Ask Storm Team 11: Can you still get a sunburn on a cloudy day?


Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question: “Is it true I can still get a sunburn when it’s cloudy?”


There are two types of ultraviolet rays that reach the surface: UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays can damage your skin and cause wrinkles. They account for most of the ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface.

The earth’s atmosphere blocks a majority of the UVB rays, but some can still get through. These are more harmful. They not only cause sunburn but increase your risk of skin cancer.

Even when it’s cloudy, 80 percent of the sun’s rays still make it to the surface and reach your skin. It just may not seem as obvious because you’re not getting direct sunlight.

So don’t let up on the sunscreen just because clouds pass overhead. This goes for people even with darker skin.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapplying it least every 2 hours.

If you’re near water or sand, be even more careful as these can reflect even more of the sun’s rays, even when it’s cloudy.  

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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