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The Sunscreen Ingredient You Need If You Sit at Your Computer All Day

With many of us adjusting to a new normal in which we find ourselves confined indoors for most of the day, most days, it begs the question of whether our pre-social distancing skincare routines are still what the doctor ordered, especially when it comes to protecting our skin. Do we really need sunscreen if our sun exposure is limited to grabbing the mail or taking a walk around the block? What should we be doing to protect our skin when the majority of threats are coming from indoors? And what impact is all this extra screen time—from Zoom meetings to Netflix binge sessions—having on our skin?

To help answers these questions and provide a guide for reexamining our skincare routines in quarantine, we reached out to Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Dr. Loretta skincare. Below, she reveals the skincare ingredient you need if you sit at your computer all day.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Loretta Ciraldo is a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist with over 40 years' experience and the founder of Dr. Loretta skincare.

Why You Need Sunscreen Indoors

"For my forty years as a dermatologist, I’ve advocated applying an SPF product, either as a sunscreen, BB cream, or makeup with SPF 30 or higher, every morning—even if you don’t intend to be sunbathing," shares Ciraldo. "This is because there is significant cumulative 'incidental exposure' to UVA/UVB that we get from short exposures like driving in the car to the grocery store, walking our dog, or going to our outdoor mailbox." Many might be surprised to know we can still suffer from sun damage with limited exposure, so it's a fail-safe solution to habitually apply sunscreen along with your morning skincare routine regardless of what your plans are for the day.

laptop on desk
 Surface/Unsplash

How to Protect Your Skin from Digital Screens

More recently, Ciraldo has updated her guideline of using sunscreen every day to "use a sunscreen product that also covers HEV light emitted by our digital screens even if we are totally indoors all day." This advice couldn't be more relevant today, when most of our skin damage is coming from indoor culprits. "These damaging HEV rays are emitted by our cell phone, computers, and all digital screens as well as overhead lighting," warns Ciraldo. As she explains, research shows that HEV light exposure can be more damaging than UV in making skin red, puffy, and hyperpigmented—all the more reason to lather up with the correct sunscreen, even if sunshine isn't on the schedule.

Products With Indian Ginseng

When looking for skincare products that are especially effective in protecting against indoor environmental stressors, Ciraldo recommends one particular ingredient. "After an exhaustive ingredient search, I have found that Indian ginseng is the best tested and proven defense from the skin damage done by HEV," asserts Ciraldo. "This is why I formulated Dr. Loretta Urban Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 40 with this very effective ingredient."

Dr. Loretta sunscreen
Dr. Loretta Urban Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 40 $50
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Ciraldo explains that Indian ginseng, also known as withania somnifera or ashwagandha, is a natural ingredient that has had extensive laboratory testing to prove that protects skin cells from the harmful effects of HEV blue light including cellular damage. "It improves skin vitality and vibrancy, so it is not only preventive but also corrective in its benefits," Ciraldo assures.

Moon Juice Cosmic Cream
Moon Juice Cosmic Cream $58
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Indian ginseng is a star ingredient in this nurturing moisturizer that helps protect skin against environmental stressors.

Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream $58
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This super-hydrating moisturizer taps into the powers of Indian ginseng to combat visible signs of fatigue.

As a final note, Ciraldo reminds us to keep smiling even through these challenging times. "There is a great psychological advantage to smiling," she notes. "And it also helps to keep the neck and jawline looking firmer when we activate smiling muscles."

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