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When it comes to sunscreen, one of the biggest misconceptions is that you don’t need to wear SPF indoors.
If you’re sitting near the window when you’re working from home, you are actually exposing yourself to UVA rays, which are responsible for premature ageing and skin cancer.
“Standard glass windows block UVB rays – the type that typically give you sunburn – but not UVA rays, which can penetrate deeper into the skin and are the main contributing factor for dark spots and wrinkles,” says consultant dermatologist Dr Hiva Fassihi.
But that’s not all. “As much as 44% of the sun’s rays are visible light, also known as high energy blue light,” warns cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting.
While research into blue light is still in its infancy, what we do know is that “skin cells are sensitive to both visible light and UV, creating a double whammy assault,” says Dr Bunting.
“Exposure to visible light seems to turn on the melanin factory leading to more stubborn hyperpigmentation, especially in those with darker skin tones.”
Plus it seems to accelerate the loss of collagen and elastin, the stuff that keeps the mattress of the skin plump and springy.
The trouble is, blue light isn’t just confined to sunlight and, if you’re reading this, it’s already too late (sorry). That cool hazy glare from your computer screen, iPad or phone is the result of blue light, and it’s doing your skin no favours at all.
In the age of Covid-19, it’s estimated that 60% of us are now spending more than six hours a day in front of a digital device, be it on Zoom calls or indulging in late-night Netflix marathons.
And, according to Unilever scientists, five working days spent in front of your computer screen can have the same impact on the skin as spending 25 minutes in the midday sun without any protection.
The good news is there’s plenty you can do to fight back. There’s some evidence that you can protect yourself from the skin-damaging effects of blue light and UVA rays by using antioxidant-rich serums.
“Vitamins C and E have the most research behind them,” says Dr Mona Gohora, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “Apply a serum containing both in the morning after cleansing as they are stronger when used together.”
Ultimately, however, the most bullet-proof solution is to wear a sunscreen with at least a broad-spectrum SPF30 and, ideally, iron oxides (found in tinted SPFs)
If you’re sitting near a window, reapply your sunscreen once every couple of hours, just as you normally would if you were outdoors. And if you’re planning on binging on Mare of Easttown, resist washing your day’s protection down the plug hole until the credits roll.
Thankfully the latest sunscreens are water-light, never greasy and disappear into your skin without leaving a white cast so they’re more user-friendly than ever before.
We rate Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Sun Milk SPF30 Face for this very reason. It's the brand’s first-ever 100% mineral filter formulation, and it’s designed to sit invisibly on the surface of the skin and deflect the sun’s rays away from your face.
Thanks to ingredients like zinc oxide, it’s even suitable for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, and the heavenly scent of kukui nut and coconut will transport you to the beach within minutes.
Better still, you can now snap up a 30ml travel size in our Summer Saviours OK! Beauty Box, which costs just £9* here. You get it along with five other gorgeous products, worth over £70! Just use the code 40FIRSTBOX to get the whole lot for 40% off.
Save your skin AND save your money – what more could you want for summer?
*Discount code redeemable against one-month rolling subscriptions to new customers only. OK! Beauty Box subscription is then £15 per month thereafter
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