Can You Tan Through Clouds?

A sunny day is the best time to get a tan, but you may wonder if you can tan through clouds. The UK is well-known for its cloudy weather, even in summer. So can you expect a tan while sunbathing on UK beaches when it’s cloudy?

You can get a tan when it’s cloudy. According to experts, about 90% of UV rays can penetrate through clouds and cause your skin to tan. However, the type of clouds in the sky may limit the number of UV rays that reach you. Fluffy, white clouds won’t keep you from tanning, but grey stormy clouds will reduce your tan.

This article will detail everything you need to know about tanning. We’ll also discuss whether you can tan through clouds further.

What Is a Tan?

Your skin tans by darkening in the sunlight because of exposure to UV rays. When UVA and UVB rays penetrate your skin, it responds by producing a dark skin pigment called melanin. It is your skin’s way of protecting itself from sun damage.

UVA rays oxidise the melanin already present in your skin, activating it to protect you against sun damage. These rays give you an immediate skin tan that begins right after sun exposure and maximises after a few hours. Excessive exposure to UVA rays can cause premature skin ageing and skin cancer.

UVB sun rays stimulate cells called melanocytes to produce melanin, which causes your skin to tan. Such tanning occurs 2 to 3 days after you start going out in the sun and maximises in 2 weeks. Excessive exposure to UVB rays can cause sunburn.

Your body keeps producing melanin for 48 hours after a tanning session. It takes a few days to build a tan. Lying a few minutes in the sun every day is the safest way to build a tan.

Regardless of skin colour, skin specialists recommend that everyone apply suntan oil or lotion when in the sun. It gives you a better tan and protects your skin from sunburn. Choose one with SPF 30 for the best protection of your skin.

Can You Tan Through Clouds?

At least 90 per cent of the rays responsible for tanning can penetrate through fluffy white clouds. On a grey, overcast day, up to 47 per cent of UV rays get through the clouds. Therefore, you can tan your skin even on a grey, cloudy day.

The sun is most potent from 10 am to 4 pm each day, regardless of whether it’s cloudy. Therefore, you can get sunburn on a cloudy day while assuming the sun is not too hot.

Don’t damage your skin while chasing a tan. The pigments responsible for tanning your skin will fade as your skin sheds dead cells, anyway. Spending ten to twenty minutes outside each day is enough to keep you well-tanned.


The sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds. Therefore, you can tan on a cloudy day during the hot summer months.

However, don’t forget to use sunscreen even when tanning on cloudy days. The higher the SPF in your sun lotion, the more protection you get from the sun’s harmful UV rays.