New Tool Tells You When to Put On More Sunscreen

Going out for a day in the sun can be quite fun, but coming home at the end of it with your skin sporting a lovely shade of scarlet generally isn’t. Sunburns can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable (if you get one bad enough, just wearing your regular clothes can be a challenge, as even the loosest-fitting tee can irritate and make your sunburnt skin itch to no end).

Avoiding Sunburn
So how do you prevent sunburn? Well, you wear SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen, and reapply every couple hours, of course. It also helps if you avoid the sun’s “peak hours” between 10 AM and 4 PM. If you do go out during those hours, you might want to consider staying in the shade and/or using a higher SPF sunscreen, like, say, SPF 50.

Problems with This Approach
The issue is, for one thing, some people want to go our during peak hours, and don’t want to have to constantly hide out in the shade. Besides that, even if you do everything right that you can think of, you might still get a sunburn because you lost track of time for a bit and waited too long to reapply. So, what’s the solution? Well, interestingly enough, one solution might be a fairly recently invented—and very intriguing—UV sensitive pigment that could be added to sunscreen to tell you when to reapply.

Woman applying sunscreen

Enter Suncayr UV-Sensitive Pigment
Suncayr is a recently developed pigment that turns from colorless to purple when exposed to a certain amount of UV radiation. In fact, it’s being formulated such that it can be mixed into sunscreens, and when applied, it will stay colorless until it’s been exposed to sunlight for long enough that you should be thinking about reapplying, at which point it will change color. Basically, it takes the guesswork out of re-application. Instead of glancing at your watch all the time and trying to remember how long ago you last put your sunscreen on, you just wait for your skin to turn purple, then re-apply.

The product still has some kinks to be worked out, and it’s unclear if the purple color would linger after re-application (we hope not, unless of course you like walking around with violet-tone skin), nor is it clear how this would work on darker skin tones (might not be as noticeable), but in any case, it’s a promising idea with some real potential. It’s also great if you have kids, and worry about your little ones’ sensitive young skin, and how much of a pain it is when they get burnt by the sun. With something like Suncayr, you’d know exactly when to reapply on them, and avoid sunburns for the whole family.