All-Weather Sun Protection: Can You Get Sunburned on Cloudy Days?

All-Weather Sun Protection: Can You Get Sunburned on Cloudy Days?

Regardless of the season, we’re all at risk of sunburn and developing other sun-related damage, so sun safety is relevant to everyone. Have you ever wondered if you can get sunburned on cloudy days? The answer may surprise you.

Sun protection isn’t just for summer. We’re here to cover some of the most important aspects of sun protection in cloudy weather so you can stay safe from the sun year-round. Read on to learn more about UV rays and how you can best avoid sunburn.

UPF clothing isn't just for the beach. Explore our UPF 50+ apparel and accessories for non-stop sun protection.

Do Clouds Block UV Rays?

Before we find out if you can get sunburned through clouds, let’s cover the definition of UV rays and the three different types. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are invisible light rays emitted from the sun and are broken down into three groups based on the wavelength measured in nanometers (nm).

  • Ultraviolet A (UVA): long wavelength rays (315 to 400 nm) that are less intense but penetrate deep into the skin and cause tanning. UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and wrinkles by breaking down collagen fibers.
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB): medium wavelength rays (280 to 315 nm) that penetrate only the superficial layers of the skin. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and are more intense and harmful to the skin’s DNA.
  • Ultraviolet C (UVC): short wavelength rays (100 to 280 nm) that are completely absorbed by the ozone layer, so they don’t reach your skin.

Can You Get Sunburned on a Cloudy Day?

Now that we understand what UV rays are, and the differences between the three types, can you still get sunburned on a cloudy day? The answer is yes–you can get sunburned on a cloudy day. In fact, clouds only block 10% of the sun’s rays, meaning up to 90% of UVA/UVB rays can reach your skin depending on the type and extent of cloud coverage.

Sun through clouds can be more dangerous because you might not realize you’re being exposed and may not take the necessary precautions. A few telltale signs of a cloudy day sunburn are skin sensitivity, warmth, irritation and itching.

  • UV rays can travel through clouds
  • Level of absorption depends on cloud type
  • Sunburn when cloudy can be even more harmful because you might not expect it

Can You Get Sunburned on a Stormy Day?

Regardless of the time of year, the sun’s rays can cause lasting damage to your skin. UV rays on cloudy days and stormy days can be just as likely to cause sunburn as UV rays in the heat of summer. Our skin can absorb UV rays directly from the sun, and indirectly through the reflection of water, sand, concrete and fresh snow. To avoid overcast sunburn, wear UPF 50+ clothing, keep a sun hat on hand and incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine.

  • UV exposure is increased by certain surfaces like sand and snow
  • Sunburns can happen in any season, even winter
  • Prevent sunburn by wearing both UPF 50+ clothing and accessories and SPF

Find more great sun-safe tips and advice from our team of experts in our blog.

How to Avoid Getting a Sunburn on a Cloudy Day

Avoiding sunburn on cloudy days doesn’t have to be complicated. Making a few small habit shifts can significantly impact your overall skin health.

UPF 50+ Clothing

One of the simplest ways to avoid sunburn on a cloudy day is to keep your skin adequately covered with UPF 50+ clothing and accessories. When it comes to using clothing as sun protection, not all garments protect from sun damage. Search for the highest quality, rigorously tested UPF 50+ clothing that never washes out.

With Coolibar, you can be 100% certain that our technical and elegant fabrics will provide you with the highest level of coverage and quality year-round. Check out some of our favorites for you and your family below.

Sun Hats

You’re likely used to wearing sun hats at the beach or on the golf course in the summer, but wearing hats in cloudy, stormy or snowy weather is just as important. Look for sun hats with a brim of at least 3 inches to protect the delicate skin around your eyes and forehead. Coolibar offers a variety of seasonless styles and colors for any outdoor activity. Shop some of our most popular sun hats below!


Most people own umbrellas to stay dry in the rain, but what about sun umbrellas? They can be incredibly useful to create shade from harmful UV rays at the beach, golf course or on your patio. Their intelligent design makes transport a breeze. Take a look at our top sellers below.


Whether you're planning a long beach day or a ski trip in the mountains, wearing sunscreen daily is one of the most important ways to protect your skin from the sun. Sunscreen is most effective when incorporated into your daily routine, so you’re covered no matter the season.

When shopping for sunscreens, look for a broad spectrum for coverage against UVA and UVB rays. If you aren't sure what level of protection to go for, take some time to learn what SPF ratings really mean and which is best for you.

Explore more of our highest rated UPF 50+ clothing and accessories for men, women and kids!

Protect Your Skin in Any Weather with Coolibar UPF 50+ Clothing

Sunny, snowy, cloudy, stormy–keep your skin protected in all conditions and seasons. The sun’s rays are sneaky and can reach you through clouds and even when you’re indoors. Coolibar is not only the world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology but also the first clothing company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation for safe and effective sun protection.

Browse our blog for the latest sun safety tips and recommendations from our team of sun pros, and shop our collection of new arrivals!


About Coolibar

For more than 20 years, Coolibar (koo-luh-bar) has stopped at nothing to develop the most technical and elegant sun protective clothing, hats and accessories. The world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology.