Is It Possible to Tan in the Shade? Here is a Simple Guide

Even when someone is in the shade or it is an overcast day, they may not be completely protected from getting a tan.

Yes, it is possible to tan in the shade. Although the degree of tanning may vary depending on how much shade you are in, even if you are seated in the shade of an umbrella, you can still acquire a tan.

Are you curious about getting a tan while in the shade? Do you want to know how to tan in the shade without burning? 

Read on to understand all you need to know about tanning while in the shade and how it works.

Tan in the Shade For What Reason?

Understanding how the process of tanning in the shade works is important now that you have determined the answer to the question.

Even when you are in the shade, the UV rays of the sun can still reach you due to their reflection off other objects in the surrounding environment. 

Such as snow or sand. This is one of the major contributors to tanning even when you are not exposed to direct sunlight.

Even though you may be sheltered by a structure, tree, or umbrella, your skin can still be exposed to damaging UV rays. 

Any reflective surfaces nearby, such as mirrors, may also reflect sunlight onto your skin.

In short, even though shade can reduce the amount of tanning, it is not completely effective. 

The amount of tanning you get is largely dependent on the type of shade you are under, meaning no shade offers total protection.

There are multiple umbrellas and tents available for the beach that allow UVB rays to come through and reach you. 

Unfortunately, these rays can cause skin damage such as tanning and even sunburns.

In order to ascertain the amount of protection you might receive from an umbrella, you must evaluate the UPF rating of the item before bringing it to the beach.

UV Rays: What Are They?

If you are considering getting a tan naturally, especially when in the shade of a structure or tent, it is essential to be aware of UV radiation and what kind of UV can give you a tan. Ultraviolet light or UV is a type of energy.

UV radiation is an electromagnetic radiation that is typically longer than x-rays, but shorter than visible light. It is mostly present in sunlight.

  • UVA:

UVA rays have the longest wavelength amongst the different kinds of UV radiation. Despite their abundance, their potency is not very strong.

Radiation can travel through the air and even penetrate the middle layers of skin. It can even pass through car windows and clouds, making its way to one’s skin.

  • UVB:

UVA rays have a longer wavelength than UVB. The majority of UVB radiation is blocked by the earth’s ozone layer. 

However, those rays that do pass through the ozone layer can penetrate the outermost layer of the skin.

If you’re curious which type of ultraviolet radiation causes sunburn, the answer is UVB. It is the second most powerful ultraviolet ray and can be the cause of sunburns.

  • UVC:

UVC rays, having the shortest wavelength, are fully blocked by the ozone layer, thus providing beneficial protection to our skin from potential harm.

UV radiation can produce tanning through two pathways. The first is when UVA radiation generates oxidative stress, resulting in the deepening of melanin. 

The second method is when UVB radiation stimulates the skin cells that generate melanin, resulting in tanning.

Every Shade Is Equal, Right?

Not all types of shade provide the same amount of protection from UV radiation; a building’s roof offers more coverage than a beach umbrella or tent.

Due to the fact that some of the sun’s rays are still able to pass through the material used in most sun protection products.

While shade cloths and umbrellas may provide a better level of protection than standing in direct sunlight, they may not offer the necessary safeguards.

Wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen are necessary to shield your skin from the damaging UV rays and prevent sunburn.

In the Shade, How Can You Tan Safely?

If you’re aiming for a naturally sun-kissed complexion, you don’t have to spend time in direct sunlight to achieve that. 

It is possible to tan even if you are in the shade. Furthermore, you can also get a tan through clouds.

To ensure your skin is protected from the damaging effects of UV rays, it is important to take certain measures while tanning in a shaded area

Here are a few effective tips to keep in mind: use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, limit your exposure time, and seek shade whenever possible.

Skin Preparation:

Prior to sunning yourself outside, it is important to prepare your skin. Regardless if you are trying to achieve a natural tan in the shade or on a cloudy day, make sure to exfoliate your skin thoroughly. 

This will help slough off any dead skin cells and provide a good foundation for your tan, making it last longer.

To maintain healthy skin and protect it from harmful UV rays, it is important to exfoliate and then moisturize your skin well to keep it hydrated.

Apply Sunscreen:

Relaxing in the shade does not mean you do not need to apply sunscreen. Despite being sheltered, UV rays can still be reflected off nearby surfaces and cause harm to your skin.

To ensure your skin is fully safeguarded against UV rays, use a sunscreen with a SPF of 10 or 15, and reapply it every two hours for optimum protection.

Even on cloudy days, it is still possible to tan. However, it is essential to remember to wear sunscreen, regardless of the amount of sunlight.

Sunglasses Should Be Worn:

The sun’s rays, be they direct or indirect, may cause harm to the cornea of your eyes. To protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, it is a good idea to wear sunglasses, even if you are sitting in the shade of an umbrella. 

This can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration, as well as minimizing damage to the eyes.

Wearing sunglasses can help shield your eyes from UVA and UVB radiation, which can reduce the thinning of protective pigments and minimize the risk of oxidative stress and radical damage from extended exposure to sunlight.

Continually Change Your Position:

When you’re out in the sun to get a tan, it can be easy to forget to change your position. To ensure you get an even tan.

It’s important to change up your body position every 10-20 minutes. This could mean shifting your legs and arms, or flipping over to the other side.

A timer can be used to help you remember to rotate your position. If your skin is fair-toned, five minutes of tanning on each side is optimal, but for darker or medium complexions, ten minutes can be beneficial.

Get Your Tan Scheduled:

Sunburn risks can be minimized by scheduling outdoor tanning sessions either before 10 am or after 4 pm. 

For those wanting to get a darker tan quicker, the peak hours of 11am-1pm are the best times to tan outside. 

However, it is important to note that skin damage is more likely to occur during these hours, so one should limit the amount of time spent tanning outside during these hours.


Is it Possible to Tan in the Shade? 

Yes, it is possible to tan in the shade but you must take extra precautions to protect your skin. Avoid tanning during peak hours of 11am-1pm, when UV rays are the strongest.

What Are the Best Times to Tan Outside Safely?

The best times to tan safely outside are before 10 am or after 4 pm.

Can I Tan Darker And Faster Outside During the Peak Hours?

You can tan darker and faster outside during the peak hours. However, these hours are when UV rays are the strongest and you are more prone to skin damage. 

How Long Can I Tan Outside Safely?

It is best to limit your time outside while tanning to prevent sunburn. Consider taking regular breaks in the shade to protect your skin. 

What Extra Precautions Should I Take When Tanning in the Shade?

When tanning in the shade, you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Additionally, you should wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.


It is possible to tan in the shade, although the degree of tanning may not be as pronounced as when exposed to direct sunlight. 

The reflection of the UV rays off other objects can still cause a tan, so it is important to be mindful of your exposure and use sunscreen. 

With the right precautions, you can enjoy a safe and healthy tan regardless of the amount of shade you are in.

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