Is Sun Exposure Through Glass Dangerous?

We all know it by now: the sun rays are dangerous and we should wear sunscreen every day to avoid premature aging, sunburn and cancer. But what about when we’re driving or just sitting next to a window? Is the sun exposure we’re getting that way all year round dangerous for our health and skin as well?

Sun exposure through glass doesn’t cause sunburn

You’ll be happy to know that you won’t run the risk of getting sunburned if you driving in your car or are anywhere near a window. That’s because sunburns are caused by UVB rays and these cannot penetrate through glass (unless the window is open, of course!). However, while this is good news, it doesn’t mean that sun exposure through glass is completely harmless. Quite the opposite actually.

Sun exposure through glass can cause premature aging and increase the risk of cancer

Driving in your car or sitting next to a window may not cause sunburn, but the sun exposure you’re getting that way is still dangerous. UVB rays may not be able to penetrate glass, but UVA rays will get through it and these not only increase the risk of developing skin cancer, but are also responsible for premature aging. And did you know that one side of your face is more at risk than the other? In fact, the side of your face that is nearest the car window or facing any window at your house/office  is more exposed to the sun ray and can age more quickly than the rest of your face!

How to prevent damage caused by sun exposure through glass

There are a couple of ways to protect your skin from the damage inflicted to it by sun exposure through glass. One solution is window tinting: you can apply a protective UV film to your windows which will reduce UVA penetration to about 15-30%. However, there is one more simple solution and I’m sure you all know what that is. Yep, before getting in your car or sitting next to a window, always apply a good broad-spectrum sunscreen (or at least a moisturizer with SPF in winter) on all exposed areas of your body.

How do you prevent damage from sun exposure through glass?

Source: ThiagoMartins
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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Isabel, I’m sorry to hear that. That is odd indeed! Was the window down by any chance or did you spend a lot of time outdoors before getting into the car? From what I know, UVB rays can’t penetrate through glass but I guess when the sun is really hot one can never be more careful, especially if one is prone to sunburn.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      LastetGirls, it’s mostly UVB rays that cause cancer but UVA ones do contribute to it improve the risk of getting this awful disease so it’s always best to wear sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF at least. :)

  1. says

    I got my car windows tinted when I bought it a few years ago. It’s a must here in Las Vegas, because it gets to be 120 degrees in the summer, so the tinting helps with the heat. And of course I got the tinting to protect my skin! I am still kicking myself for never tinting any of the other cars I’ve owned. I definitely have more sun damage on the left side of my face than my right from sun damage while driving! UGH. And of course I wear sunscreen too every day. The other thing I’m paranoid about are my home windows – they aren’t tinted! Tinting them will also help with preventing the carpet, furniture, pictures, etc. from fading. I’ve seen how bad the sun has damaged the interior of my old house.
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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Jeni, that’s a good thing that you had the windows of your car tinted. It won’t keep all the UV rays it but it definitely helps a lot. As for tinting house windows, I remember the windows of my old school were tinted and I hated it as even when the sun was shining and it was a lovely day outside, inside it was dark and gloomy. But in the summer months they were helpful so if the sun has damaged the interior of your house or the weather is hot for months on end, tinted windows can be a good option. Sunscreen is still a must do. :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Gav, thanks for your comment. I’ve often come across the expression “improve risks” actually, but I agree with you that increase is more appropriate, so I’ve changed it. :)

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