affect the reapplication time! For example, if you're sweating, you'll need to reapply more frequently. 

How often apply sunscreen when you are indoors?

If you're like most people, you probably don't apply sunscreen when you're indoors. After all, there's no need to worry about harmful UV light when you're sitting in your living room, right? Wrong! Even though you may not be exposed to direct sunlight when you're indoors, you can still be at risk for sun damage. 

So you should still reapply sunscreen on exposed skin every two hours or when you need it!

What is the best sunscreen for everyday use?

There is a long list of sun protection products: from broad-spectrum sunscreen to chemical, physical, and mineral. But which one is the best to wear indoors depending on your skin types? Let us unwrap their benefits one by one: 

  • Broad-spectrum sunscreen

A broad-spectrum SPF is like a hall pass for your skin: it allows you to enjoy the sun without the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

This is basically the sunscreen the Cullen family would need to enjoy daylight! They’re designed to be used during the day and are made with ingredients that reflect or scatter UVB and UVA rays, protecting you from aging signs, dark spots, and skin cancer. 

This super-powerful guy is often recommended for those who spend extended periods outside, however, they can work wonders for those who stay indoors. 

Best for Normal skin, since it can irritate sensitive skin. 

  • Chemical sunscreens

In short, a chemical sunscreen works by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat, which is then released from the skin. 

They penetrate deeper into the surface and are made of a combination of two different chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which work together to absorb rays. Oxybenzone is particularly good at absorbing UVB rays, while octinoxate does a better job with UVA rays. 

The advantage of chemical sunscreens is that they're usually light and easy to apply. However, some people find that they irritate their skin. 

Best for oily, acne-prone, and combination skin

  • Physical sunscreens

Unlike chemical sunscreens, a physical sunscreen is like a force field for your skin. It works by creating a shield on the skin surface that reflects and scatters the sun’s rays.

They usually contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which creates a physical barrier on the surface of the skin that deflects UV radiation. Because they don't rely on chemicals to do their job, physical sunscreens are often considered to be more gentle on sensitive skin. 

Mineral sunscreen is part of this category! 

Best for sensitive and dry skin, since they are thicker that the other types of sunscreen

Do you need water-resistant sunscreen indoors?

Noup! It is not really necessary. Unless you have an indoor pool! 

Applying a normal sunscreen, whether it is broad-spectrum, chemical, or mineral sunscreen is enough to protect you from UVA light, which is the one that goes through the windows and causes aging and skin cancers. 

Where to find the best sunscreen for everyday use?

Now that you know that applying sunscreen indoors is a ritual you can’t miss and discovering which sunscreen is ideal for your skin type, it is time to do some shopping at Asian Beauty Essentials

If you are looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t feel sticky and doesn’t leave you looking like Casper The Ghost but does its job, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our sunscreen collection and get everything you need to protect your skin.

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