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Brenna Gray

New UV Wearable Sticker & App Indicate Level of Sun Exposure

Redheads, this is revolutionary

By: Brenna Gray

As natural redheads, we will try almost anything to prevent sun damage. Sunscreen is a must, but how do you really know when to reapply?

We’ve all been there; you slather on the SPF and hours later you still end up with a burn because you forgot to lather some more on. Those days are numbered and our dreams might finally be coming true.

What Exactly Is The “MY UV PATCH”?

Recently, L’Oreal Paris‘ leading dermatological skincare brand, La Roche-Posay, developed a new way to protect yourself from those pesky ultraviolet (UV) rays. It comes in the form of a tiny, heart-shaped, electronic sticker. L’Oreal Paris claims that the patch, dubbed “My UV Patch,” fights against sun damage by monitoring UV exposure and help consumers educate themselves about sun protection. It was introduced at the beginning of January 2016 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This new technology comes at a time when sun exposure has become a major health issue. As you know, we talk about sun protection a lot on How to be a Redhead because redheads are at high risk. Ninety-percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun in addition to attributing to skin pigmentation and photo-aging. We all want to look younger as we age, am I right ladies?

READ: How to Stay Melanoma Free If You’re a Redhead

According to L’Oreal, the device is extremely thin–only 50 micrometers–which is half the thickness of a strand of hair (or thinner than what we actually think because red hair is actually thicker than the average strand of hair). It’s approximately one square inch in area and was designed to be thin, comfortable and virtually weightless so that people would actually wear it. Compared to other previous technologies currently on the market, this one is not rigid and is stretchable. The patch contains photosensitive dyes that factor in the baseline skin tone and change colors when exposed to UV rays to indicate levels of sun exposure.

The App

Here’s where an app comes in too.

The wearer of the sticker will be able to take a picture of the patch and upload it to the soon-to-be-released La Roche-Posay My UV Patch mobile app, which analyzes the varying photosensitive dye squares to determine the amount of UV exposure the wearer has received. The app will be available on both iOS and Android.

What People Are Saying

Dr. Barney Kenet, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, told ABC News, “I think it’s great. This falls in the category of photo protection and it’s another tool to help the general public enjoy the sun safely.” Kenet went on to say that it is important that people wear the patch on a part of their skin that is most exposed to the sun, such as the face, lower neck and back of hands.

Kenet criticized the color choice and said some people may not want to wear a blue heart on their face, but maybe one day a more cosmetically pleasing device will hit the market, such as a clear patch.

Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of L’Oreal’s Technology Incubator says, “We’re excited to be the first beauty company entering the stretchable electronics field and to explore the many potential applications for this technology within our industry and beyond.”

If this doesn’t make a redhead excited about the future of beauty, I don’t know what will.

Even if these wearable UV devices become popular, we must not avoid basic sun care rules such as continuing to wear sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight during the sunniest parts of the day. These devices don’t act as sunscreen, but rather indicate how much sun exposure the wearer is getting. La Roche-Posay recently did a global study in 23 countries, which surveyed 19,000 women and men and found a huge gap in consumer behavior: even though 92% were aware that unprotected sun exposure can cause health problems, only 26% of Americans protect themselves all year round for whatever reason. Hopefully, with technology like the My UV Patch, we will see a true behavioral change through using cool, leveraging technology and real-time knowledge.

When Can Redheads Start Using It?

My UV Patch and the app is expected to be made available to consumers later this year.

Rock it like a Redhead!