If you're fortunate enough to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, then you've probably got your morning beauty routine on lock by now. You wash your face, hydrate your skin and apply your no-fail makeup products (if you're choosing to wear makeup at all) before you hop on your morning video chat with your co-workers.
But you might be forgetting an essential part of your beauty routine: sunscreen.
It turns out that if you want to protect your skin from the sun's harsh UVA and UVB rays, you'll need to put on sunblock every morning, according to medical experts, even if you're staying completely inside.
"UVA rays penetrate through glass, so if your room has a window, it is important to wear sunscreen even when inside," says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. "UVA rays are generally linked to the aging of skin cells and tend to be the cause of wrinkles, sunspots and other signs of sun damage. UVB rays, on the other hand, are the principal cause of sunburns, directly damage DNA in skin cells and are linked to most skin cancers. The glass typically used in car, home and office windows is designed to block most UVB rays, but it does not offer protection from all UVA rays. So even if you're indoors, if you're close to a window, you are still at risk of exposure to UVA rays and possible sun damage."
Dr. Harold Lancer, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and founder of Lancer Skincare, agrees. "As a general rule, we tell patients, 'If you can see where you are walking without the use of a flashlight, there is enough light to require the use of sunscreen,'" he says. "Indoor light exposure is broad-spectrum and can influence cell behavior in the skin."
If you're hanging out in a space with neither windows nor direct sunlight, your skin could still benefit from applying sunscreen. Hear us out: Our phones, laptops, TVs and even LED light bulbs can emit blue light, aka high-energy visible light, which can impact the health of our skin as well.
"Visible light accounts for 50% of the sunlight spectrum, and it's the only part of light that can be detected by the human eye," explains King. "The blue/violet band of this visible spectrum has a particularly high energy level and is known as high-energy visible light."
HEV light can penetrate the lower levels of our skin, King says, and cause premature photo-aging, hyperpigmentation and possibly age spots and melasma. Both HEV light and the sun's UV rays generate free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, which cause skin cells to produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in the skin. The good news: HEV light is not associated with skin cancer, unlike UV rays.
Ahead, we explore game-changing sunscreens loved by skin care experts across the country. Whether you stick to traditional chemical sunscreens or prefer mineral sunblock, we've got you covered no matter your budget.
"I love this sunscreen for people that don't like wearing sunscreen, as it doesn't feel like one when it's on," says celebrity esthetician and founder of SkinLab, Joshua Rohrer. "It absorbs really quickly and is a combination sunscreen — part chemical and part physical. Aloe and Vitamin E are great when you've been exposed to the sun to prevent dehydration. It also has a nice, elegant feel to it."
Rohrer says this splurge is worth it because it works for all skin types, glides on with ease and absorbs into the skin without leaving behind a sticky finish.
Rohrer is obsessed with this zinc-based tinted sunscreen that's great for sensitive skin. "Since it's tinted, you can literally see where you have coverage, regardless of how long you've had it on," he says. "It's light coverage but if you see it, you know you're protected."