UVA protection
  • Sun & travel

UVA on a cloudy day

Everyone knows it’s important to apply sun lotion on warm, sunny days, but did you know that up to 80% of UVA rays can penetrate through clouds?

By Alexandra Julian

4 Minute read

Everyone knows it’s important to apply sun lotion on warm, sunny days, but did you know that up to 80% of UVA rays[i] can penetrate through clouds?

While your skin may not burn on a cloudy day it still experiences damage. UVB rays that cause burning are mostly blocked by clouds, however UVA rays are able to pass through. 

Shop for broad-spectrum sun lotions

What are UVA rays?

An easy way to remember how each type of UV ray affects your skin is that UVB rays can cause Burning and UVA rays can cause Ageing.

UVA rays have a longer wavelength than UVB rays and are able to pass through clouds and glass. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays account for up to 95%[ii] of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface.

Due to its longer wavelength, UVA radiation penetrates to the deeper layers of the skin (dermal layers). Once there, the rays can trigger free radical activity which affects the living cells beneath the skin’s top layers (epidermal layers) where wrinkles are formed. UVB rays primarily cause skin reddening and usually only affect the top, more superficial epidermal layers of the skin.

The best sunscreens for cloudy days provide broad-spectrum protection that protects against both UVA and UVB sun rays.

How to protect against UVA rays

A 2015 survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society revealed that many people are confused by SPF rating on sun lotions.

Only 8% of people surveyed knew that the SPF rating on a sun lotion only refers to protection against UVB rays.[iii] 

There is an easy way to check whether your sun lotion delivers the recommended level of UVA protection. The European Cosmetics Association COLIPA has designed a symbol to indicate whether products offer UVA protection in line with the recommendations of the European Commission.

uva symbol

To maintain high protection from both UVA and UVB rays it is more important to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly and liberally than to choose a very high SPF sun cream.

The NHS recommends using 6-8 tablespoons of sun cream[iv] to cover the body; it also advises that people should not spent too long in the sun and that they should avoid direct sun exposure between the hours of 11:00 and 15:00 when the sun’s harmful rays are strongest.

Shop sunscreen for cloudy days

Green People’s sunscreens are perfect for cloudy days and sunny alike, and provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. They are gentle, non-irritating and suitable for those prone to eczema and prickly heat.

Choose between SPF15 and SPF30 protection for adults and keep kids safe in the sun with our Organic Children sun cream.


Of our Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30, our customer Kate says:

“Smells amazing, smooth texture, no chemicals - can’t complain at that! It’s not really sun cream weather in the UK yet but I’m a gardener so I wear a little on my face most days for protection against UV rays which are still present on cloudy days!” 

We also offer broad-spectrum facial sun care products including tinted moisturisers with SPF15, an unscented SPF30 day cream and a scented SPF30 day cream for those aged 30+.


Why choose Green People sunscreen?

  • Natural & organic
  • Effective UVA & UVB protection
  • Cruelty-free and reef-safe
  • Gentle on sensitive skin & prickly heat

Browse all Green People sunscreens now. 

Do you have any questions about our organic sun lotions? Please get in touch on social @GreenPeopleUK or you can contact our friendly customer care team at organic@greenpeople.co.uk.



[ii] https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/radiation-ultraviolet-(uv)

[iii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33272420

[iv] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/sunscreen-and-sun-safety/#:~:text=As%20a%20guide%2C%20adults%20should,re%20covering%20your%20entire%20body.

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