If sunscreen isn’t part of your daily skincare routine yet, you need to get on it ASAP. You might be thinking, “Why do I need to do that when I spend most of my days indoors?” Unless you live in a basement or a windowless apartment, you still get exposed to UV rays and put your skin at risk of getting sun damage.
The Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays
Long-ray UVA may not cause sunburn, but it’s still damaging to the skin. These light rays can pass through windows and cloud cover so don’t think you’re safe from the UVA’s effects indoors. Because they penetrate deeper into the skin, it breaks down collagen and elastic tissue and causes your skin to age faster. Apart from wrinkles and dark spots, they can also contribute to skin cancer.
UVB rays on the other hand are short rays that can damage the skin’s DNA. This happens when the skin has an inflammatory response to the harsh rays. Doctor Orit Markowitz, who specializes in Pigmented Lesions and Skin Cancer, further explains, “A sunburn peels when the cells are beyond repair and die off. Those cells that remain increasingly get damaged over time through exposure, resulting in skin cancer.”
What’s the Right Amount of Sunscreen to Apply?
Dr. Erin Santos, more commonly known as The Nerdy Derma online, constantly reminds her social media followers to apply sunscreen. And one of the frequently asked questions the board-certified Dermatologist and Derma pathologist gets is the right amount of sunscreen to apply.
TND recommends using products with at least SPF 30, but the higher the number, the better. When heading out, use about one index’s worth of sunscreen. For minimal sun exposure, an inch (approximately the tip of your finger to the first line) should suffice.
Don’t skip applying sunscreen even when you’re just at home. And if you usually work in front of a window, draw the curtains in or move to a less glaring location. That doesn’t mean you should completely stay out of the sun, though. A little bit of sunshine is still beneficial as it provides Vitamin D.