Why Sunscreen is Essential (Even During Quarantine)
By: Amanda Hercules
Sunscreen is as important indoors as it is outside. Not convinced? It’s okay; I was there too. I barely wore sunscreen outside and I certainly wasn’t wearing it inside. Since then, I have learned how the sun was affecting my hyperpigmentation and in some cases causing it (more on the sun's scarier, though invisible impacts later!). The funny thing is, I only reached these realizations this time last year when quarantine began.
So, this one goes out to my work-from-home and stay at home friends. Are you wearing sunscreen? Do you own sunscreen? And if so, how often are you reapplying it????
Rays of sunshine sound cute—but here’s the thing…
Your windows may protect you from the loud kids on your block and they may even protect you against most weather forecasts, but what they don’t do is keep you fully safe from the sun. The sun emits three kinds of UV rays: UVA, UVB, UVC. Today we will focus only on UVA and UVB.
UVB rays are our most common rays and honestly some of your favorite If you had to choose. UVB are the rays that are the most surface level. Some people enjoy that, they leave many with this new tan, they have been waiting months for but for others, they are left with sunburns and sensitive skin. They only reach the outer layer of our skin. Windows typically block UVB, so that’s why you aren’t tanning every time you lay out by the window. What we need to worry about is UVA rays; these guys are sneaky.
UVA penetrates a deeper layer of our skin, these are the rays that can cause sun damage, scarring, wrinkles, and in some cases, skin cancer. Most windows do not block UVA rays and a lot of people don’t know that. And since they don't immediately affect the appearance of our skin, we are not privy to their long-term harm. The sun does have its benefits—namely, boosting serotonin, which can then give you more energy and keep you happy and focused—but its harsh side-effects call for smart strategies. So, let's talk protection.
The solution (you guessed it)
Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! [shouts from rooftop] I swear it is actually that easy. No gimmicks, no hidden fees (just a small fee for the sunscreen), no long-term side effects, and if used correctly, protection against the most preventable type of cancer. Seriously though, as tedious as it is to remember sunscreen, it is more worth it than you know. The thing to remember is that prevention is way better than the cure (sorry to get all mom on you). When looking to buy a sunscreen, try to look for a broad-spectrum variety that's at least SPF30 (SPF stands for sun protection factor) but ideally, SPF50. Up until a week ago, I didn’t know what that meant on my sunscreen bottle but it sounded good to me. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against UVB & UVA rays. Not all sunscreens do that.
Run out and buy sunscreen asap if you do not already own one—whether you are spending your days indoors near windows, or outdoors with a mask on. Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a healthy SPF to protect against both UVA & UVB rays. Reapply often! It is not enough to only apply sunscreen once a day. After you eat or drink and if you are sweating all day in the sun, your sunscreen will start to get tired of your (exquisite) face, leaving her vulnerable. It is okay to lay by the window all day! It is equally okay to lay by the pool tanning! Just be smart and protect your skin, okay?
Experiencing hyperpigmentation from not wearing your sunscreen? Click here for your best fading game plan.