Prolonged exposure of skin to the sun makes it prone to damage. It can lead to serious issues like skin cancer. However, in order to develop a tan, people stay under the sun for hours wearing sunscreen to protect their skin from the sun’s damage.
Wondering if you can tan through a window, here is the answer- NO.
To understand why, let’s dig a little deeper and know how the sun rays actually work to help you develop a tan and whether you could get some health benefits sitting by the window, such as increasing your vitamin D levels.
What Is Tanning?
When the body is exposed to sun rays, ultraviolet radiation penetrates the skin. In response to it, the skin cells start producing melanin. It is a substance that gives color or pigment to the skin.
The more the melanin content in your body, the better your skin is protected against harmful sun rays. The body continues producing melanin when the skin is exposed to UV ‘B’ rays. This production continues for days or weeks.
Here, it is important to know that the sun emits UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
- UVC is the most dangerous, but there’s no need to worry as it doesn’t reach the earth due to being filtered by the atmosphere.
- UVB rays have a wavelength of between 280-320 nanometres, which can penetrate deep skin layers and cause sunburn.
- UVA rays have a longer wavelength of between 320-400 nanometres and can cause damage to the collagen in the skin, resulting in loss of elasticity and aging of the skin in the long term.
[ Read: Uv Index For Tanning ]
How Does Tanning Occur?
Tanning occurs when the melanin in your skin comes under stress due to continued exposure. In response to continuous UV exposure, the body starts developing tan. However, this sort of tanning comes immediately and disappears quickly.
Apart from sun exposure, genetics also plays a role in melanin production. Fair-skinned people and whose ancestors came from highlands are likely to burn a great deal more easily than naturally olive-skinned people.
[ Read: How Tan Can You Get? ]
Can You Get A Tan Through A Window?
Coming back to our question, double-glazed windows act like a layer of sunscreen, preventing the UV rays from entering inside. Even though some ultraviolet rays would still enter; however, only the least harmful wavelengths and in very small quantities that won’t harm skin.
It means sitting along the window won’t help to tan very easily – if at all.
How About Absorbing Vitamin D Through The Windows?
Apart from producing melanin, UVB rays also promote the production of Vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for bone health and other body functions.
Since glass windows tend to block the frequency of sunlight, it is essential to get out into the real sunshine and enjoy direct sun rays for some time. Make sure you wear sunscreen and stay outside only as long as you need to absorb Vitamin D.
Don’t get burned!
On an estimate, a very fair-skinned person will only need about 4 minutes of sun exposure to absorb the right amount of vitamin D, while very dark-skinned people will need about 20 minutes.
Do You Need To Wear Sunscreen While Sitting By The Window?
Since there are few chances of harmful UV rays entering and causing tanning, one question that comes to mind is, do you need to apply sunscreen indoors?
As per cancer.org, there is typically no need to wear sunscreen indoors, as the risk of sun exposure is low. If you are spending a lot of time by a window with direct sunlight, you might want to think about sun protection, though clothing may be sufficient, and sunscreen won’t usually be necessary.
At the same time, glass blocks most of the dangerous UVB rays, which are the sunlight responsible for melanin production. So, there is no need to wear sunscreen while sitting by the window, at least if your window is traditional glass.
If you are too lazy to sit under the sun to develop a tan, sitting by the window will not help. You must go outside and bask under the sun to get the gorgeous bronze tone.
Apart from sun tan, you can also prefer tanning beds and tan sprays to make your skin look tanned. They are good alternatives to suntan and effective too.
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