Are you asking yourself the important question: Do clouds block UV rays? Keep reading and learn the answer to your question here.

When it's sunny outside, it's easy to remember to put on sunscreen as you think about the dangers and side effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, many people think that because it's cloudy outside, they don't need to wear sunscreen. That's not the case.

Have you had an outdoor event or activity planned and asked yourself, "Do clouds block UV rays?" In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about the dangers of UV rays and different foods you can eat that protect your skin from sun damage.

What Are UV Rays?

UV radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that comes from man-made sources like welding torches and tanning beds, but also comes from the sun. Radiation refers to the output of energy from any type of source. There are different types of radiation, and UV rays fall in the middle.

There are also different forms of UV rays that are based on how much energy they encompass. Even UV rays with the highest amount of energy aren't powerful to deeply penetrate a person's body. Their main effect is on an individual's skin.

Let's talk about the three different types of UV radiation.

UVA Rays

These have the least amount of energy. They can result in the aging of skin cells. UVA rays can also cause indirect damage to a cell's DNA.

These types of rays are typically linked to skin damage, like fine lines and wrinkles. However, they can sometimes play a role in different types of skin cancers.

UVB Rays

UVB rays tend to have a higher amount of energy than UVA rays. They can directly damage a skin cell's DNA. These rays are the main cause of sunburns and most skin cancers.

UVC Rays

UVC rays have the most amount of energy. Because of that fact, they tend to react with the ozone that's high in our atmosphere. They aren't a risk for sunburns or skin cancer because they never reach the ground.

Keep in mind that UVC rays can also come from different man-made sources. This can include mercury lamps, UV sanitizing bulbs, and welding torches.

How and When Are We Exposed to UV Rays?

Sun UV rays are the main source of radiation. Various forms of UV rays will reach the ground in differing amounts. 95% of the UV rays from the sun are UVA rays and the remaining 5% are UVB rays.

The strength of UV radiation depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Season: UV rays tend to be stronger during the summer and spring months
  • Time: Between 10 AM and 4 PM is when UV rays are the strongest
  • Distance From the Earth's Equator: The farther you go from the equator, the less you're exposed to UV rays
  • Altitude: A higher amount of UV rays will reach the ground when you're at a higher elevation
  • Reflection Off of Surfaces: UV rays will bounce off of water, snow, pavement, and other reflective surfaces, causing you to be exposed to more UV rays

The amount of exposure a person can get to UV rays also depends on how long their skin is exposed to them, and whether or not they're wearing sunscreen or protective clothing. Another factor that plays a part in how much a person is exposed to UV rays is clouds.

Do Clouds Block UV Rays?

Clouds can increase or reduce the amount of UV levels a person is exposed to. Some things to consider about clouds and UV rays include:

  • The cloud's thickness
  • The type of cloud
  • Where it is in the atmosphere

If you're dealing with an overcast day that's comprised of thin clouds, UV radiation can easily penetrate through them. You'll still be exposed to high levels of UV rays at the ground level.

Sometimes UV rays will reflect off the edge of a cloud. This will intensify the level of UV rays you're exposed to.

If you're going outside on a partially cloudy day, it can be misleading. You may think you're protected from UV rays when you're in fact encountering stronger UV rays. If the sky is extremely overcast and filled with thick clouds, it can block up to 70 to 90% of UV rays.

On a cloudy day, the sun might not feel as hot or intense as it does when the sky is clear. Some people may neglect to put on or reapply sunscreen because they don't feel the sun's heat. UV rays are still doing damage to your skin, even if you don't feel the sun.

Regardless of how many clouds there are in the sky, it's still important to protect your skin. Depending upon the type of activity you're doing, you can protect yourself with sunscreen and different types of protective clothing.

Foods That Protect Your Skin From UV Rays

There are a variety of foods that are good for the skin. Different things you eat can have an effect on your skin's response to exposure to the sun.

When you consume foods that are good for the skin, you should enjoy them raw whenever you can. This helps you benefit from the food's bioactive nutrients. The foods below will help protect you from sun damage and help sunburned skin heal.

These foods include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Guava
  • Strawberries
  • Oatmeal
  • Green tea
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes

You don't even have to eat any of the above foods or drinks. You can use them topically to enjoy their skin-healthy benefits as well.

Each of the foods contains various nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that help soothe and protect your skin.

Protect Your Skin From Harmful UV Rays

You should have a clear answer to the question, "Do clouds block UV rays?" Especially if it's a partly cloudy day, it's vital to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

To explore our full selection of sun-protective clothing, visit our online shop

January 13, 2023 — Gabriella Lowell