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Do you need to wear sunscreen indoors? Dermatologist shares 4 key sunscreen facts

A board-certified dermatologist weighs in on whether you should wear sunscreen indoors and if wearing it regularly can reverse wrinkles.
/ Source: TODAY

The benefits and importance of wearing sunscreen are well established, particularly at this time of the year in the summer, but should you also be wearing it indoors?

Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist and a clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, helped get to the bottom of that question on TODAY Monday.

Yes, you should be wearing sunscreen indoors if you are near a window for long stretches, according to a board-certified dermatologist. Getty Images

Henry also sorted the truth from fiction when it come to sunscreen, makeup and moisturizer and how it does or doesn't protect your skin against harmful ultraviolet rays.

Here is her advice to help keep your skin healthy year-round. And here are four important spots you may be missing when applying sunscreen.

You need to wear sunscreen indoors and on overcast or cooler days.

With many people working from home during the pandemic, this issue has taken on added significance for anyone who may be sitting near a window for much of the day while working.

UV light can penetrate windows and consists of two basic types: UVA and UVB. Henry dubbed UVA to be "UV aging," and UVB to be "UV burning." The window glass can block the UVB light, but UVA can still make it through to damage your skin even if the sun isn't out, according to Henry.

"So 80% of UVA light can make its way through the clouds, and even when it's cool you're not safe because the strength of UV does not really correlate with the temperature outside," Henry said. "So slather on your sunscreen each and every day, even indoors."

Sunscreen is still necessary when using cosmetics with SPF.

Makeup companies use a far thicker layer in testing the SPF in their products than what you are applying when you use the product. Plus, makeup might not be applied evenly when being used, so Henry has three tips for wearing makeup and sunscreen:

1. Apply a base of sunscreen before putting on makeup.

2. Use a powder sunscreen.

3. Reapply the powder sunscreen every two hours if you are outside.

Wearing sunscreen can reverse wrinkles.

Henry called this "an area of controversy," but she said studies have backed up the fact that yes, it is possible not just to prevent wrinkles, but also reverse them in some cases.

"We all know that sunscreen can prevent against wrinkles, but there are new studies showing that in patients who use sunscreen consistently for a year, we did see the reversal of some photo damage and some wrinkles," she said.

Apply cool water or compresses to sunburns to help with pain.

As tempting as it is to slide into an ice bath after a bad sunburn or slap on some ice cubes out of the refrigerator, Henry said it does not help. Use cool water or cool compresses instead of ice.

"Ice directly to the skin can compromise the blood vessels and delay the healing, so no frostbite from your ice," Henry said.

Everyone should wear moisturizer.

Everyone should wear moisturizer regardless of having oily skin because your skin can still be dehydrated, according to Henry.

"So the question is not if you should wear moisturizer, it's what type you should wear," she said.

For people with oily skin, Henry recommends a lotion or a gel, compared to the rich creams used as moisturizers for dry skin.

"Everyone should wear it, just a different formulation," she said.

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