Sun Safety App Claims to Help Reduce Risk of Overexposure

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Time frolicking outdoors in the sun is as an integral part of summer. However, sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays that promote skin damage and aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that sunscreen is critical during time outdoors, regardless of skin type. While new FDA sunscreen regulations promise to provide consumers with more accurate information about the degree of protection their sunscreen is providing, the CDC warns that sunscreen is only one part of the protective equation, and recommends protective clothing and judicious use of shade during intense sunlight hours.

Sun exposure reference app


Still, when it comes to fun in the sun, kids will be kids, and adults…will be kids. It’s easy to misjudge the sun’s intensity or forget to reapply sunscreen regularly; most formulations should be reapplied every 2 hours, though reapplication times vary significantly with water play and sweating, depending upon the water resistance of the formulation. An app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod by knowledge-peddler WolframAlpha claims to help users determine the intensity and amount of radiation to which they’re being exposed. The “Sun Exposure Reference App” collects information about the user (skin type, age, clothing) and combines this with satallite-acquired data that provides a real-time UV index based upon location.

The app then makes a recommendation about what strength sunscreen to use, how often to reapply it, and how much time in the sun is likely to result in a burn.¬†While no app is foolproof, the purpose of the “Sun Exposure Reference App” is to augment safe sun practices and behaviors.

Source: WolframAlpha Blog

About the Author

Kirstin Hendrickson is a science journalist and faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University. She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry.