Can you get sunburnt through glass?

Can you get sunburnt through glass?

With summer on the horizon, we’ve been pondering some of the big questions like…


  • Can you get sunburnt through glass?
  • Why can you still get sunburnt even when it isn’t hot?
  • Is SPF30 sunscreen better than SPF50?

Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays cause sunburn. Normal glass that you find in most windows blocks out almost all UVB rays. But they don’t block out Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays which have also been linked to skin cancer and wrinkles. Bottom line – it still pays to wear sunscreen and don’t spend too much time next to the window when the sun’s out!

It’s UV, not the sun’s heat, which causes sunburn. UV cannot be seen or felt. So even if there isn’t much sunshine and it doesn’t feel hot there can still be high UV which is why you can get sunburnt.

Here’s something interesting: SPF30 and SPF50 sunscreens provide similar UVB protection - about 97% of UVB is blocked if you slap on the sunscreen properly. An SPF30 sunscreen blocks 96.7% of UV and an SPF50 sunscreen blocks 98% of UV. It’s a close call!


Did you know?

You can claim on selected UV products with our extras cover. If you have basic, lifestyle, family or super extras, you can claim (up to your limits) on UV product purchases (sunscreen, swimwear, hats and sunglasses) from the Cancer Council. Your receipt just needs to identify the item as Cancer Council approved.

Don’t have extras cover or want to change? Check out our extras