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The sunshine of my life

SunshineLeigh & I are having a bet. Fight. Argument. Disagreement – whatever, and we need your help to try and clear this one up.

If sun rays are shining through a window into your house, and you’re lying down with that sun falling onto your face – can you get a sun tan?

I’m not going to say who is who, but one of us believes that you CAN get a sun tan from doing this, and one of us believes that you CAN’T (because the UV rays get filtered out by the glass).

So without looking it up, or googling it, or anything … what’s your opinion off the top of your head : Can you get a sun tan through a window?

45 responses to “The sunshine of my life”

  1. Garion Allen says:

    To be honest, I’m not sure. I have never given it much thought. It is possible to get a tan through a window as the UV light can pass through the glass. Although the glass blocks about 80% of the UV rays, some do get through. Therefore, it is possible to get a tan, although it will take a lot longer than having no glass.

  2. Heather says:

    Some UV rays get through. That being said I lay, sit, enjoy sunbeams through the window every chance I get and have never gotten burnt that way. That’s coming from a fair skinned red head.

  3. Stewart says:

    Sunburn? Not in my experience, and I’m a fair-skinned blond.

    Skin damage? Well…

  4. geofftech says:

    Dammit. I can see this is not going to be a clear-cut ‘yes’ or ‘no’ type answer isn’t it? which doesn’t really resolve the bet! Oops.

  5. Fimb says:

    I got sunburnt through my car windows last summer, and that was with factor 40 on.

    and there was very recently a report about people that drive alot being higher risk for skin cancer.

    So, my answer would be yes, you can.

  6. Paul says:

    No you can’t. I had some glasses that darkened down in the sun (Reaction lenses). When I was in the car they never went down much to my annoyance. A firm NO!

  7. Slighty, possibly. I should imagine that most of the UV rays will be stopped by the window. Dependant on the glass. And whether the window is open.

    Do you want to know whether you’ll get more of a suntan if you walk or run home?

  8. (5) – No. It’s a Yes. A not much, but a yes, nonetheless.

  9. geofftech says:

    Yes, but if it’s a ‘20% yes’ then surely the ‘losing’ person between us (still not saying who), will feel obligated to only do one fifth of the forfeit for being ‘wrong’ in the bet. Or something.

  10. Ross says:

    Yes – the UV rays that “fade fabrics” are exactly the same that will give you a tan….
    Certainly not as strong as being in direct sunlight, but eventually you would get burnt.

  11. For someone so ensconsced in the digital world, you’re being remarkably analogue about all this, Geoff.

    Did it snow here last night? Yes. Only a little bit, but Yes, nonetheless. If I’d been betting it wouldn’t, I’d still be obliged to pay up, even thought it had melted so much that by lunchtime there was barely enough for an office snowball fight.

  12. Babbie says:

    I have never gotten sunburned through the window of a house (that I can remember), but I certainly have gotten sunburned through the windows of a car, several times. And yes, I am fair-skinned. On summer car trips I always wear sunblock, especially on my arms. Maybe if the car has dark-tinted windows, it’s not as much of a problem.

  13. geofftech says:

    well the ‘argument’ revolved around the fact that one of us (still not saying who!) had been lying down for about 30 minutes, and that the person who was lying down argue that they’d probably got tanned during that time.

    the other person disagreed saying that no-way in 30 minutes of ‘tanning’ time through a pane of glass could that person have caught a tan. in direct sunlight – maybe, but through glass – no way.

    so now where do we stand?

  14. Leanne says:

    Yes, absolutely. Come and live in NZ and you will experience this everyday you go out in the car in the summer and get sun on your hands or face.

  15. beth says:

    Yes, you can. Though a tan would be unlikely in 30 minutes, unless it was a really large window with direct sunlight coming through. One of my friends has a white cat whose ears keep getting burned from sitting in the window too long.

    Glass does not automatically filter UV light unless it is specially treated to do so. That’s why it’s more expensive to frame artwork behind UV protective glass.

  16. Joshua Curry says:

    You might get a nice blush from being seen naked in the sunlight.

  17. Johnny Alpha says:


    Mmmm, curry.

