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Do you still need to wear an SPF if you’re indoors all day?

Eliana Gil Rodriguez

Many of us are confined to our homes for the foreseeable future - except of course for the essential workers, who we appreciate endlessly. But for those of us inside social distancing, many are asking the question, do we still need to be layering up with an SPF?

It's an interesting conundrum. SPF is an essential part of any skincare routine but if we're not seeing the sun, is there any point? I found myself wondering this. Most SPF products tend to make me breakout. It's something I've made peace with. I'd rather be a little spotty than damage my skin. But... if I'm not going outside, what then? It's extremely tempting to forgo my sunscreen so I can enjoy smooth skin for a time.

But before I made my decision, I decided to ask an expert. Sarah Laidlaw is Priceline's Beauty Director and I recently asked for her take on a whole bunch of beauty questions - but most pressingly, I asked about SPF. Here's what she had to say.

"Well, here’s the thing… we live in Australia under the thinnest part of the ozone layer. Harmful UV rays are still at high levels even when it is winter, overcast weather or when the light is filtered through a window. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are able to pass through window glass and penetrates deep into the dermis layer of your skin. One of the alarming issues with UVA rays is that they can cause suppression of the immune system. This is notable for how it can diminish your immune system’s ability to protect against skin cancers, but also especially at this time when the last thing we want is to compromise our immune systems.

"UVAs are the rays also responsible for premature ageing like fine lines and age spots. You can’t see or feel UV, so you won’t notice the damage is being done. Even though we are isolated at home, most Australians crave light and the feeling of the sun on our skin for a least a few minutes a day. Most people, even if they aren’t going out to exercise will naturally gravitate towards their balcony, back yard or window. Don’t underestimate how much time you spend in those UVA rays. You may just be going onto your balcony to hang out washing or to take the dog out, but the UV rays are high enough in Australia it can take only 11 minutes for your skin to burn."

So there you have it. It's probably best to stick with your SPF, even if you are inside.