Can You Get Tan When It’s Cloudy Outside? – Top Tanning Tips for When the Sun’s Hiding

Can You Get Tan When It’s Cloudy Outside? – Top Tanning Tips for When the Sun’s Hiding
October 3, 2021 Ellis James
Have you been planning a day at the beach or pool to work on getting a gorgeous tan only to check the weather and find out that the forecast calls for clouds? Can you get tan when it’s cloudy, or will you need to rearrange your schedule and figure out a new way to get that bronzed look you desire? Let’s break this question down and find out everything you want to know about tanning on a cloudy day!

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Can you get tan when it’s cloudy?

Yes, you can get a tan even if it is cloudy outside.

Our skin produces a greater number of melanin pigments when it is exposed to the UV rays from the sun.  These melanin pigments, which is our skin’s way of protecting itself from the sun, is what makes our skin look tan.

Reading this may make you think that you can only tan on a sunny day when those UVA and UVB rays are hitting your skin.  However, the reality is that up to 80% of UV rays are able to penetrate through the clouds.  This means that you can still tan (or burn) when there are clouds.

The visible light from the sun is not what makes our skin tan.  It is the UVA and UVB rays that tan our skin.  These are still present, even on a cloudy day.


Use these tips to help you maximize your tan on a cloudy day

  • The day before you plan to tan, exfoliate your skin.  This helps remove dead skin cells and will help the tan be more effective.
  • After exfoliating, moisturize your skin.  If your skin is too dry, it won’t tan as well.  Use the moisturizer at least twice a day to keep your skin well hydrated.
  • When you’re ready to go out and tan, even on a cloudy day, put on sunscreen.  While you want to let your skin tan, you also don’t want to damage it or increase your risk of developing cancer.  Sunscreen will also lessen the chances of burning instead of tanning.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
  • Carefully select a spot for tanning.  Choose one with limited obstructions between you and the sun.
  • Be safe and protect yourself from the strongest rays from the sun by tanning before 10 am or after 4 pm.
  • Rotate your position to allow the sun to hit different areas of your body.  Change positions every 10 or 20 minutes.
  • If you want to maximize the tan you’ll receive on a cloudy day, applying some tanning oil, such as Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil or Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil, can help.

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Can you tan in overcast weather?

An overcast day is one where there are a lot of clouds in the sky.  While many think that tanning in such weather just isn’t possible, it actually is.  The UVA and UVB rays from the sun are too strong for the clouds to block them from exposing our skin.  Since nearly 90% of these rays can still penetrate the clouds on an overcast day, it is definitely possible to get a tan.

Keep in mind that some cloud types can block more rays than others.  White, fluffy clouds only block around 10% of UVA and UVB rays, while gray clouds block around 50%.  So, the cloud type on an overcast day can impact how effective your tanning efforts will be.

Can you get tan on a rainy day?

Can you tan through rain clouds?  Yes, it is still possible to tan on a rainy day.  While rain clouds may block more of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays that cause our skin to increase its production of melanin, the clouds will still not block all of these rays.  That means that your skin is still exposed to UVA and UVA rays, which can result in a tan.  The tan you get on a rainy day likely won’t be as strong as what you get on a sunny day or a day with only a few clouds, but tanning is still possible.  You’ll just need to decide if the chance of getting some tan is worth sitting out in the rain.

Also, keep in mind if the forecast calls for rain, it does not necessarily mean it will rain all day long.  Summer is known for thunderstorms, but often these thunderstorms don’t last long, leaving plenty of breaks for the sun to peek through or at least there to be just clouds with no rain.

Can you tan when it’s cloudy but high UV?

Yes, a high UV index, even on a cloudy day, can increase the chances of getting a darker tan.  High UV indexes means that the rays from the sun are particularly strong.  However, a higher UV index can also mean that you can burn faster and more easily too.  If you’re planning to tan on a day with a high UV index, take proper precautions, such as wearing sunscreen and limiting the amount of time you spend outside.


How long does it take to tan on a cloudy day?

The length of time it will take to tan on a cloudy day can vary based on the UV index, cloud types, and your skin type.  In some cases, you may get a good tan by just exposing each side of your body to the sun for 5 or 10 minutes.

However, in other cases, especially for those with lighter skin, it may take closer to 20 or 30 minutes on each side to get a good tan.


Do you tan better on a cloudy day?

Do you really tan better overcast days?  No, while you can still tan through the clouds, the tan you get on an overcast day will not be better than what you’ll get on a sunny day.

The UVA and UVA rays from the sun are what is responsible for tanning your skin, and these rays really aren’t dependent on whether there are clouds present or not.  The clouds don’t do anything to help the rays better penetrate your skin.

Why do you tan more when it’s cloudy?  You don’t.  The tan you’ll get on a cloudy day won’t be darker than the tan you’ll get on a sunny day.  Depending on how dark the clouds are and how many UV rays they block, you may not get as deep of a tan on a cloudy day as you could on a sunny day.


What is the best weather for tanning?

Between 10 am and 4 pm, the sun’s rays are strongest.  While this may make your skin darker, it can also increase the risk of sunburn, other skin damage, and cancer. To best protect yourself from the sun, while still getting the tan you want, try to go outside before 10 am.



Can you get tan in the shade?

Yes, you can get tan in the shade.  Direct sunlight is not a necessary requirement for getting a tan.  The rays from the sun are able to reflect off of others around you, which will still allow them to hit you and can cause your sun to tan (or burn).  This is especially true if you’re at a beach or pool since the water is very reflective.  Snow is also reflective, which is why many people end up with a sunburn when they go skiing.

The type of shade you are sitting under will also impact whether you tan and how much you tan.  Some beach umbrellas or sun canopies have a UPF rating.  This means they are designed to block some UVB rays, which could limit how tan you’ll be able to get.  But, no shade will block all UV rays, and you can still end up getting some tan.

Can you tan without being in direct sunlight?

Yes, it is possible to get a tan without being in direct sunlight.  The rays from the sun can reflect off of other nearby surfaces.  This means the rays can still hit your skin and cause it to tan.


Tanning on a Cloudy Day

Finding the best time of day to tan when the sun’s rays are strongest can help you get that golden skin you long for.  However, tanning on a cloudy day is still possible.  Remember to pick up a bottle of your favorite tanning lotion to help speed up the process, but you can definitely tan on a cloudy day!

Learn more tips for getting the perfect tan with these related articles on our blog:

Comments (2)

  1. Adriana Leandro 9 months ago

    Great informations.
    My country is very sunny.

    • Ellis James Designs 8 months ago

      Awesome, Adriana!

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