Sun damage can continue to harm the skin indoors
The American Melanoma Foundation states that protection from sun in early childhood can help to combat skin cancer as 80% of lifetime sun damage can be seen in early childhood. A study conducted by Davis K J, Cokkinides VE, Weinstock MA, O’Connell MC et al, GlaxoSmithKline, North Carolina, USA, on sun exposure in American youth concluded that those in the age group of 11-18 consider sun exposure as a norm in the United States and the study also emphasizes on the importance of sun protection behaviours in the youth.
Chronic sun exposure is known to cause fatal diseases such as skin cancer. Many studies have shown the importance of sun protection practices for better skin health. While people think sun damages the skin when they are outdoors, not many of them know that sun damage can continue to harm the skin while they are indoors.
Sun damage cannot be sustained indoors
Philippe Humbert, MD, Department of Dermatology conducted a study on people with the uneven facial damage that was evaluated by dermatologists. Some of the study subjects were working as drivers for while others travelled in cars as a part of their job.
The study subjects spent significant amount of time in the vehicles every day. All the subjects showed a patterned facial damage. As the windshields of the vehicles were laminated, the subjects were exposed to the sun on the side and back windows and which is why all of the study subjects had a similar patterned facial damage.
The Clinical Interventions in Aging published an article that showed a research conducted on eight working women and two men with signs and symptoms for wrinkle and blotchy facial skin on the sides. Interestingly, all the study subjects worked indoors. And all of them were positioned next to the windows that led them to get exposed to sun.
How can sun damage occur indoors?
Sun damage is harmful to the skin health because of the ultraviolet (UV and UVB) radiation. Chronic exposure to UV and UVB rays can result in Melanoma. Though UVB is known to be filtered by glass, UV rays (at least 50%) cannot be blocked by glass. The UV rays have amazing ability to penetrate and can pass through the windows.
- Approximately 75% of UVA can pass through the clear glass.
- Tinted glass can also allow up to 25-50% of the UVA to pass through.
Those who stay indoors or work indoors cannot be fully protected from sun damage if they do not practice sun protection behaviours. In people who work or stay indoors without a sun care routine, ‘asymmetric facial damage’ can be seen.
Signs of sun damage indoors
- UVA rays speed up the skin aging and cause wrinkles
- Along with wrinkles, long hours of indoor sun exposure results in sagging of the skin thereby decreasing the collagen production in the skin. UVA rays can break the collagen and cause the facial skin to sag (under eye, neck and chin).
- One of the most common signs of indoor sun exposure is the asymmetric facial damage, where those exposed to the sun develop signs and symptoms for wrinkle leading to aged and sagging skin on certain parts(exposed to sun)of the face or neck.
- The sun damaged facial skin tends to be dry, flaky and pigmented.
Sun protection behaviours for indoors
- Daily sunscreen routine
The use of sunscreen and sun block lotion are popular in those who work or stay outdoors. Similarly, to protect the skin from sun damage, one can use a quality sunscreen lotion of cream with SPF (sun protection factor) of up to 30. On an extremely hot day one can reapply the sunscreen lotion or cream every 4-6 hours as the humidity and sweat may wash off the prior application.
- Sun protective clothing
One may choose to wear UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) fabric in addition to the sunscreen routine to protect the skin health while indoors or outdoors. Alternatively, they can also opt to wear long sleeves or full-length cloths to cover the body from the sun.
- Sun protection indoors
On a hot day, windows can be covered with blinds and shades to prevent sun exposure while working or staying indoors in home or office. One can also opt to stay away from the windows to minimize the UVA exposure.
- Sun protection in vehicles
In general, laminated windshields block the UVA rays, however; the side/back or rear windows can provide a pathway to the harmful UV radiation. One can either opt for laminating or tinting the windows or limit their exposure to sun by sitting away from the windows. But, even with the change in the seating position, one can get sun exposure and hence, it is mandatory to follow sun protection practices (sunscreens, UPF clothing, hats, etc.) when spending long hours in the vehicles on the road.
Sun damage can occur both indoors and outdoors. While many people are aware of the sun damage and sun protection behaviours outdoors, they need to follow similar precautions and care when working/staying long hours indoors as UVA and UVB rays are known to pass through the windows.