Can You Tan When It’s Cloudy? Best Way To Tan

can you tan when it's cloudy

Beauty should reflect from the inside out. The look of bronze is always the center of attention. If I say that tanned skin is always better than pale skin, you won’t argue with me.

During your day off, you decide to soak in the sun to achieve the bronze goddess glow you’ve been dreaming of. However, you cannot control the weather! You see clouds instead of the sun shining brightly.

But have you ever wondered, “Can I tan when it’s cloudy”? The answer is yes. Read on to find out why and how to tan, even when it’s cloudy.

Get to know Tanning

Tanning is the body’s defense against the damaging effects of exposure to the sun. Your skin produces melanin that causes tan. The key, however, lies in understanding that it is not the visible sunlight, but rather the ultraviolet rays that cause you to tan, burn, or develop skin cancer when overexposed.

Sunbathing causes your skin to tan because of exposure to UVA and UVB rays. Through tanning beds and booths, rays of the same intensity are created artificially indoors, giving the desired results in a short time. Protect your skin from these harmful rays with a broad spectrum SPF.

Melanin is a combination of two processes resulting in the beautiful tan color of the skin. In the actual oxidation process, the melanin already presents in the skin results from the absorption of UVA radiation. Melanin is activated in this process, which maintains a constant concentration, thus protecting against sunburn.

UVB radiation is used in the second process. This type of ultraviolet light triggers melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. In this process, your skin doesn’t darken immediately.

Melanin is also produced after a couple of days, so the effects usually become apparent after a few days. It usually takes between a few weeks and months for a tan to develop.

Can You Get a Tan When it’s Cloudy?

can you tan when it's cloudy
Can You Get a Tan When it’s Cloudy

Sunlight is required to produce tanned skin. But what happens when the weather is cloudy? Would you like to know if you can tan on a cloudy day? Well, the answer is yes. Even if it is cloudy, you may still tan.

There is little protection from UV rays in clouds. 90% of the rays pass through the fluffy clouds. On overcast days, you most probably end up with a tan or a burn since you can’t feel the heat or see the light.

This means that you don’t need to postpone your tanning session just because it’s cloudy! When you plan, prepare, and execute properly, even a cloudy day will give you the sun-kissed look.

The intensity of rays depends on the type of cloud, time of day, and altitude. When the grey clouds stop 53% of rays from passing through, the fluffy white clouds only stop 10% of the same.

The intensity of the rays differs according to the type of clouds as well as the time of the day and altitude of the clouds. When the grey clouds block 53% of the sun’s rays, fluffy white clouds block only 10% of the same.

Tan before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm to reduce the chances of getting sunburnt. From midmorning to late afternoon, the sun’s most powerful. Though this might seem like the perfect time to tan, it’s too risky since your skin might burn. For the perfect tan, sun yourself in the early morning or late afternoon. It is important to plan your tanning sessions regardless of the weather conditions.

On a cloudy day, how long does it take to tan?

The sun’s rays will get through the clouds, so your skin will get darker. Tan on a cloudy day by choosing a spot with the least amount of cover and tanning for about 5-10 minutes on each side.

There Are Dangers to Tanning under the Sun

1)  Sunburn

When the skin is damaged by UV exposure, it gets burnt. A red spot may appear right away. Then peeling may follow a few days later. It is temporary and can go away on its own.

However, it can also hurt. Some suggest taking cool baths to soothe it. You might need medical treatment if the sunburn is severe. The skin of those with severe sunburns includes reddish patches. Also, they may experience fever and headache.

While it’s cloudy, it’s really easy to overdo it when in the sun. Even though the sun is still there and your body is still soaking in the sun’s rays, it doesn’t feel like it. Bad sunburns are the result of tanning too long on a cloudy day, so watch out. (Read more about Tanning Bed Rash)

2)  Skin Cancer

Many factors affect the chance of getting skin cancer. Exposure to UV rays can cause it, or it can be inherited. The UV radiation could damage the skin cell’s DNA, causing them to grow abnormally. UV radiation may also weaken the body’s immune system which helps fight cancer cells.

The type and severity of the skin cancer determine the treatment. However, it is better to prevent it from happening. That’s why it’s important to protect your skin when exposed to UV rays.

3)  Solar Keratosis

This skin condition can develop into skin cancer. Watch out for scaly bumps that are rough and raised.

Dermatologists typically treat and remove these with chemical peels or liquid nitrogen.

4)  Premature Aging

Tanning can look great but if you do it often, you could also age faster. Photoaging can lead to wrinkled skin and dark spots. UV radiation damages collagen and elastin, which is one reason why this happens.

This causes the skin to lose elasticity, resulting in folds and wrinkles. Additionally, dark spots may be permanent.

On a cloudy day, what is the best way to attain a beautiful tan?

How to take tan
best way to attain a beautiful tan?

1)  Pick the Right Spot

Even in cloudy weather, it is easy to identify areas with minimal cloud coverage. Even though UV rays can penetrate clouds, tan under less cloudy spots can help you achieve the desired effects more quickly. To avoid burning your skin, you should limit the length of your tanning session.

