(Sun)Burn Notice: Innovative Ways to Protect Yourself From UV Radiation

07.18.2017

During these hot summer months, you’re probably getting bombarded with messages about the importance of lathering on that trusty SPF 30 and protecting yourself from the harmful effects of too much UV radiation. But sunscreen is so old school. This is 2017, baby! And we’re fortunate to live in a time when new innovations are hitting the scene at a pace that would make even James Bond jealous.

While gadgets and gizmos may not be the first things that come to mind when it comes to UV protection and skin care, there have been some surprising developments in recent years that are worth mentioning.   

Mobile Apps: There are a ton of apps available for both iOS and Android devices. And most of them are even free. Apps like Ultraviolet ~ UV Index, TANtastic UV, UVLens, and more can help you track the UV forecast in your area, discover how much time you should spend in the sun, and provide useful tips. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gotten in on the action with their app, EPA's SunWise UV Index.

Wearable UV Monitors: Wearable health devices are nothing new; however, many of these wearables have recently begun adding UV sensors to their bag of tricks. There are also many standalone sun exposure trackers that accomplish the same thing. Perhaps the most high-tech solution out there is a stretchable electronic patch that can be placed on your body and linked up with a companion mobile app. Here’s how it works … science! That’s how.

UV Protective Clothing: UV-proof clothing? Yes, please. As you shop around for new threads this summer, be sure to pay special attention to the UPF rating on the label. The UPF—or ultraviolet protection factor—rating gives you a clear picture of how protective your clothing is. The higher the rating, the more protected you are. UPF-rated clothing is the perfect option for those that work outside, or those that don’t feel like cowering indoors while everyone else is having fun with outdoor summer activities.

The Way of the Future: There are some surprising innovations right around the corner. A company recently launched a successfully funded Indiegogo campaign for Sunscreenr, a small UV camera that displays how thoroughly sunscreen has been applied. And then there’s drinkable sunscreen, a vitamin cocktail that reportedly protects against the effects of UV radiation. What will they think of next?

Just remember, it’s still important to apply sunscreen regularly—especially if you plan on spending more time outside than usual. Also, be sure to protect your eyes with UV-protective sunglasses. After all, no amount of gadgets or technology will ever replace responsible behavior.

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