Top 5 Tanning Myths

There's No Need to Worry About Sun Damage on a Cloudy or Cold Day

If you've ever suffered a sunburn after a day on the ski slopes or playing in the snow, you know this myth just isn't true. Ultraviolet rays are still present, even if the skies are cloudy. Some people will stay outside longer if conditions are overcast, and this false sense of safety can lead to painful sunburn.

Snow, water and sand actually reflect 85 percent of the sun's rays, so if you are skiing, boating or spending time on the beach, it's important to wear sunscreen and to reapply it frequently.

Whenever you're going to be outdoors, it's a good habit to follow a sensible plan for sun protection. Be sure to apply sunscreen generously: Use about 1 ounce to cover exposed areas of the body about 30 minutes before heading outdoors, rub it in well, and reapply at least every two hours.

For an even more effective sun protection, head for the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when sunlight is strongest, and cover up with light colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, plus sunglasses that block UV rays.

The result? Younger-looking, healthier skin that will stay attractive for years to come.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • World Health Organization. "Sunbeds, tanning & UV exposure." Fact Sheet No. 287. March 2005.
  • Wickett, Randall R. "How do sunless tanners work?" Scientific American. May 30, 2005.
  • Gohara, Mona and Perez, Maritza. "Skin Cancer and Skin of Color." The Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • Meadows, Michelle. "Don't be in the dark about tanning." FDA Consumer. Vol. 37, November-December 2003.'t Be in the Dark about Tanning


You're Probably Not Putting on Enough Sunscreen

You're Probably Not Putting on Enough Sunscreen

A new study shows people don't apply enough sunscreen. HowStuffWorks looks at what the right amount is and real-world tips for applying it properly.

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