Researchers from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow have developed a skin patch that measures a person’s exposure to the sun. Chemical compounds inside the patch react to ultraviolet light and change color to warn of a potential skin burn.
Sunbathers may be able to wear the indicator, known as a dosimeter, in the form of a wristband. The model developed at Strathclyde has the advantage of a marked change in colour, and so makes the danger of sunburn obvious. It is normally coloured yellow but rapidly turns pink when approaching the limit skin can take before burning.
Professor Andrew Mills, who led the research, said: “Skin cancer is a huge health problem in the UK and many other countries and sunburn is behind it in many cases.
“This device is a straightforward means for people to keep themselves safe while they enjoy the sun. It can also be modified and adapted for use with all skin types, which can react differently to ultraviolet light.”
The indicator works by using an acid-release agent which picks up ultraviolet light and a dye which responds to pH levels in the indicator. The agent is decomposed by sunlight and this leads to the quick change in colour. Different agents could be used to make the device fit for various skin types.