The National Cancer Instituite, U.S in contract with Klein Buendel Inc, Colorado, developed Solar Cell app, a smartphone app that provides personalised, real-time sun protection advice.
Based on UV Index forecasts and personal information from the users, the app provides sun-protection advice and alerts to apply or reapply sunscreen.
David B Buller, of Klein Buendel and coauthors conducted a randomised clinical trial in 2012 which enrolled 604 participants.
Forty one percent of the participants in the app-using group reported spending more time in the shade and the use of sunscreen was 34.5 percent.
A second randomised trial on the use of the app showed some improvement and was associated with greater sun protection.
The authors found that 23.8 percent participants in the group that received the app used wide-brimmed hats more at the seven-week follow-up than control participants who did not receive the app.
The Solar Cell mobile app seemed to promote sun protection practices, especially when it was used. Specifically, it increased use of shade. "Shade can substantially reduce exposure to solar UV radiation (UV-R), but it needs to be available for it to be used," the authors said.