In late June, skincare brand La Roche-Posay are launching something quite brilliant, especially if you’ve always been interested to know just how much UV exposure your skin is getting. (I realise that’s quite a niche interest, but there are lots of skin and beauty obsessives here so it’s not too far-fetched!) Being an annoyingly cynical sort of person, I have always wondered how much SPF I really need to apply when I’m here in the UK. And I don’t mean on a blazing hot day – it’s obvious, I think, to most of us, that when the sun is glaring down and you’re forced to put your sunglasses on your skin needs to be protected. No, I’m talking about your confusing overcast-then-slightly-sunny-but-also-cool-enough-to-wear-a-jacket kind of day. The typical British summer’s day or a nice spring day, or even a winter’s day when you’re going to be gadding around outdoors a bit. What then? How high is your exposure to UV, really?
So La Roche-Posay’s new UV Patch is of great interest to me – the first ever wearable, stretchable skin sensor that’s able to monitor UV exposure and, via a smartphone app, advise on the most appropriate way to stay protected. By scanning the patch with the app, you can keep a regular check on just how high UV levels are, something that satisfies my curious nature! The patch will be available to the general public from late June and will be totally free, available from Boots skincare experts (I’m assuming they are in larger Boots stores, but I’ll check) and dermatologists. You’ll also be able to register for one online – I’ll update you with the link once I have it – but fear not if all of this sounds like too much effort, for I have one hundred UV Patches to give away to readers of A Model Recommends. All you need to do is leave a comment below and 1oo entries will be picked at random at the end of the month. (Noon on 27th May, 2016.) Those readers will receive their UV Patch before they become available to the general public, so you’ll be able to be incredibly geeky about smart technology and skin monitoring when people ask why you have a special patch on the back of your hand…
I’ve been wearing my UV Patch for the past three days – you can wear it for up to five – and the results have been really interesting. I hadn’t reckoned on my skin being exposed to UV quite as often as it was and there were a couple of hours of really intense exposure last Saturday, when I was out walking the dog, that had completely escaped my notice. I’m looking forward to testing my spare patch when the weather gets hot (ha) so that I can track the exposure over a number of days when I know I’ll be outdoors a lot – I thought I might use that time to do some SPF-testing, very scientific!
The idea behind the UV Patch is that it works as an educational tool – not just for people who are failing to use sun protection at all, but for those who are curious as to whether they are applying enough of it (and frequently enough) for it to be effective. The patch is waterproof and stretches with the skin, so you completely forget you’re wearing it, and scanning it with the app is simple; just line up the heart shaped patch with the guide on your smartphone screen and it “reads” the photosensitive dyes that have changed colour to indicate varying levels of sun exposure.
I hope that this is the kind of technology that will become very mainstream; stuck to the inside of magazines, like perfume samples, or free at the till when you buy something at Boots. Perhaps. I realise that it’s much more expensive to produce wearable technology than it is a perfume sample, or a little sachet of face cream, but it would be so beneficial to make people more aware of how they needed to protect their skin. I have to say, the app could be simplified much more – perhaps a very basic traffic light system to show when the skin is being most exposed to UV, for those who don’t want to look at the chart or read notes – but overall, it’s a very user-friendly experience.
Please do leave a comment if you’d like to try a UV Patch – be aware that the patches won’t be ready until June, just ahead of the main launch, but definitely in time to monitor some days in the sun! I’ve been doing a marathon SPF test session recently, so keep a look out for some recommendations…
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