If you’re determined to get bronzed, a cloudy day doesn’t have to ruin your plans. In fact, 87 percent of the sun’s rays penetrate clouds, fog, or mist. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation—the rays from the sun that give you tans and sunburns—is invisible to the human eye. After spending time outside, though, you’ll see the effect of the UV rays on your skin—even if it’s overcast.

Things You'll Need

Decide whether the health risks are worth the appearance of a tan, which, like sunburn, is a form of skin damage. Sun exposure increases your risk for skin cancer, premature aging, and eye damage.

Wear sunglasses that provide 100-percent UVA and UVB protection. Don’t assume that dark lenses do the trick; the darkness of the lens isn’t related to its ability to shield from UV rays.

Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to all areas of exposed skin. You’ll tan more slowly, but you’ll also avoid sunburns. Reapply every two hours.

Wait up to 48 hours for your tan to develop. In an attempt to protect itself, your skin continues to produce melanin for up to two days after exposure to UV rays, so the color won’t show immediately.


  • Consider using tanning lotions or sprays for a safer tan.