Now for some serious innovation in sun protection. At CES, L’Oréal has unveiled a smart skin patch developed by its incubator team that can tell the wearer how much exposure he/she has had to harmful UV.
Called My UV Patch, it’s thinner than a plaster, lasts around five days and can be worn just about anywhere on the body that’s likely to get exposed to the sun.
It launches in 16 countries this summer and – even more interesting – will be free.
The patch’s photosensitive blue dye charges colour on UV exposure. That gives you some idea of your UV exposure but for a more accurate view, the wearer takes a photo, uploads it to an app and, hey presto, a full assessment of the UV exposure the skin has had.
The company told the BBC that existing wearables come as jewellery or wrist bands but are limited because they have to be worn on one part of the body. But L’Oréal is a specialist in products that can be worn more widely so this development makes sense.
And it’s not an instant product that changes colour on UV exposure then does nothing else. The fact that it can be worn for days allows users to get a broader view of what’s happening to their skin.
That said, having to take pictures and going into an app could be something of a block for many people. As consumers, we all want things to be easy and while the committed skin protector might be ok with the method, the people who are less likely to apply sun protection when they need to might be put off.
But, for now, it’s an interesting development and one that should be applauded for its laudable aims as well as for its future potential – patches such as this can be used in the future to measure a wide variety of other health and skincare-related issues too.