Sun Protection Goes High Tech

future-ahead-signIf you have been reading my blog posts for any amount of time, whether it has been for years or even for the last few days, you know how much I preach about sunscreen use to protect your skin.  This is especially important both for after you have spent good money repairing old sun damage, and for trying to prevent future injury.

I join the unanimous opinion of skin care professionals by recommending the use of sunscreen daily with at least SPF 30.  Also, as I have stated before, sunscreen is to be used every day you plan to go outside, not just on sunny summer days.

Now there are even fewer excuses than ever to forget your sunscreen.  I have read several articles lately about new technological innovations that will help people actively monitor their sun exposure and encourage them to use the appropriate amounts of sun protection.  These technologies are not available to purchase yet, but rest assured they will be very soon.


L’Oreal’s My UV Patch

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, L’Oreal introduced a skin sensor called My UV Patch, which can be placed anywhere on your exposed skin and changes in color and symbols as you get more exposed to the sun.  What makes this patch more tech oriented is that it also works with a mobile app that can even give the user an accurate reading of UV exposure.

At the same show, Netatmo, an European company, introduced a wearable band that looks like a piece of jewelry and tracks your UV exposure.  Similar to a Fitbit or other fitness bands, this device has a USB port for charging and is embedded with a UV sensor.


Netatmo’s wearable UV bracelet, along with its smart phone app.

While this band measures your UV exposure throughout the day, information is sent to an app via Bluetooth.  The app will make recommendations to you about applying more sunscreen or removing yourself from the direct sun.

Interestingly, when you start the app on your phone, you will be asked questions about your eye color, hair color, and your skin type.  The app will also adjust its recommendations based on your location, predicting that you will need sun protection sooner if you are travelling in the Caribbean rather than spending a snowy day in a Maine winter.

If you don’t want to buy another device, there are iTunes apps being developed that will factor in the date, time of day. your location, and skin type.  Using that information, the app will calculate how long you should stay in the sun. This app will also include built-in alarms that will remind you when to reapply your sunscreen after periods of time in the sun.

hello_sunshineLike lots of things in the tech industry, you can be sure that more innovations will follow in an exponential fashion, especially in this area of skin and health care.  Since many of us already wear fitness bands and/or Apple watches, I would bet that UV-detection technology will be added to these devices soon either as apps or in newer versions.

The bottom line is still the bottom line in that all the tech gadgets in the world will be worthless if you are not already sun smart by using sunscreen, hats, visors, or umbrellas as needed.  So, as the weather improves and you are outside more, have fun in the sun, but be smart and protect your largest organ: your skin.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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