Should I wear sunscreen in front of my PC?

Recently, a reader by the nick of Guest, left a comment asking if we need to wear sunscreen when using the computer for long hours. My initial response was that we should at least use a moisturizer with SPF15 if we spend prolonged hours in front of our systems. However, I’ve since verified that it also depends on the type of computer screens in question.

Newer flat LCD monitors do not emit UV lights
Unless you’re still using those large, box-shaped monitors known as CRT monitors that emit low levels of UV light, most of the flat-panel, or LCD monitors on your desktop computers or laptops have not been found to emit any UV light (source). So your LCD TV is safe too! In fact, an anti-glare computer screen is standard on most LCD monitors these days so there is nothing to worry about. *Yay to long hours of web surfing!*

Problems only for those with XP disorder
In addition, I also learnt that the UV light emitted by CRT computer screens is a fraction of what is emitted from a fluorescent light.  But this small amount of UV light may pose problems for those with severe cases of xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP –  a disorder wherein the body cannot repair UV damage to the skin.  It is thus recommended that those with extreme XP should switch to using computers using LCD monitor or use an anti-glare computer screen designed to cut down on the amount of light that reflects off the display.

Wear a SPF15 moisturizer in the day even indoors
But still, you want to be protecting yourself indoors by at least using a moisturizer containing SPF15 due to the UV radiations from fluorescent lights, or any high intensity discharge lamps, halogen lights, and copier machines you may come across. Don’t forget the UV lights do come in from the windows! And in the night, use candles or sleep really early! *Heh*


  1. AtelierGal says:

    Sorry, I cannot stop laughing at “XP disorder.”

    1) XP <- if I make a face like this, I would need sunscreen
    2) What if I use Vista instead of XP

    I was feeling down this morning, and you kinda cheered me up a little.

  2. sesame says:

    Haha…that’s both cute and funny! Your comment made me chuckle!

    Glad the post cheered you a little…keep your mood up and scratch Milo’s belly for me! ?

  3. Jyoan says:

    wow, thanks for verifying that it’s ok with lcd screens. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of putting spf 15 moisturizer at home. And am so not into body lotions as well… … Wonder when I will suddenly feel the push factor to be more hardworking.

  4. sesame says:

    When you see the first age spot? *just kidding*

    If you invest in a moisturizer with SPF, then technically that would solve the problem cos you’ll have to use it daily too. Reminds me…I better go and bathe and put on mine. Haha…

  5. AtelierGal says:

    Also, I wish more eye cream with SPF be available in the market. Equally important.

  6. lady says:

    wow! this was a very informative post, I would have never thought about sunscreen due to computer face time! thank you!

  7. redheadblondie says:

    Wonder if I should be wearing sunglasses at home ? Think my eyes are equally important and I don’t want to get cataracts etc

    I think that for fluorescent lights as long as there is glass in front of it, UVB is cut off but not sure about how much UVA exposure comes from lights

  8. stella says:

    it’s so humid in singapore, so unless i’m indoors with airconditioning, i don’t know how i can slap on any sunscreen…

  9. sesame says:

    Good wish. Absolutely a rare commodity!

  10. sesame says:

    Yup, you’re not alone. Most pple don’t think about protection indoors as long as they’re away from direct sunlight.

  11. sesame says:

    Not exactly sure the UVA exposure but I did read that regular fluorescent light bulbs used in most homes and offices emit a small amount of UV, and that is far less than the amount produced by natural daylight – something like a couple of hours of exposure to these lights is like a couple of mins under the sun.

    The danger is those really bright ones and I have one installed at home in my son’s room. The UV radiation is probably more significant.

  12. Amanda says:

    I would have never thought that computer screens emit UV lights! A really good informative post.

    I have to be more diligent with sunscreen on my face and body too!

  13. pf1123 says:

    Yes, on days when I laze at home, I kinda feel naked without any sunscreen. hehe…

    So, I got some moisturiser with SPF.

    But I’m still lazy to put sunscreen on my exposed hands and legs.

    Oh yes, eye cream with SPF is impt!!! I can’t seem to find any of those. I suspect my eyes are a darker shade compared to the rest of my face is largely because I don’t use whitening skincare or cream with SPF.

  14. nicole says:

    Great info! For me, i will wear sunblock as long as there is light around me, SPF 15 if im at home, SPF 50 if im working.

    Ever since i started using sunblock, last year, now i will feel weird without my sunblock on..

    Do you use eyescream w SPF? Im interested to know wat brand you are using and your review. Sadly i have not found any suitable eyecream w spf and fine lines are sprouting like no body biz… *cries*

  15. sesame says:

    The new ones wouldn’t though and that’s why they’re also easier on our eyes.

  16. sesame says:

    Eucerin had one with SPF but it wasn’t great. But lucky my sunscreen can work on my eyes so I always slather on. I was actually quite surprised that a dermatologist told me that it’s not necessary to protect our eyes with SPF products…I wonder he knew what he was talking about.

  17. sesame says:

    I use my sunscreen on my eyes – it’s lightweight and works well. My eye gel doesn’t come with SPF. I used to use a Eucerin eye cream with SPF but didn’t find it particularly great for my eyes.

    Try to extend serums (if you’re using) on your face to your eyes too. It’ll help. If your sunscreen isn’t heavy, try to lightly bring over your eyes when you apply on your face. It’ll help provide some protection. But provided it’s not greasy and won’t cause milia.

  18. N. says:

    This is quite surprising. I had no idea!

  19. sesame says:

    There’s no need to wear sunscreen at home…try just normal moisturizer with SPF. A light one with SPF15 will do. Or if you use sunscreen, just a light application will suffice. But if you’re comfortable not using any SPF products indoors, it’s also okay as long as you don’t have a lot of UV lights coming from outside through the windows.

