L’Oreal’s My UV patch is a wearable sensor which can monitor sun exposure, assisting the user in avoiding extensive tanning sessions, developers have recently announced.
The invention, revealed at the 2016 CES tradeshow in Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 6, can be attributed to experts at the cosmetics company’s Technology Incubator, a laboratory set up in 2012 as a means of incorporating state-of-the-art breakthroughs into the beauty industry.
The researchers have previously created a smartphone app known as Makeup Genius, which already boasts around 15 million users. The software gives would-be makeup buyers the possibility to test out various shades of lipstick, eye shadow, blush etc. against their own skin tone, so as not to buy unflattering beauty products anymore.
Now, My UV Patch has been unveiled by the same Technology Incubator, but its benefits refer more to health than to aesthetics.
While sun exposure can be beneficial to some extent, because it provides the body with a vital supply of vitamin D, overindulging in this practice can be extremely harmful, excessive ultraviolet radiation having been linked with multiple types of skin cancer.
As a result, L’Oreal researchers have decided to develop stretchable, transparent patches, eerily similar to temporary tattoos, that can accurately monitor UV levels after sunbathing.
While numerous tech companies have focused on the emerging wearables sector, by creating devices that monitor fitness activity, heart rates or sleep patterns, little emphasis has been placed on keeping track of sun exposure.
That is why L’Oreal believed it was high time it took advantage of this obvious gap in the market, while also coming to the aid of its customers, who are becoming increasingly more health-conscious, but are doing little to protect themselves against harmful environmental factors.
For instance, recent research has revealed that while more than 9 out of 10 people acknowledge the risks associated with UV radiation, less than half have never had a physician check their moles, in order to detect potentially malignant growths.
Despite the fact that skin cancer is the most commonly encountered type of malignancy among the U.S. population, just 3 out of 10 adolescents actually use sunscreen, the rest of them putting themselves at great risk every time they want a tan.
The principle behind L’Oreal’s new heart-shaped products is relatively simple: the tiny wearables, which cover just one square inch and have a thickness of just 15 microns, are placed on the backside of the user’s hand.
Given the fact that they incorporate blue dye that modifies its hue under the influence of the sun’s rays, the patches will be shaded differently, based on the amount of UV radiation received by the user.
In order to measure this value, the wearer will simply have to scan the adhesive by employing a specially designed smartphone app. The program, running on Android and iOS gadgets, will evaluate the patch’s color, in order to see if sun exposure has already reached perilous levels.
As explained by Guive Balooch, global vice president at the Technology Incubator, the incredibly unobtrusive and non-invasive devices can be used for a maximum of 5 days and are in fact biodegradable, posing no harm to the environment.
They have been manufactured after an extensive collaboration with MC10, a company which creates flexible, wearable sensors for medical purposes.
PCH, an engineering and design company based in Ireland, has also put forward its expertise, by turning the innovative patches into items fit to be produced on an industrial scale.
The stretchable gadgets, which are now undergoing beta testing, will be commercialized near the end of 2016, as part of L’Oreal’s La Roche-Posay line of skincare products.
Image Source: Brand Channel