Why it’s important to prevent sunburn on healthy skin
It may feel good to have a healthy-looking suntan, but prolonged exposure to UV rays brings with it a host of problems as well. The most immediate and obvious of these is sunburn – a painful and occasionally serious condition with potential long-term adverse effects. Sunburn protection is readily available, with over-the-counter creams and sunblock providing topical protection almost immediately.
However, recent research has discovered that some of the ingredients in various sunscreen creams have hidden issues and can be highly toxic to marine environments in particular. While sunburn protection is essential to defend the skin against severe damage, it is also vital to protect our environment.
Sunlight is essential for humans
Human beings need to be exposed to a certain amount of sunlight to encourage the body to produce vital vitamin D. The only other way to ensure that vitamin D levels are at the correct level is through the use of supplements. Being outdoors also has a significant role in people’s mental health. Being shut indoors on a bright, sunny day can considerably impact an individual’s emotional state.
So while sunlight exposure comes with inherent problems, it’s also desirable. An alternative to topical protection, covering up or simply staying out of the sun, is to work out exactly how much sunlight exposure a human being requires without putting themselves at risk of sunburn or long-term conditions such as actinic keratosis or even malignant melanoma. To calculate this, Sun4Health® have created a sunlight measuring tool that can do exactly that.
An App is coming soon for that…
The principle behind the Sun4Health®® app is that it gives the user the ability to monitor their own levels of sunlight exposure to maximise natural vitamin D production while avoiding over-exposure and potentially damaging sunburn. By developing an app that can be downloaded onto a smartphone, the user is already interacting with familiar technology; therefore, take-up and continued usage of the app is more likely.
Because they work without using sensors, Sun4Health® sunlight measuring tools are non-invasive and easy to operate. The app uses the phone’s own technology to detect whether the user is indoors or outdoors. It takes into account additional information such as the time of year (so adapting for the differing strengths of the sun’s UV rays), the clothes the individual is wearing, how long they’re spending outdoors, and their geographical location. It also considers whether the individual is wearing sunburn protection and what factor the protection is providing. It will be a health care medical device designed for dermatologist as a enabler digital with focus in solar photoprotection, actinic keratosis and non-melanoma skin cancer prevention.
Using customisable data analytics that can include blood results supplied by a qualified doctor, the app works almost like a fitness tracker to monitor the user’s exposure to UV light, giving warnings when the safe amount of sunlight exposure has been reached. When the user is not exposed to natural sunlight, the app can also recommend using vitamin D supplements, even to the point of informing the user of the nearest stockist to their location.
Tackling the effects of climate change on humans
Continuous digital monitoring of sunlight exposure may seem a little extreme at first glance. But there is concern that as our climate shifts towards more prolonged and intense hot weather, over-exposure and sunburn damage will become serious issues. If the skin is repeatedly exposed to high levels of UV light, it can lead to more severe and potentially life-threatening conditions such as skin cancer.
By creating one of the only sunlight measuring tools on the market, Sun4Health® is helping users to enjoy the benefits of safe exposure to sunlight without running the risk of damaging sunburn. It can also ensure that during the winter months, when natural sunlight is in short supply, users can adapt their lifestyle to include monitored and effective supplement intake.
In this digital age, knowledge and data analytics is almost as crucial for sunburn protection as Factor-50 suncream and a wide-brimmed hat. Sunlight measuring tools may soon become a standard inclusion on smartphones worldwide.