Sun care

Are you, like me, one of those pale Caucasians getting fried alive in the smouldering Mediterranean sun each year? For me the answer is – yes, countless times!

Clearly there must be a better way than just applying sun screen and hoping for the best. In fact, the sun care sector has a massive potential for disruptive innovation, with some early adopters getting started right now. If only there was some wearable tech to advise on that sweet spot between maximum sun exposure, lowest risk to skin damage and best protection?

In early 2015, we introduced the wearable concept, Solitair, a miniaturised electronic UV sensor connected to a smartphone app. While a sensor tracks actual real-time sun exposure and feeds this information continuously back to a smartphone app, the app correlates this data with geographic location, the weather forecast for this area and one’s skin tone, derived from an image of one's skin. Ultimately, the consumer is advised on maximum possible tanning time within a given timeframe, and can be recommended the best sun screen product for their activity profile.

Now start-ups and blue chips like sunbeat, rooti, raymio and Microsoft, are jumping into connected wearables.

But technology moves on, and L’Oreal launched the ‘My UV Patchdeveloped by La Roche-Posay, a stretchable, wearable patch coated with photosensitive dyes that change with sun exposure. Taking a picture of the patch with your smartphone will let the associated app know how long your skin has been exposed to absolute sun light and intensity. The fact that this is a "connected" device without any electronics in it is really innovative. Similarly, Canadian start up Suncayr, developed a patch like indicator that reacts to sunlight and advises you when your sun screen is no longer protecting you and you have to re-apply it.

But that’s all great assuming you applied sun screen evenly across our skin, and managed to get it to all the right areas?

Now wouldn’t it be great if you knew how well and evenly you applied the sun screen, how well you're still protected after an hour, and what the best SPF would be for your specific skin type and planed activity profile? Well, as the saying goes – watch this space… This area is ripe for innovative ideas and new technologies that help you to select the right SPF, that monitoring sun cream application and its performance.

If you would like to learn more about disruptive product development in the sun or personal care segment, and how bespoke technology can help your consumers make the best product choices to avoid sun induced skin damage, then get in touch with us.

Dr Felix Hellwig

Felix is a senior project engineer interested in how disruptive technologies can create new value chains for our clients.