If you want to protect yourself from age spots, wrinkles and skin cancer, then your biggest enemy is the sun. The sun’s damaging UV rays are responsible for almost 80% of aging. This is why the first thing dermatologists tell you to do is use sunscreen. But for something that takes only 2 minutes, most of get really lazy with our sunscreen application. If your excuse for not using sunscreen is that you spend most of your time indoors anyway, then you’re in for a rude surprise. UVA rays, the UV rays responsible for aging and skin cancer can find their way indoors as well. Here are a few ways you might unintentionally be exposing your skin to UVA damage.
You Drive A Lot
Studies have shown that people tend to have more sun damage on the side of the face that faces the window. If you’re driving without sun protection, the side of your face that faces the window might have more wrinkles and age faster. While the glass used on car windows do protect you from UVB rays (which cause sunburn), they let in as much as 75% of UVA rays. To reduce your chances of skin damage, you need to apply sunscreen every single day before heading out. You can even get UV protection film for your car windows which block 99% of UVA rays. If you take the bus to work, then try to sit in the aisle seat instead of by the window.
You can also use physical forms of sun protection to protect yourself from sun damage. People who drive a lot tend to develop wrinkles especially around their delicate under eye area. Wearing sunglasses can help prevent most of this damage. Many people also notice that the hand closer to the window gets more sun damaged. To prevent this, you can use extra sunscreen on your hands or wear gloves.
You Have Glass Windows At Work And At Home
Most offices these days have huge glass windows that make offices look more spacious and let natural light flood in. But while you enjoy the view as you work, you might also be exposing your skin to damaging UVA rays. Laminated glass and glass covered with UV protective film block as much as 95% to 99% of UVA rays. However, most offices don’t have these kinds of glass on their windows. If you have an office with big glass windows, chances are they’re made from clear glass. Clear glass blocks UVB rays, but do almost nothing to block UVA rays.
The first step to protecting your skin from sun damage at work is to use sunscreen even if you know you’re going to be indoors all day. You can also try to sit as far from glass windows as possible. The strength of these UVA rays diminish the farther away you get from sunlight, so if you sit away from the windows, your skin will be better protected. If you have glass windows at home, then draw your curtains or pull down the blinds during the day time.
You’re Around Fluorescent Lighting
Compared to all the other ways you run into UVA damage in your lifetime, fluorescent lights aren’t as harmful. In fact, research shows that fluorescent lights account for only about 3% of your total skin damage. However, even small amounts of skin damage is still damage, so if you can find a way to avoid it, then why not do it? The electricity produced in fluorescent lights can stimulate gases within them (usually neon or mercury vapors) to produce ultraviolet radiation. Most of this radiation is blocked by the glass or the fluorescent coating. However, some of it still escapes and can damage your skin. To prevent skin damage from fluorescent lights, invest in LED lights. Not only are they more cost-effective and environment friendly, they also don’t emit ultraviolet rays.
You Use Halogen Lights
Like fluorescent lights, halogen lights also emit a low amount of UV rays. However, if you spend a lot of your time around halogen lights, then the cumulative effect of these rays can cause skin damage. Halogen lamps produce a wide spectrum of lights including UV rays. Halogen lights are made up of quartz because it’s more heat-resistant, however quartz cannot block UV rays. To rectify this, manufacturers often use quartz that has been coated with UV protective materials first. However, this doesn’t block all of the UV rays. While the exact amount of UV rays which pass through halogen lamps isn’t clear, it can cause some amount of skin damage in the long run.