Quarantining at home during this never-ending pandemic has certainly shifted the way we live and work. From being stuck in our remote offices to helping our kids navigate the world of virtual learning, it’s safe to say that the way we live, work, and learn has changed forever. It’s important to continue to prioritize our health, and maintain the upkeep of our routines like exercise, social time (albeit virtual) and also continue with proper skincare. While we’ve been preoccupied with navigating the many challenges resulting from COVID-19, our skin health can easily become an afterthought.
Contrary to popular opinion, sunscreen is still necessary indoors. Just because we spend more time at home, does not mean we should skip out on applying daily sunscreen with SPF. Sunscreen is the most important tool we have in keeping our skin healthy, but why is there a need to wear it at home you may ask?
Skin, Sunscreen, And Indoor UVA
It is a myth that sunscreen does not need to be worn when we are inside. In fact, harmful UVA rays can damage our skin just as easily when we are at home. This is because regular glass windows protect us from UVB rays, but not UVA. UVB rays consist of shorter wavelengths than UVA but produce more energy. UVA rays on the other hand, are actually more harmful and can seep deeper into the skin, resulting in dark spots and wrinkles. Prolonged exposure to UVA rays can also lead to skin cancer. If you work or study in a room with lots of sunlight, then wearing sunscreen indoors daily is a necessity. A regular SPF of at least 30 or a moisturizer that includes SPF can protect against UVA rays. It is recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 to 6 hours.
Skin, Sunscreen, And Blue Light
Since we live in a highly digital world with laptop screens, there is no disputing the fact that we are bombarded by blue light. Blue light is an electromagnetic energy that travels through waves. Long waves transmit less energy and short waves transmit more energy. It is essentially a color that is only visible to human eyes. Blue light can come from TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Other transmitters of blue light can include the sun, as well as both incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. Too much exposure to blue light and you can experience eyestrain, tiredness, headaches and sleeplessness. The blue light beaming from our devices can alter our skin in a few ways:
- Blue light can boost melanin production, resulting in melasma and age spots
- Blue light can generate free radicals. This leads to a deterioration of collagen and skin elasticity by increasing the aging process
- Blue Light can lead to cell shrinkage and even to death
- Blue Light can negatively affect your sleep-wake cycle, which is responsible for good quality sleep
Mineral Or Physical Sunscreens?
A mineral or physical sunscreen can be very effective at protecting your skin against blue light and harmful UVA rays. This is because these sunscreens contain iron oxide and zinc oxide, which work as a shield. This shield helps to prevent UVA and blue light from touching the skin’s surface.
Due to the steady stream of UVA and UVB light, as well as with the regular incoming stream of blue light, it is important that we wear a moisturizer with SPF or a sunscreen of at least SPF 30. This is needed to protect the skin even while being at home and indoors. It’s also important to re-apply every 2 to 6 hours. Your choice of sunscreen is personal and can vary based on skin type. Cream-based sunscreens are ideal for those with dry skin, whereas gel-based ones are more suited for oily skin types. Our favorite nontoxic sunscreen is by Think.
When applying sunscreen, don’t forget about your neck and hands too. Why apply sunscreen on your hands? Well, almost every activity involves the use of our hands. This makes them vulnerable to sun damage. As a result, our hands can also become wrinkled, aged-looking and sunspot-filled. This is why the need to lather on sunscreen is so important, regardless of if it’s the summer or winter.
Other ways to protect yourself from harmful rays include making sure your eyes stay lubricated through regular eye drop usage. If you tend to spend a lot of time with screens, give yourself a break every thirty minutes or so, by looking out a window, going for a quick walk around your apartment, or engaging in a relaxing activity that does not involve any technology. We would also recommend blue-blocking glasses, but it’s important to find a brand that is reputable. Our recommendation is BluBlox.
Unless your home office is a room without windows, it is strongly advised that you wear sunscreen at home. It is our best defense in protecting our skin from harmful sun rays that damage our skin.