  20. Angel says:

    That is just way too much for me to worry about lol. I don’t really bother to wear it indoors unless it’s in the summer time and my mom keeps the blinds open. I’ve been trying to get into a habit of it, but sometimes I am just too lazy…To each their own though. ? Luckily, my monitor is new and I won’t have to worry about that so much! whew~

  21. sesame says:

    I guess the focus is more on the sun so it’s not surprising that many do not take note of the indoor UV. But it’s definitely not as harmful as what’s out there.

  22. sesame says:

    Yup, it’s not exactly significant so not a big issue. But I would say those from the windows are pretty much harmful in the long run.

  23. Mint says:

    oh.. Great information.. Lucky for me.. My liquid foundation comes with SPF 15 and my compact comes with SPF 30.. plus i try to avoid the sun when i’m out by carrying a uv-shield brolly.. That’s y my sisters call me an auntie!! Keke..

  24. sesame says:

    Now they call you auntie but in time to come, they’ll envy you for having great skin in years to come when you’re really in that auntie age group!

  25. Ayashi says:

    After reading this informative post, I went to check on my make-up kit SPF. I have always try to avoid the sun as much as possible. But neverthought wearing sunscreen is so important (even in front of computer!). I need to force myself start using an umbrella too ?

    Both my Ettusais concealer & pressed powder is 12PA++; and 24PA++ for their medicated acne whitening UV EX.

    But recently, the LANAIGE salesgirl told me I should use more than 30PA++ for weather in Brunei. Thus, I’m wearing 31PA++ when going outdoor and for work.

    Thinking of using the Ettusais 24PA++ indoor. Is it too much? … (thought of not to waste it)?

  26. sesame says:

    It should be okay. More important is, the texture is not heavy so that it doesn’t clog your pores unnecessarily.

  27. Hayashi says:

    Oh. Anyone using the Ettusais and Laneige ones? Hope their texture is not too thick.

    I also come across I had one Sun Shield Hair Spray with SPF6PA++. What would be the ideal range for hair protection?

  28. claire_cemolina says:


    what kind of spf15 do you have?

    I’m not sure wether to go the organic type (which can block my sensitive skin) or the usual conventional type?

  29. sesame says:

    Mine is SPF30 but I use one boutique product with titanium dioxide only that provides 50% protection against UVA radiation…so that works indoors.

  30. milkberry says:

    Good article that talks about my concern about indoor protection.

    Do I still need to use moisturizer with spf 15 when I put the curtain and shut all lights off?

    I actually prefer any moisturizer without spf when I stay indoor.

  31. sesame says:

    If you’re away from the window, it’s okay not to use moisturizer with SPF.

  32. valerie says:

    I am only 20 something but ive gotten age spots due to intense hours in the sun. It wasn’t that I loved sports I didnt really. But every time we had PE in the sun we just kinda burn up. When I went overseas the international schools there made everyone where caps. I wish Singapore schools would do that too..Teach students how to protect our skin! And I didn’t even realise the age spots until I lightened up my skin and started on vitamin c. ><

  33. sesame says:

    Yeah, you’re right. We don’t teach our children about sun protection despite the type of weather we have here.

  34. cassandra says:

    I just started wearing sunblock. I am 35. I know I know!! I am olive skinned and always assumed I wasn’t susceptible to sun damage. I never used to lay out in the sun, but in the last three to five years I have. The damage it has done is shocking sometimes. Now I have started to wear it rain, shine, snow sleet, at night and in front of the laptop. It’s at least 10 yrs old, and I know it’s emitting UV’s.
    I will NEVER tan again.

  35. Sesame says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Glad you discovered the damage in time…it’s possible to reverse some of the damages and I’m happy that you’re diligent about sunscreen. Just remember to take it off before sleeping. ?

  36. Sanju says:

    I sit in front of my computer for almost 10-15 hours a day.. and I have been doing this from almost 15 years..

    From the past 3-4 years I have been seeing this dark pigmentation kind of thing below my cheek bones.. and the skin specialist said that I should use some ointment and also a sun screen.. I never realized that it was because of the monitor. I always thought it was because of the sun, and I tried to stay away from the sun completely unless my face is covered..

    Only recently I understood that it’s because of the computer monitor (LCD) that it’s happening.. so started to use the sunscreen and that ointment (once at night for half an hour) and I can already see the improvement.. so basically I think even LCD monitors emit radiation if we sit for long hours.

    Gender: Male
    Origin: Indian
    Age: 44

  37. Sanju says:

    Also if I go out in the Sun.. it easily gets dark and I feel this burning sensation.. is it normal? I don’t see it happening to others who are with me.

  38. Sesame says:

    Hmm…that’s scary. But thanks for sharing your experience! I agree it’s best not to spend so much time in front of the computer.

  39. Sesame says:

    Your skin could be very photosensitive then. Have you seen a dermatologist to determine? Do you have other symptoms? Like rashes or swelling anywhere?

  40. carol gibson says:

    Gotta watch those spray on sunscreens. I had a bad reaction to the Neutrogena spray on. My skin became red and inflamed, Afterward, it began to peel off in sheets. It’s been a month now, ad it’s just beginning to look normal.

  41. Hazel Owens says:

    I think it’s interesting that you suggest wearing moisturizer containing SPF15 even indoors. I almost never wear sunscreen unless I’m going to be outside for a long time, but I probably should wear it more often. However, if you are concerned about UV rays getting in through the windows, there are protective screens out there that can block the harmful rays and keep your house cooler. Thanks for the article!

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