Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Fun in the Sun

Stickers that show when the protection from your sunblocking cream is exhausted

03 August 2019

Fun in the Sun

Fun in the sun always comes with warnings – always apply a good sunscreen, with a cocktail of protective chemicals that block some of the sun’s UV light. Over-exposure might otherwise damage skin cells, and perhaps their DNA too, leading to cancers like melanoma. One detail that's perhaps forgotten is how often to “cream up” – as its protective effect only lasts for a few hours. Spectators at a recent cricket test match in Australia were asked to trial a new skin-saving sticker, which changes colour to remind the wearer to re-apply. Worn of the hand here, 'SPOTMYUV' stickers change from colourless to purple as chemicals inside react to the sunlight. One side of these stickers are lathered with a sun cream, showing how its protection eventually wears off. These discreet devices could be just the thing to reduce the cases of melanomas, and sunburn, worldwide.

Written by John Ankers

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