Do I Really Need to Moisturize If I’m Inside All the Time Anyway?

Just because you’re out of the sun doesn’t mean your skin is out of danger.


Skin: It’s your body’s largest organ, and the first line of defense from the harsh elements that surround us. Make that “surrounded us,” as it were, because for the many of us still working from home, we’re spending less time outdoors than we used to. Indeed, it seems that nowadays, the only “harsh elements” our skin really needs to protect us from is the air conditioning.

But is that true? Is our skin on a vacation from doing its job now that we’ve been largely living life indoors for so long? And by proxy, can we slack off on taking care of it with moisturizers and sunscreen and the like?

Absolutely not, says board-certified dermatologist Anthony Rossi. “You should definitely keep moisturizing,” Rossi says. “Most people are creatures of habit — good, or bad. Which means that changes in our routine [like how often we get outside] can affect our skin.”

But it’s not just being indoors more than usual — it’s also how being indoors a lot changes that routine, and why, even inside, you should consider what that’s doing to your skin. “If your diet has changed you may be breaking out more, or you may be running the heat or running the air conditioning more, and your skin can dry out,” Rossi explains. “So definitely, keep up the daily hydration inside and out. Plenty of water and daily moisturizer after a shower or after your home workout. You should also wash your face and moisturize before you go to bed.”

Moisturizing isn’t the only important part of continuing to take care of your skin during quarantine. Even though you might be out of the sun now, you should still consider putting on sunscreen daily, especially if you sit near any windows. That’s because, though some UV rays are blocked by glass, radiation can still pass through them and get into your skin. “Remember that glass still lets UVA and possibly some UVB in, and since it’s a good habit to use a daily moisturizer with SPF, if that’s your routine, stick with it,” Rossi says. 

As your routine changes, though, it’s also important to change with it. Some areas of your skin you might have been neglecting previously have become super important to take care of now that we’re indoors more often. For example, according to Rossi, it’s really important that you wash and exfoliate your face if you’re still getting breakouts from wearing a mask that’s trapping sweat and sebum against your skin. And don’t sleep on your hands, either: “Hand moisturizer is key. Switch to cold water instead of hot, and a soap that’s good for sensitive skin.”

You can take your skin out of the elements, but you can’t take the elements out of your skin, no matter how much time you spend inside. If anything, the upheavals to everyone’s routines over the last year and a half are even more of a reason to mind your skincare habits — unless you don’t care about looking like a lizard-person, in which case, do what you want.