You should avoid tanning in a spot that has a shadow from a fence, building, or even trees.

2)  Prepare Your Skin

Even during cloudy days, you should prepare your skin in advance once you plan your tanning schedule. Despite the reduction of approximately 10% of UV rays, you will still get a sunburn, especially if you have fair light skin.

When tanning through clouds, I always suggest following the normal pre-tan schedules. It may seem obvious, but here is a quick review of these steps:

  • Exfoliate your skin. Make sure that you tan on fresh skin to ensure a good base tan and long-lasting results. Take a shower the day before the session and gently exfoliate with your favorite natural scrub.
  • Moisturize your skin. Put on a good quality moisturizer after the shower to lock in the moisture and increase the health of your skin. Applying it twice a day is recommended.
  • Always remember to always wear sunscreen before hitting the sun. You will need SPF even if the weather is cloudy when you plan for a tan. Protect your skin and keep it away from the risk of burning.

Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 10 or 15 in all overexposed areas, and reapply as needed.

3)  Tan Wisely

Even during an overcast day, you must tan correctly and efficiently. Don’t just lay anywhere and take a nap!

  • Make sure to choose a spot free from obstructions for a better tan.
  • During cloudy days, it is considered best to tan in the sun before 10 am or after 4 pm. Although some people recommend tanning during peak hours, it is dangerous. As I am promoting healthy tanning, for the sake of your skin always choose before 10 am.

You should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays.  Make sure you use a tanning lotion before your session. The sun’s rays are invisible and also present regardless of the weather, so sunglasses are a MUST.

  • No matter if it’s cloudy outside, you shouldn’t spend much time tanning. Build up the tan slowly. A tan is different from a burn. It means something has gone wrong if your skin is reddish or if you are tired. Move to the shade.
  • For better results switch body positions regularly. Flipping your side, moving your arms and legs will result in even coloring and fewer spots or patches. A session can last between 10 minutes and 20 minutes, depending on your experience.

4)  Ensure You Use a Tanning Lotion Before Your Session

Apply effective and safe tanning lotion to achieve a bronzed look. It can also help your skin tan quicker and keep it moisturized. Choose a tanning lotion that is suitable for your skin tone, then apply it all over your body.

You should use oil rather than lotion to keep your skin moisturized if you have dry skin. Buy a tanning lotion that has a low SPF, since it can give your skin the best protection during tanning. Be sure to follow the directions on the product label correctly.

Even when tanning on a cloudy day, it is not a good idea to apply baby oil as it can speed up the tanning process and cause skin damage.

A sunscreen may slow down tanning, but it can give your skin excellent protection against UVA and UVB rays.

5)  Apply a Tanning Lotion

You can tan quicker with tanning lotions, which help you look bronzed. Keeping your skin moisturized is another benefit. Look for lotions that are labeled to work with your skin tone. Then massage the tanning lotion into your skin before tanning.

  • Lotion and oil work in the same way, but the oil may be more moisturizing if your skin tends to be dry.
  • Read and follow the label to ensure that you are using your product correctly.
  • Some tanning lotions contain a low SPF, such as an SPF 8, that helps protect skin as it tans. With these, you’ll get the darker look you want with less skin damage.
  • You may be more likely to develop skin cancer if you use an indoor tanning lotion outdoors because these lotions are designed to enhance UV rays. Even on a cloudy day, there are more UV rays outdoors than in a tanning bed.

6)  Tanning Method

Tan for 5-10 minutes on each side. Your skin tone will play a role in how long you can lay out. Set a timer to prevent tanning for too long. As soon as the timer dings, turn.

  • If your skin is pale or light, stick to 5 minutes of tanning each side for a total of 20 minutes.
  • The tanning time should be 10 minutes per side for medium or dark skin. This means you will tan for 40 minutes total.
  • If you wear sunscreen, you can spend more time outside. With an SPF 15 sunscreen, you can tan for about one hour in total. Aside from very pale skin that burns easily, this applies to most skin tones.

Take Care of Your Skin After Your Tanning Session

1)  Shower After Tanning

Rinse in the shower to remove sweat, lotion, and grime. If you feel sticky after tanning, rinse off with a cool or warm shower. Use mild soaps or body washes to cleanse lotions, sweat, and dirt from your skin. Pat a clean towel on you after rinsing off the soap.

2)  Moisturizer

After tanning, moisturize your skin to prevent dry skin. Apply a quarter-sized amount of lotion to your hand, then slather it all over your body. Apply the lotion to your skin to help it absorb. If you need more lotion on your hand just add more. Be sure to use one that has natural oils in it. You should avoid applying petroleum jelly after tanning since it tends to lock in excess heat.

3)  Hydrated

Ensure you are hydrated with 12 ounces of water daily. You can dry out your skin with tanning, but water will hydrate you from the inside. The sun is a strong source of dehydration, so you need to be careful not to expose yourself to it.


No matter what the weather is like because UV rays are present, one can obtain a nice tan. You can tan even when it’s cloudy out! Through the clouds, UV rays still penetrate, so you can still tan. With the tips above, you can achieve the desired results quickly.


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