Can You Tan Through Glass?

American adults and teenagers aspire to have a sun-kissed look. However, there is an increase in cases of skin cancer. Premature aging is also caused by tanning and excess exposure to the sun. Some people claim that it is impossible to tan or get skin burnt through window glass.

Can You Tan Through Glass?

Yes, you can. Glass can filter out most of the UVB rays which cause sunburn and even damage the DNA. Yet, it still allows the UVA and visible light to pass. UVA can also cause people to tan, but at a much slower rate, as compared to UVB. However, if you are exposed to UVA for a long time, it can cause burn.

It was believed that UVA was not very bad, yet that is not the case. UVB damages the DNA directly while UVA increases oxidation causing indirect damage to the DNA. Extended exposure to UVA is associated with malignant melanoma which is the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Type of Glass Matters

The type of glass filtering the light also matters. Seventy percent of UVA radiation is transmitted through regular glass. Laminated or green colored glass is capable of blocking UVA completely. For this reason, wines and olive oil is available in green glass. UVA exposure is also reduced by tinted car windows.

What Else Can You Tan Through?

1. Clothing

A white T-shirt has an SPF level of seven, and it goes down to three when it gets wet. So it is not a good sunscreen. To check if a piece of clothing can protect your skin, you should hold it against the sun. If it is seen through, UV radiation also can penetrate through it. Sunscreen lotion needs to be applied beneath the clothes and you can wear hats with a wide brim to protect the face. SPF treated clothes are available and laundry aid can be used which blocks 96 % of UV rays.

2. Water

When you wonder “can you tan through glass”, it might be possible to tan through water as well. Swimming, water fitness routine or being in a pool or lake can tan your skin. Depending on the type of water a person is in, the appearance of the underwater tan differs. It is easy to get tanned in a clear water body like an ocean or a chlorinated pool. However, when the water is murky, like a pond or a lake, the tanning is more difficult.

What Are the Ways for Safe Tanning?

So if you can tan through glass, is there any safe method of tanning? The tips below can be followed to get sun-kissed glow but not get sun burns.

1. Limit Your Exposure

Without sunscreen, you can go out in the sun for around 20 minutes. If the exposure time is longer, sunscreen must be applied. Exposure to sun should be avoided between 10 am to 3 pm. If you have been exposed to sun, time should be given for your skin to heal before going out in the sun again.

2. Sunscreen Is a Must

The two most important ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The higher SPF lever, the better protection it can provide, but there are no benefits proved so far for a sunscreen with a SPF level over 30.

Apply sunscreen generously. The FDA has prescribed that the amount of sunscreen applied should be 2 mg/cm² to all the skin that is exposed to the sun. Sunscreen should be applied half an hour prior to exposure to sun and then reapplied every two hours. UV wristband can be worn, which monitors when you need to reapply the sunscreen by changing color.

3. Wear Sunglasses and a Hat

UV rays are harmful to the eyes and the skin around them. If proper care is not taken, it can cause cataract as well. Ninety nine percent of UV rays are blocked by glasses which have a label of “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Meets ANSI UV requirements”. The glasses which have a large frame protect the eyes from light coming from different directions. A wide brimmed hat is good choice to protect the face and scalp.

4. Opt for a Bronzer

If you do not want to risk damaging the skin, you can use a bronzer. It gives similar results without the risks of skin cancer. They are safe since they are only topically applied and not absorbed in the skin.

Other Myths about Sunlight and Tanning

Since you get the answer to “can you tan through glass”, there are some myths about tanning that you may need to pay attention to.

Myth 1: Suntan is fine as long as you don’t get sunburn.

Sunburn doubles the chances of getting melanoma, but kids can be at risk of getting it even without having sunburns. As the amount of sun exposure increases, the chances of developing skin cancer increases. A tan is an indication of skin damage.

Myth 2: Sun can be blocked by a beach umbrella.

This is not a fool proof method to prevent UV rays. Seventeen percent of radiation is reflected by sand as well, to which we are exposed. However, it makes sense to be under shade during peak sun shine and apply sunscreen.

Myth 3: Sunscreen is not required when it is cool or cloudy.

Clouds pass around eighty percent of UV rays and, hence when people spend a lot of time outdoors on a cloudy day without any form of sun protection, they get serious sunburns.

Myth 4: Tanning can defend and protect itself from more damage caused due to UV radiation.

When white skin is tanned, it gives the protection of only SPF 4. Tanned skin is not healthier than non-tanned skin, even if it looks more beautiful. Skin which has sunburn is at risk of developing skin cancer, wrinkles, freckles and premature aging. Tanning beds and being exposed to the sun for long time causes lasting damage to the skin, especially people who are fair-skinned.