Sun Sensors to Keep You Safe in the Sunby Eileen Bailey Health Writer
We know we should wear sunscreen, wide brimmed hats, sunglasses and avoid spending time in the sun during the peak hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. But sometimes being in the sun is unavoidable and you lose track of how long you have been outside. Sun sensors, in the form of bracelets, can help.
According to Time Magazine, a new paper bracelet, similar to the type you would get at a carnival or a concert, is designed to change colors- from yellow to pink - as your risk of overexposure increases. The new bracelets, manufactured by Intellego Technologies in Sweden, are expected to be sold this year. Each bracelet is meant to be used for one day and then thrown out and are inexpensive enough to make sure you have a new one every day.
There are a number of other companies that sell similar products. On Amazon.com, the UV SunSense Wristbands sell for $4.99 for a pack of 5 bands. When you put on your sunscreen, you coat the bracelet as well and it will warn you when it is time to reapply the sunscreen based on the color. When the band turns a peach color, it is time to get out of the sun.
Sunscreen Bands are also meant to be used for one day and then thrown away. According to the website, the band will continue to work even if you go indoors and then back outside. You can use it in water - salt water or chlorinated pool water - and still have it give you an idea of how much sun you are getting and when it is time to reapply sunscreen and get out of the sun. These come in variety of styles, such as flowers, sports, superheroes and lifeguard. They are selling for $18.00 for 15 bands.
SpaFinder's "I Will Reflect" melanoma awareness bracelet changes colors when exposed to UV rays. It is an awareness bracelet and lets you know when you are in the sun but doesn't provide a way to know when to reapply sunscreen. It is $4.95.
Another UV sensor bracelet is the beaded bracelet sold at GoodLuckBuy.com. This bracelet looks like a costume jewelry bracelet and the beads become darker as the UV level increases. The higher the UV radiation, the darker it becomes. It can be used for more than one day but does not warn you when to reapply sunscreen. It sells for $2.70.
A children's sized silicone bracelet, which is reusable, is available from BellyButtonsAndBabies.com. The bracelet starts out clear and turns to blue or fuchsia when exposed to UV lights. Once you are out of the sun, the bracelet turns back to the original color. They are waterproof, latex free and can be used for infants, toddlers, children and adults. They sell for $6.99 each.
These bracelets/wristbands can help raise your awareness of the danger of being out in the sun and are a great way to help your children get out of the sun or reapply sunscreen periodically. But they don't take the place of using the traditional methods of sun protection. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States today. More than 3.5 skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually [Skin Cancer Foundation]. Use commonsense measures and talk to your children early and often about the importance of sunscreen and sun protection.