Do you need to watch out for a tan if you aren’t out in the sun? (Picture: Getty)
Temperatures are soaring during the ongoing UK heatwave, and we’re seeing non-stop sunshine.
With sun comes, of course, the possibility of a tan – which, despite the extreme weather warning, will perhaps entice those who love a tan to hop on a sun lounger and soak up a few rays.
But what if the sun is blaring through the windows of your house or car, will your skin start to tan through the glass? And what if it clouds over, can you still get a tan then too?
Plus in these scenarios, do you still need to wear suncream to protect your skin from damage?
Here’s what you need to know.
Can you tan through clouds?
Yes, you can get a tan even if it’s cloudy, according to the NHS.
UV rays can get through clouds, meaning you could still tan (Picture: Getty)
Just because the sun has gone in doesn’t mean you should ditch the sun cream on a summer’s day.
This is because UV rays – rather than the actual sunlight itself – are what causes skin to tan, and to sunburn.
UV stands for ultraviolet, and it is a type of radiation which is emitted from the sun. There are three types, but only two reach us through the atmosphere – UVA and UVB.
Both can give you a tan, but too much exposure to them can cause sunburn, be overall pretty harmful to the skin, and in some cases can eventually lead to skin cancer.
And these rays can break through the clouds – or at least most of them can.
Don’t ditch the suncream just because it’s gone cloudy (Picture: Getty)
Sunscreen brand Hawaiian Tropic explains: ‘According to research and studies, around 90% of UV rays penetrate clouds, therefore reaching your skin. Even if you can’t feel the sun on your skin, the UV rays that lead to tanning are still present.
‘It is essential to remember that the visible sunlight is not what causes you to tan, but the UV rays that you can’t physically see.’
Wondering if UV levels are high on any given day? Take a look at the Met Office’s UV index.
Can you tan through a window?
Hmm, this one is slightly tougher to determine.
In most houses, a typical double glazing window will block out most of the UVB rays (around 97%). However, this type of glass only shuts out about 37% of UVA rays.
Glass windows do protect from some UV rays, but not all (Picture: Getty)
When it comes to your car window, it will be made in a way to block out the very same amount of UVB and some UVA, too.
As most UVB rays are blocked, it seems a tan from the window is unlikely – but iyou could still damage your skin, if you end up overexposed to UVA rays.
Window company Launa explains how UVA can impact you through glass: ‘Because UVA rays actually range in wavelength, some can get through glass and damage the inner layers of skin. Therefore, long enough exposure to sunlight through a window can cause burning and long-lasting cell damage.’
So, if you’re planning on being in your car for a long sunny drive, or are soaking up the sun in a glass conservatory all day long, then you’ll need to protect your skin from damage with sun cream.
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One last thing
While many love a tan, the NHS says in its sun advice guide: ‘There’s no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan does not protect your skin from the sun’s harmful effects.’
On sunny days, the NHS advises people to stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm, avoid sunburn, and use (at least) factor 30 sunscreen – plus make sure any sunscreen has a UVA star rating of four or five.
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