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Should You Wear Sunscreen Indoors?

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Feb 17, 2021
1 min read

During the hotter months of the year, we’re constantly being reminded to put on sunscreen before going outdoors. Why? To protect our skin, which is the largest organ of our bodies, from harmful UV rays. There are three types of UV rays that our skin needs to be protected from:

  • UVA rays
  • UVB rays
  • UVC rays

Buying a broad spectrum sunscreen can help provide a shield for our skin and prevent sunburn, blisters, and cancer. But, if you’re not spending the majority of your time outdoors, do you really need to wear sunscreen?

The Answers Are in, and It’s a Resounding “Yes”

Yes, medical experts are recommending that you wear sunscreen indoors. Co-Founder of the Harley Street Skin Clinic of London and celebrity columnist, Lesley Reynolds, has this to say:

“It’s a growing myth that when you are indoors, you do not have to use sunscreen. Modern glass windows block UVB but not UVA rays , which can reach further into the skin than UVB rays, which have been the key factor leading to…changes visible in dark spots, wrinkles, and leathery textured skin. UVA rays have the ability to lead to skin cancer.”

Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D., CEO of Detox South Florida, agrees and advises people to apply sunscreen on “places that aren’t protected by [your] clothes” while indoors. This is because UVA rays can penetrate glass and cause “premature [aging] and skin cancer.”

Should you wear sunscreen indoors on cloudy days?

Dr. Tarugu also recommends wearing sunscreen on cloudy days because “up to 80% of the ultraviolet rays…will penetrate the clouds.” So, even while sitting near a window on cloudy days, our skin is vulnerable.

Sunscreen Application Recommendations

Sometimes we’re not sure which sunscreen to use, but both Dr. Tarugu and Reynolds suggest using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. As far as how often to replace, both also recommend every two hours.

If you’re a sun-lover and enjoy soaking up its warmth by the window, just make sure you apply sunscreen first.

Jalesa Campbell avatar

Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.

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