L'Oréal unveils wearable patch for monitoring UV exposure

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French cosmetics company L’Oréal has launched My UV Patch, a stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure and help consumers educate themselves about sun protection.

The new technology arrives at a time when sun exposure has become a major health issue, with 90 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers being associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun in addition to attributing to skin pigmentation and aging.

The patch was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place from 6-9 January in Las Vegas.

A study recently commission by La Roche-Posay, L’Oréal’s dermatological skincare brand, found that even though 92 per cent of consumers were aware that unprotected sun exposure can cause health problems, only 26 per cent of Americans protect themselves all year round. The global study surveyed 19,000 women and men from 23 countries.

My UV Patch was created with the aim of inciting a behavioural change among consumers, by providing them with real-time information about their UV exposure.   

The patch contains photosensitive dyes that factor in the baseline skin tone and change colour when exposed to UV rays, in order to indicate varying levels of sun exposure. The patch is a transparent adhesive that stretches and adheres directly to the skin, and measures approximately 6.5cm2 in area and 50µm thick.

Consumers will be able to take a photo of the patch and upload it to the My UV Patch mobile app, which analyses the varying photosensitive dye squares to determine the amount of UV exposure the wearer has received. The mobile app is expected to be made available to consumers later this year.

‘Previous technologies could only tell users the amount of potential sun exposure they were receiving per hour while wearing a rigid, non-stretchable device,’ said Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal’s technology incubator. ‘The key was to design a sensor that was thin, comfortable and virtually weightless so people would actually want to wear it. We’re excited to be the first beauty company entering the stretchable electronics field and to explore the many potential applications for this technology within our industry and beyond.’

My UV Patch was developed by L’Oréal’s US-based technology incubator, alongside MC10, a company that develops stretchable electronic systems for biometric healthcare analytics. L’Oréal also worked with PCH which engineered the sensor.

MC10’s CEO, Scott Pomerantz, commented: ‘This partnership with L'Oréal marks an exciting new milestone for MC10 and underscores the intersection of tech and beauty and the boundless potential of connected devices within the beauty market.’ 

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