  18. geofftech says:

    i’d like to point out that i’m meeting Josh for lunch on Friday … but we’re not having curry.

    there was no nakedness involved. honest.

  19. Bob H says:

    I know you wanted to avoid Google, but Google is a life skill and no one should deliberately deny themselves of information in an arguement.

    The answer seems to be much gets blocked and some doesn’t. So could you get a tan? It depends on who was tanning, if it was someone who tans instantly then yes, if it wasn’t then whats less than 20% of 30min sun time worth for a tan?


  20. Seeing as we’re all (except Geoff, strangely) agreed that the answer is Yes, we should now start trying to establish who was the potential tannee.

    I say it’s Leigh, doing the lounging, and Geoff believing that tanning through a window isn’t possible.

  21. Mikey says:

    I have got sunburnt through the car window before, so yes

  22. Chz says:

    Of course you can. Regular glass windows have a negligible effect on UV rays.

    Most modern cars have a front windscreen that’s UV-resistant, however the side windows frequently aren’t and you can still get burned that way.

  23. zuzula says:

    yeah, i’m with the car people – i definitely end up with one forearm browner than the other after a long drive in the summer!

  24. ClaphamCommuter says:

    Not much chance of getting a tan in London at the moment, Geoff, I think you’ve forgotten about England in the winter already: Dark mornings, cold, wet, etc. I declare you have become Americanised

  25. geofftech says:

    The answer would appear to be ‘yes’, but obviously not as much as if you were sat in direct sunlight – the debate would then be exactly how much is filtered out by the glass and how much gets thorough. But technically, the answer is ‘yes’ – no arguments from me!

    Is it still snowing in England then? Nice sunny day here… 🙂

  26. Mikey says:

    No snow today. Rather pitiful to be honest

  27. beth says:

    still waiting to hear who was the tanner in the argument…

  28. geofftech says:

    well the loser had to agree to buy the other one valentines dinner next Wednesday. but seeing as i was going to be chivalrous and do that anyway, i haven’t really “lost” 🙂

    (yes, i argued that due to glass blocking out the majority of UV rays, you can’t tan thru a window)

  29. Fimb says:

    #7 – my react-o-light (or however it was spelt) sunglasses always changed fine in a car. I’ve had 3 pairs as driving sunglasses over the years.

  30. Garion Allen says:

    Was snowing here today! I had another day off from college. I went to the park with my girlfriend and had fin in the snow 😛

  31. Martin says:

    It depends on your glass. Glass isn’t that transparent to UV anyway but you can buy windows which specifically block it. Its useful to keep the sun off furniture and the like if you live somewhere like the South West (of the US) where you get 300+ days of sunshine a year. So check the glass — if you’ve got modern double glazed windows with slightly off-color glass in them then you’re OK, otherwise prepare to cook.

  32. Mikey says:

    AGGHHHHHH….New banner, and email addy font

  33. Pretty much any glass will block the shorter wavelength (and more harmfull) UB-V rays. The UV-A will be very significantly attenuated, so will be like a high-factor suncream – you might get a tan but it will take a very long time.
    I have to say the feeling of warm sun through a window when lying in bed has a massive feel-good factor though!

  34. geofftech says:

    #33! Indeed… decided that 2007 needed an upgrade. and i’m trying to improve my CSS skills with the new menus… do you like it? (bearing in mind that i’ll be improving on it still all weekend, so don’t judge me until monday)

  35. I’m sure you can tan through glass, the way you can tan through water…. (and why has no-one else mentioned water?!) ~x~

  36. geofftech says:

    So when you’re swimming underwater (say, snorkelling), you can still get a tan?

  37. Dundee Colin says:

    Strangely enough the BBC website had this recently – might be helpful?

  38. Leigh says:

    Looks like Valentine’s Dinner’s on you, Geoff!
    At least I’ll look stunning with my new sun tan! 🙂

  39. leigh says:

    Thanks for dinner, Geoff! That was great!!!

  40. nikki says:

    My dad drove lorrys for 30years and always got a really dark tan through the glass so i would definatley say yes.

  41. uhuqly says:

    Cliff flexed his ample shaft crushedagainst the violent videos de travestis gratis youngwoman.

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