Sun­screen patch may help stop sun­burn

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - By XIN­HUA in Syd­ney

An Aus­tralian re­searcher has de­vised a new high-tech UV-sen­si­tive patch that changes color when it is time to reap­ply sun­screen. Queens­land Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute of Health and Bio­med­i­cal In­no­va­tion lead re­searcher Dr Elke Hacker said on Mon­day that the re­search aims to help 75 per­cent of young Aus­tralians who get sun­burned ev­ery year that pos­si­bly con­tract skin can­cer.

“Sun­screen when ap­plied at the cor­rect con­cen­tra­tion (2mg/cm2) is ef­fec­tive at block­ing the harm­ful ef­fects of ul­tra­vi­o­let ra­di­a­tion. How­ever, the con­cen­tra­tion ap­plied in real life con­di­tions is usu­ally less, which pro­vides in­ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion,” Hacker said in a state­ment.

“Cur­rently the most com­mon way to as­sist peo­ple to de­ter­mine how long they can safely stay in the sun after sun­screen ap­pli­ca­tion is time­based on the two hour reap­ply rec­om­men­da­tion.”

75per­cent of young Aus­tralians who get sun­burned ev­ery year that pos­si­bly con­tract skin can­cer

“What we are see­ing is de­spite do­ing their best to stay sun safe and sun­burn-free, peo­ple get ei­ther the con­cen­tra­tion or the tim­ing wrong, re­sult­ing in a dam­ag­ing dose of ul­tra­vi­o­let ra­di­a­tion,” she said.

Hacker will lead a pi­lot study look­ing at the us­abil­ity of a newly de­vel­oped wear­able UV in­di­ca­tor that takes away the guess­work in how much sun­screen to ap­ply and when to reap­ply by chang­ing colour to warn wear­ers their sun­screen is no longer ef­fec­tive.

“As part of our study we are look­ing for Bris­bane-based vol­un­teers to test a patch be­fore we un­der­take a larger trial to de­ter­mine if it can re­duce the in­ci­dence of sun­burn,” Hacker said.

“Par­tic­i­pants will be asked to test the patch for a 7-day pe­riod and at­tend two fo­cus group ses­sions at the start and end of the study,” she said.

“What we know is that sun­burn rates are high, es­pe­cially among younger peo­ple, with more than 72 per­cent of Queens­lan­ders aged 18-24 ad­mit­ting to get­ting sun­burnt.”

“The sun-smart mes­sages are get­ting through to Queens­lan­ders but the con­cern is that high rates of sun­burn are caused be­cause peo­ple are un­aware when dan­ger­ous UV lev­els have been reached.

“This de­vice seeks to give real-time in­for­ma­tion that can help change un­healthy sun ex­po­sure habits.”

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