We’ve all heard the saying that you should wear sun cream (SPF) on your face everyday if you want to slow down the ageing process. Something most of us generally accept and understand, but you can’t help but wonder, even on days when it’s not actually sunny? Well, you can still tan in the shade, so yes, really. We entered summer almost a month ago. Yet it’s only since very recently that we’ve started to see any real summer weather. And there’s no doubt it’s been refreshing to have a break from the grey skies and rain. Although, in this country you know you’re always running on borrowed time.But either way, the return of the UK’s brief annual heatwave – thanks, climate change – means you can actually get some vitamin D and work outside.

It can be easy, however, in the country known for its terrible weather, to completely forget about sun cream. But as it happens, not only should you be lathering up when you’re working in the direct sunlight, but also when you’re sheltering in the shade. Contrary to what you might expect, you can actually catch a tan in the shade. Which means, yep, you can also get sunburnt in the shade.

Wait, you can tan in the shade? | Sun cream should be your bestie

 “Pfft, you can tan in the shade? Yeah right”, I hear you say. But it’s genuinely true, here’s how.

When your skin is exposed to the UVA rays of the sun, it triggers our skin to produce melanin, which is the pigment that when activated gradually develops into a tan. Something it does to protect our skin. These tanning-rays aren’t to be confused with UVB rays, which are the ones that cause sunburn.

But while the UVA rays don’t necessarily cause sunburn, that doesn’t mean they’re not harmful, particularly as the UVA rays actually penetrate below the surface of our skin.

And this is where shade-induced tans come in. Yes, you’re more likely to be exposed to those tanning (and burning) rays when you’re in direct sunlight. However, even when you’re sat in the shade, UVA rays can still reach you if they’re reflected onto you.

This means that technically, your skin can be exposed to UVA rays anywhere. You could be studying in a snow blizzard and still be exposed to them.

Which means even if you’re hiding under a parasol during a Zoom call, you’re probably still going to need some protection if you’re wanting to fend off any sunburn and keep your youthful skin.

Ideally, you should be wearing a sun cream that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. And no, this won’t stop you getting a tan if that’s your goal. It just mitigates the potentially harmful impact of rays.

Ultimately, sun cream’s probably gonna save you down the line, so you can thank us later.