Ask Nia: If I'm Home All Day, Do I Need to Wear Sunscreen?

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

We want to answer your most pressing beauty questions, nothing is off limits. Please email them to: Below, a question for our resident esthetician, Nia El-Amin.

Dear Nia, I work from home and usually indoors during daylight hours. Do I really need to wear sunscreen? - Jasmine H.

If you’re inside all day and your skin is "never exposed" to the sun, do you really need sunscreen? Yes, you do. I’ll explain why below.

Between sunrise and sunset, the sun gives off daylight. Rain, sleet or snow, daylight is present. If you’re indoors all day and can see through any of your windows to the outside, daylight is coming through. Damaging rays can penetrate through windows and damage the skin.

The two types of UV rays we’re most concerned about are UVA and UVB. UVA rays (aging rays) are responsible for premature aging and skin cancer. They’re always around wherever daylight is present and can penetrate through window glass. That means your home, office and car. These are the rays that we use sunscreen indoors for. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, they do contribute to hyperpigmentation.

UVB rays (burning rays) are responsible for giving the skin a suntan or sunburn. They don’t penetrate through glass; they’re the rays that cause damage to the skin when outdoors.

While you shouldn’t fear the sun, its important to be informed. Some skins (like those affected by autoimmune diseases) are especially photosensitive and should always wear sunscreen and practice safe sun exposure. The safest way to ensure skin is protected from both UVA and UVB exposure is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that uses both physical and chemical protectants. Check out a few of my favorite ash-free sunscreens. Throughout the day sunscreen will degrade so it’s important to reapply every couple of hours.

Bottom line, you should be wearing sunscreen everyday whether the entire day is spent indoors or not. It’s an easy habit to keep up and doing so will greatly contribute to your overall skinhealth.