Sunscreen indoors: what do you need to know?

In hot seasons, either on the beach or on the outdoor promenade, sunscreen is often remembered. In general, everyone has heard about the importance of applying the product before exposing yourself to the sun – which prevents damage to the health of the dermis.

In winter, the habit of protecting the skin is usually less, as the cloudy sky gives the false feeling that there is no UV radiation. These rays are not visible to human eyes, but for the skin, they can have quite damaging effects.

Therefore, it is necessary to continue investing in sunscreen – even in winter!

In relation to the sun, many people are already aware about skin health care. But what about indoors, under artificial light, is it also necessary to apply the protector?

Understand the care of lamps and screens:

Artificial light vs. sunlight

The light can come from natural sources, such as the sun, and from artificial sources, such as lamps – although both illuminate, each one has very unique characteristics.

As dermatologist Dr. Flávio Luz points out, it is important to remember that the sun is not an enemy – in fact, moderate sun exposure is important for the synthesis of vitamin D. Although it can occur through food, it is through exposure to the sun that most of the synthesis takes place.

The great villain, then, is excess .

“The adequate amount of exposure that each person can safely have depends on several aspects, such as individual susceptibility, skin color, individual or family history, presence of sun-induced diseases (lupus erythematosus or photodermatitis) time of year, time of day , altitude and latitude. ”

Thus, it is worth mentioning that in order to correctly assess these aspects, a dermatological consultation is always essential.

But, in general, inadequate (ie, exaggerated) exposure to the sun can have some effects, such as:

  • Burns (redness, skin burning);
  • Skin changes related to aging;
  • Development of pre-malignant or malignant changes.

Therefore, it is important to use sunscreen to reduce the incidence of UVA and UVB rays, which are waves of radiation with different length ranges.

UVA rays have a greater ability to penetrate the skin. The incidence is constant throughout the day, being related to skin aging when in excess.

UVB rays, on the other hand, are those with the lowest ability to penetrate the skin, but it is the range of radiation responsible for redness and burning in the skin when excessive exposure occurs.

Although artificial light bulbs (such as those used in homes and offices) emit a small amount of UV rays, it is not enough to cause damage to the health of the dermis .

In fact, the sun is still the most powerful light source. However, some aspects interfere with the effects of natural and artificial light, because “as the solar radiation reaches the face of the Earth very filtered (due to the ozone layer), it ends up having less harmful effect than artificial sources of ultraviolet”, points out the dermatologist Flávio Luz.

It is also worth noting that artificial sources of ultraviolet differ from sources of visible light (such as the one present in house lamps). Some examples of ultraviolet sources are:

  • High pressure Hg vapor lamps (germicides);
  • Tanning beds;
  • Phototherapy lamps;
  • Black light lamps (UVA);
  • Photocopiers.

That is, the light from the cell phone or the lamp is not proven to cause damage to the health or appearance of the skin.

Is the light in the office or home bad for the health of the skin?

There is no scientific evidence to indicate that exposure to artificial light, of those present in homes or offices, causes damage to the health of the skin, according to dermatologist Dr. Flávio Luz.

There are several studies interested in the effects that lamps can have on the dermis, and this is not today. In the 1990s, the first scientific researches were carried out on ultraviolet radiation and the possibility of cancer and photoaging.

Although it is known that exposure to ultraviolet radiation is harmful to the health of the dermis, the lamps (whether they are white, yellow or even LED screens, such as TV and cell phone) do not emit significant levels of ultraviolet radiation.

However, there are situations in which ultraviolet emitters can be harmful, which are the tanning chambers, medical and dental phototherapy and industrial photoprocesses, for example.

Do I need to use sunscreen indoors?

It depends. As the dermatologist Dr. Flávio Luz points out, there is no evidence that the artificial light present in homes and offices, for example, can cause damage to the health of the skin.

Remembering that the sunscreen is a barrier to reduce or block the incidence of UVB and UVA rays in the dermis, then there is no need to use it indoors to protect the skin from these UV rays coming from the lamps, as soon as the amount is not significant.

However, Flávio Luz also points out that there are some specific conditions in which sunscreen may be necessary, even inside the home or office.

This is the case of “places with excessive natural light, in which it enters the place. Another case may also be the presence of ultraviolet lights in the work environment, as in nightclubs or gyms ”.

In addition, points out the dermatologist, the use may be indicated by some specialists to create the habit of frequent use or that, if the person leaves the house or is exposed to the sun, the skin is already protected.

In other words, the indication is a way to reinforce the habit of applying the product, but the doctor points out that “there is no need to use sunscreens in environments protected from the sun as a precaution from artificial light sources”.

Can the intense use of computers and cell phones have an impact on the health or appearance of the skin?

The use of cell phones and computers is increasingly frequent and intense. As a result, doubts about the safety of this equipment for health begin to arise.

In general, it is known that overexposure to screens can indeed pose health risks in general. The dermatologist points out that the biggest associated risks are “sleep disorders and psychic disorders, especially induced by blue light”.

This blue light is a range of electromagnetic waves, visible to human eyes. Despite being present in almost all environments (mainly because the sun is a source of blue light as well), it is the increasingly intense exposure that is associated with these disorders.

In relation to skin health, the dermatologist points out that there is still “a lack of scientific evidence that this type of lighting may be harmful”.

Sunscreen, in general, does not protect against blue light. Therefore, applying a layer of the product before the work routine is not effective for this protection.


Taking care of the skin is essential to maintain the health of the body as a whole. Therefore, moderating exposure to the sun and using the correct means of protection is important for the correct synthesis of vitamin D, but without causing damage to the dermis.

Knowing more about care and routines is also part of a more balanced life! Follow the Healthy Minute!

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