Can the sun’s UV light affect my skin when I’m sitting inside next to a window?

Many people falsely believe they’re shielded from UV exposure as long as they’re indoors, but research suggests otherwise. While window glass may block UVB radiation, much of the UVA spectrum is allowed to penetrate.

After observing that melanoma had been increasing among fair-skinned, indoor workers since before 1940, a team of FDA scientists reported in 2009 that the increased cancer risk could be explained by the sun’s UVA rays penetrating window glass in office buildings.


In a recent study published online by JAMA Dermatology, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that airline pilots flying at 30,000 feet are exposed to the same amount of UVA radiation over the course of about an hour as they would in a 20-minute tanning bed session, due to the longer UV wavelengths penetrating airplane windshields .

You too may be receiving more UV exposure behind glass windows than you realize. Hedge your bets by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 and reapply often. In your office, consider adding window blinds or shades like these custom blinds for Denver, repositioning your desk and wearing protective clothing.

What steps do you take indoors to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays? Share your tips by commenting below.

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