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

Updated 9/7/14. 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 skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take our Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

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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  | 

  2. Hi Renee,

    I work in the basement of a research lab. I rarely ever go out, not even for lunch. Would I need to reapply sunscreen still? I’m wondering how protected I’d be when I walk to my car after work. I don’t sweat or do any arduous work either.

    Also, I just learned how valuable sunscreen is to maintain youthful skin. At age 28, do you think I’m starting too late to do any good? I know its better late than never, but I wonder how much damage I’ve already accumulated. I don’t go into the sun very often.

    Thank you!


    Posted By: Connie Lee  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Hi Connie,
      No, at 28 or anytime, it’s never too late. Let me use this as an example. A smoker who has smoked for 20 years will show significant damage in their lungs. When they stop smoking, the lungs will actually start to repair themselves. Or when you have a cut in your skin, the skin will heal itself and repair the wound. So in the case of UV exposure, since that works on a cellular level to change (damage) the DNA, when it’s no longer being damaged—by wearing sunscreen—then it will start to reverse itself. Bottom line: It’s never too late (or too early) to protect your skin from the #1 cause of wrinkles—the sun. Wear sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection 365 days a year, rain or shine.

      If you haven’t been wearing sunscreen because they feel too heavy on the skin or you feel like they clog your pores, then try Renée Rouleau Daily Protection SPF 30. It’s our #1 best-seller because it dries to a matte finish and will not cause break outs! You can see it here. And yes, if your skin sees any daylight, then yes, do wear it daily.

      If your skin ever sees daylight, then you do need sunscreen.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 


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