MIAMI (CBSMiami) — One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The summer season is kicking off and there’s a high-tech way to monitor the effects of all that time outside in the sun.
As a junior lifeguard in training, Tatiana Cruz spends a lot of time in the sun.
“I use a lot of sunscreen. I like to re-load on the sunscreen every two hours,” said Cruz.
The 16-year-old said she’s worried about getting skin cancer so she’s trying a hi-tech wearable called My UV Patch to help monitor her sun exposure. It contains photosensitive dyes that change color when exposed to ultraviolet rays. Users scan the patch with a smartphone app and receive sun safety tips based on the results.
“This is a way to tell them when to re-apply, that there is sun damage that is going on-even if you don’t see it,” said Dermatologist Dr. Gene Rubinstein.
Doctor Rubinstein said sun damage is cumulative so whether you use the patch or other app-connected wearables, awareness can help prevent skin cancer.
“The wearables have the potential to engage someone like a teenager or a child to where they can understand that there’s a link between how much sunscreen they put on, how much time they stay outside and the sun exposure they get,” said Rubinstein.
Doctor Rubinstein adds people should not rely solely on technology when it comes to being sun smart. Be sure to use sunscreen that provides UVA and UVB protection and reapply every two hours.
After 20 minutes wearing the patch, Cruz got a red alert.
She said her experience will encourage her to wear even more sunscreen in the future. Even on a cloudy day, about 80 percent of UV rays still reach your skin.