a woman on her phone while looking out the window

In case you didn’t know—just because you're behind closed doors doesn't mean you can't experience damage from UV rays. Beauty gurus, enthusiasts, and junkies all over the world have said this time and time again: never forget your sunscreen. Yes, that means even while you're at home! Products with SPF are a must, not only for health reasons such as protecting your skin against skin cancer, but also for preventing fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots from developing prematurely. But how much do we actually know about sunscreen?

What Does SPF Mean?

We see it all the time, but do we know what it stands for? According to the Australian Academy of Science, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, an indicator of how well the sunscreen protects skin against sunburns. The numbers beside it tell us how long it would take until our skin becomes red, so reapplying throughout the day is key!

To fully understand the meaning of SPF, let’s take a bottle of sunscreen with an SPF value of 30 as an example. If you take around 10 minutes to start getting red under the sun without sunscreen, then you can know how long your SPF will protect you simply by multiplying how long it takes your skin to burn without sunscreen (for this example, 10 minutes) with the SPF value. This gives you 300 minutes of protection under the sun–that’s a good 5 hours!  

However, that also depends on how you apply your sunscreen. If applied too lightly, you may not get the same level and duration of protection as you would if applied with the recommended amount. Always check your products to see how much you need and reapply accordingly. To be on the safe side, it’s recommended to reapply every 2 hours for optimal protection.

Why Do You Need It Indoors?

Read below to know more about why you need to wear SPF even while indoors.

Protection against UV rays

If you're out often, sunscreen will keep your skin protected from the sun's UV rays.

First off, you’ll need to know the two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. A simple way of distinguishing the two is this: UVA for Aging, and UVB for Burning.

As UVA rays have longer wavelengths, these penetrate deeper into the skin, speeding up the aging process by damaging the skin cells from within. UVB rays, on the other hand, have short wavelengths. This means that they damage the skin’s surface, leading to burns and blistering. However, unlike UVA rays, UVB rays can be filtered out and do not penetrate glass.

This is why sunscreen is important indoors: for sneaky UVA rays! They can seep through glass and windows whether you’re at home or in the car, making you more prone to burns, skin diseases, and premature aging.

Protection against blue light

Blue light from our electronic devices may cause our skin to break down faster.

Aside from UVA rays coming in through our windows, we are also constantly exposed to blue light from our electronic devices. While scrolling on Instagram throughout the day, our cellular devices and computers emit blue light that may cause our skin to produce more free radicals, causing a chain reaction in our skin cells. Simply put, once one free-radical starts destabilizing another skin cell, it turns that cell into a free radical itself—eventually disrupting the whole cellular structure in the process!

This is how oxidative stress occurs: when too many free radicals are created and cause cellular damage. This stress on our skin barrier damages essential lipids and proteins that our skin needs to remain elastic, plump, and healthy. Too much of this stress causes our skin to break down faster, depleting our collagen and elastin production–two very important nutrients that our skin needs to stay young and radiant!

Aside from taking breaks from your electronics once in a while, applying a sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF or a tinted moisturizer with SPF throughout the day will help keep your skin stress-free, minimally damaged, and looking youthful in the long run.

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose product that can protect your skin while providing coverage, try the POND'S Flawless Radiance Derma+ BB Cream with SPF 30!