A new high-tech UV-sensitive patch is being devised by an Australian researcher that changes colour when it is time to reapply sunscreen.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT's) Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation lead researcher Dr Elke Hacker said on Monday in a statement that the research aims to help 75 percent of young Australians who get sunburned every year that possibly contracts skin cancer.
‘UV radiation or sunlight exposure is the main environmental risk factor for skin cancer.’
"Sunscreen when applied at the correct concentration (2mg/cm2) is effective at blocking the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. However, the concentration applied in real life conditions is usually less, which provides inadequate protection," Hacker said.
"Currently the most common way to assist people to determine how long they can safely stay in the sun after sunscreen application is time-based on the two hour reapply recommendation." "However, what we are seeing is despite doing their best to stay sun safe and sunburn-free, people get either the concentration or the timing wrong resulting in a damaging dose of ultraviolet radiation," she said.
Hacker will lead a pilot study looking at the usability of a newly developed wearable UV indicator that takes away the guesswork in how much sunscreen to apply and when to reapply by changing colour to warn wearers their sunscreen is no longer effective. "As part of our study we are looking for Brisbane-based volunteers to test a patch before we undertake a larger trial to determine if it can reduce the incidence of sunburn," Hacker said.
"Participants will be asked to test the patch for a seven day period and attend two focus groups sessions at the start and end of the study," she said. Hacker said UV radiation or sunlight exposure was the main environmental risk factor for skin cancer. "What we know is that sunburn rates are high, especially among younger people, with more than 72 percent of Queenslanders aged 18 to 24 years admitting to getting sunburnt," she said.
"The sun-smart messages are getting through to Queenslanders but the concern is that high rates of sunburn are caused because people are unaware when dangerous UV levels have been reached." "This device seeks to give real-time information that can help change unhealthy sun exposure habits," she said.