You smear it all over for bright, sunny days. And you even make sure you’re protected if the skies are overcast. But did you know that just because you’re inside all day doesn’t mean you can skip the SPF?
According to Dr. Hadley King, dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, sitting by a sunny window, while good for our mental health, is doing our skin no favors. Though most windows probably block UVB rays (which cause sunburns), UVA rays do penetrate through glass. These guys are the ones linked to deep wrinkles, sunspots and cancer.
What does this mean then? Are you going to burn sitting in the bay window? Probably not. But you will be doing long-term damage to your skin. So wear an SPF of 30 or higher on any part of your skin that’s exposed while sitting near any sunlit window. (Sadly, no, your SPF 5 bronzer will not suffice.)
It also wouldn’t hurt to look into investing in a sunscreen that additionally protects against blue light, which is emitted by tech like your laptop, phone and TV. There isn’t much research as to how much blue light exposure damages your skin, but, just like UVA rays, we do know that blue light breaks down collagen and ages your skin.
So, what should we be looking for in a sunscreen? As always, broad-spectrum protection is best, as is anything at or over SPF 30. We should also be sure to check the label to see how often to reapply (which will also depend on how much time you’re spending sitting at that window and whether or not you’re directly hit by the sun). Either way, it’s never a bad idea to slather on some skin protection, even if you have zero plans to apply a brow pencil ever again.
Here are some of our favorite broad-spectrum SPFs.