Let's talk about sunscreen
We all know how important sunscreen is when it comes to minimising the risks of sun damage.
In fact, dermatologists and other healthcare experts have long been recommending the daily use of sunscreen since all adults and children above six months can experience skin damage.
Sun damage also tends to accumulate over our lifetimes, even when you don't get sunburnt.
So, you can still develop skin cancer, as well as signs of premature ageing like fine lines, sagging, and leathery textured skin if you don't put on sunscreen before getting exposed to dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays.
But now that you're spending more time than ever holed up at home, you might not feel the need to continue with this sun-protective habit
The thought of reaching for your sunscreen, if you're just going to stay indoors all day, might not even occur because home equals sanctuary and we typically associate sunscreen with going outdoors, i.e. leaving the house.
So this prompts the question: should you still wear sunscreen just because our social lives have been put on pause?
Well, as long as you are exposed to sunlight, in this case, through the windows in your home, it would be wise to continue the use of sunscreen as harmful UV rays can still reach you
The types of harmful UV rays that you should be paying attention to, and probably familiar with are UVA and UVB. While both UVA and UVB contribute to harmful skin cancer and premature wrinkles, the latter damages the outermost layers of your skin and does not filter through standard window glass.
UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and can pass through glass, which means that working at home by a window or spending time in a room with lots of sunlight can increase your chances of developing the dangerous risks associated with sun exposure.
Now, this is where the details of your sunscreen play a significant role since not all sunscreens are created equal
How do you make sure your sunscreen is doing its job of protecting your skin? The ideal sunscreen should protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, so look for ones labelled as 'broad-spectrum' and 'PA+' to 'PA++++', on top of the standard SPF rating.
SPF alone, which stands for Sun Protection Factor, only shields you from UVB and does not protect against UVA — the kind of harmful rays that your windows, unfortunately, do not block out
Therefore, selecting a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF30 is a decent starting point, taking into account that the SPF number also refers to how long it would take for the sun's UV rays to burn your skin.
This means that your skin will typically get 30 minutes before it starts to burn after proper sunscreen application, compared to the amount of time sans sunscreen.
How much sunscreen and how often should you reapply?
Be generous with the amount of sunscreen you use! The recommended minimum amount is about two tablespoons for your entire body, which includes half a teaspoon for your face and neck.
Keep in mind to reapply every two hours — even if you don't step foot out the house — and you're sorted.
When it comes to suncare, a comprehensive game plan that includes sunscreen and protective layers like hats and umbrellas are generally your best defence against harmful rays of the sun
But the importance of sunscreen still stands, and, yes, even while staying home. So, do your skin a favour and keep with your sunscreen routine even when you're indoors. :)
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