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This New Wristband Warns When You’ve Been Been In The Sun Too Long

Credit: RMIT University

Going out to the beach or taking a jog in the afternoon sun is common for those with an active lifestyle. Those of us who regularly participate in similar activities are usually more mindful of the sun, and carry a bottle of sunblock to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

We know the schedule of recommended application for sunblock based on SPF, but what tells us when we’ve been under the sun for too long? One group of researchers at RMIT, a University in Australia, have discovered an interesting and simple way to measure our time in the sun and if we’ve been in it for too long.

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Researchers at the University created a paper wristband with happy and sad faces that measures if we’ve been in the sun too long. Using UV sensitive ink to create the faces, the faces will begin to change color and begin to frown when exposed to too much UV light. With the variety of skin tones people have, it was important to create a bracelet for those with darker skin tones, since they are able to stay in the sun for longer than most.

Using a combination of lactic acid and PMA (phosphomolybdic acid), Professor Vipul Bansal and his team created an ink that would react to the presence of intense UV light. It was found during testing that UVB turned the ink in the bracelets a darker color, though the bracelet was exposed to UVA for the same amount of time. This, of course, was with PMA-based ink.

“This is another tool that can help people from being in the sun too long,” says Matthew Gass of the British Association of dermatologists, “but it should not be seen as a replacement for sunblock protection.”

Don’t forget that if your skin is feeling hot, a couple of minutes in the shade might do you some good.

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