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Can you get sunburnt through a window?

Updated: May 30, 2022

Yes, it is possible to be sunburnt through a window!

When we think about sun exposure, we normally think of spending time outdoors, like at the beach or a park. However, it is also possible to be sunburnt through a window. This includes the windows on buildings, as well as the side and rear windows on cars.

There are two types of UV radiation which can cause damage to our skin – UVA and UVB.

UVB radiation penetrates the top layer of the skin, causing your skin to turn red and burn, and also plays a role in the development of skin cancer. UVA radiation won’t cause your skin to turn red - but penetrates deep into the skin and is a major contributor to skin cancer.

Additionally, you are not getting the health benefits of sunlight behind glass. Vitamin D is produced by the body when the skin absorbs UVB rays, so skin exposed to the sun indoors through a glass window will not produce vitamin D.

What does this mean?

If you are in a car or near a building window, while your skin may not turn red, UVA rays are penetrating deep into your skin causing harmful skin damage.

“Vitamin D is produced when the skin absorbs UVB rays. Most glass windows block UVB rays meaning you won't reap the health benefits.



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