Do I Need to Wear Sunscreen If I Work Inside All Day?

A common question I get from my clients when I’m teaching them about the importance of wearing sunscreen is, “Do I really need to wear sunscreen if I’m inside at work all day?” Many of my clients tell me, “I go to work early and don’t come home until after dark so I don’t bother wearing sunscreen.” So should sunscreen be worn? The answer is yes, as long as your skin is exposed to daylight, even if coming through windows in your office.

There are two types of UV rays given off from the sun that you need to know about. 

UVA rays: responsible for changing the DNA in the skin causing premature skin aging and skin cancer, approximate same strength from summer to winter and can penetrate through clouds, windows in your home, office or car. Simply put, these are the true damaging rays.

UVB Rays: responsible for giving the skin a suntan or sunburn, strongest from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and less strong in the winter and does not penetrate through glass.

If you see the light of day when you are at work, then this daylight is also seeing your skin and causing unnecessary exposure that contributes to aging. Why get UV damage when you’re not even getting a tan for it? You can read more about a simple test to see if you’re getting damage indoors here.

Be sure to find a sunscreen compatible with your skin type (like Daily Protection SPF 30 or Age Defense Moisturizer SPF 30) and apply it generously 365 days a year, inside and out. Be sure to dust on a SPF mineral powder like ColoreScience SPF 50 Mineral Powder to ensure your skin is extra protected.

Read: How Will Your Skin Age? Predict the Future of Your Skin

Which products are right for your skin? See our nine skin types and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule My Skin Prescription to get personalized advice in person, over the phone or via Skype or Facetime.

For more expert skin advice, check out Skin Source–the A-Z guide on all things skin. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time.

Skin Care Quiz
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  1. Hi, I have another question about the amount that needs to be applied when I’m at work.

    Is there less of a need to re-apply sunscreen while at work while windows are facing me? As in, do I need to apply every 2-3 hours like is suggested when I’m out directly under the sun.

    The same question for the amount I have to apply, does being in an office for the whole day allow me to apply less lotion at the start of the day? Or is a ‘shot glass’ of lotion still needed to protect myself fully.


    Posted By: Walter  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      If you’re directly near a window then yes, I would highly recommend reapplying. The thing is, your natural oils will degrade the sunscreen so along with the windows, you should reapply. They say a shot glass but that generally refers to areas of the body but I would suggest the size of quarter for the entire face. I’d say reapply every four hours when you’re at work.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      • Another brief question, if you don’t mind.

        I’d like to know if my chances of getting natural tans from the sunlight are diminished greatly while wearing sunscreen? Or does wearing sunscreen take away any chance of a tan at all?

        Posted By: Walter  | 


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