Should you wear sunscreen staying indoors?

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Your ultimate guide about sunscreen to keep your skin protected all the time. According to Dermatologists

Should we wear sunscreen indoors? The answer is yes, according to dermatologists. Are you aware that UV rays can penetrate glass and cause wrinkling and other skin diseases? UV exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer as well as premature aging. According to WHO, experts believe that four out of five cases of skin cancer could be prevented, as UV damage is mostly avoidable.

The surge in the number of skin cancers over the past decades is heavily linked to popular outdoor activities and exposure to the sun. However, it is equally important to wear sunscreen indoors.

We spoke to two dermatologists about the importance of wearing sunscreen for adults and kids. Here’s our conversation with Dr Eman Kotb, Specialist Dermatologist from Medcare Medical Centre, Sharjah.

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• Do we need to wear sunscreen indoors? Can sunlight damage our skin when we are sitting in the comfort of an air-conditioned and shaded room?

It is important to apply sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection when you are indoors. Most windows protect you from UVB rays. Hence, you won’t get sunburn. But UVA rays can penetrate through windows. UVA rays cause more concern, because they degrade collagen. They also put you at risk for skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.

• Is there a right age when one must start wearing sunscreen?

There is no evidence that sunscreen harms babies. But it’s best to protect your baby or toddler from UV radiation with hats and clothing and keep them in the shade. The American Academy of Pediatrics, says it’s okay to put a little sunscreen on your infant if you have to. You can apply sunscreen to small exposed areas of the baby’s skin that can’t be covered with clothing. If your baby reacts to sunscreen, try another product or talk to your doctor.

• In case if I forget to apply SPF when I am going out, what can I do to help reverse the damage done to the skin?

If you get a sunburn, you should follow the following:

  • Apply cold compresses to your skin or take a cool bath to soothe the burn.
  • Apply a moisturizer, lotion, or gel.
  • Refrigerating the cream first will make it feel even better on your sunburned skin.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve sunburn swelling and pain all over your body.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and other fluids so that you don’t become dehydrated.
  • Protect your sunburn from further sun exposure. Stay out of the sun, or protect yourself from sunlight when you go outside.

• Does sunscreen decrease the chances of skin cancer?

Application of sunscreen to the skin is widely used as an adjunct strategy. Along with wearing protective clothing and seeking shade, to protect against skin cancer and photo-aging that result from excessive sun exposure

• Is it true that those who live in cold countries with limited sunshine need to apply sunscreen as well?

The freezing temperatures and vicious winds that leave your skin dry and agitated allow for UV rays to leave more damage at your skin. Snow can reflect almost 90% of UV radiation. Hence UV rays are much more likely to burn and it can also cause long term damage such as wrinkling, premature aging, and skin cancer.

The risk of sunburn is much greater in mountainous regions than at sea level. Because the atmosphere is thinner and less pollution is present to filter out ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It is important to wear sunscreen on exposed skin, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m to protect your skin.


We also spoke to Dr.Manal Abdelghany, Specialist Dermatologist, Emirates Hospital, Jumeirah about the importance of wearing sunscreen indoors. This is what she has to say:

There’s a common misconception that you don’t need to apply sunscreens when you’re indoors. The standard glass windows block UVB but not the UVA rays. UVA can penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays. They are the main factors causing photo-aging which the development of dark spots, wrinkles and leathery texture skin.

The routine use of sunscreens may reduce the risk of skin cancer such as squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma. However, many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, yet protection from UVA is important for the prevention of skin cancer. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA, UVB) sunscreens is suggested to protect against skin cancer and other diseases.

Some ingredients of sunscreens can cause skin sensitivity, leading to redness and skin irritation. In such cases, it is recommended to wash off the product from the face right away.

Depending on the mode of action, sunscreens are typically classified into physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They stay on the surface of the skin and mainly deflect the UV light. The other type is the chemical sunscreen comprising UV organic filters, which absorb the UV light).

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