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L’Oréal Unveils First Stretchable Electronic UV Monitor

The sensor, to be launched by La Roche-Posay this year, aims to help consumers educate themselves about sun protection.

PARIS — L’Oréal said it is debuting the first stretchable electronic UV monitor at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show today in Las Vegas.

Called My UV Patch, it was created to gauge ultraviolet exposure and help people educate themselves about sun protection.

“The new technology arrives at a time when sun exposure has become a major health issue, with 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers being associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun in addition to [contributing] to skin pigmentation and photo-aging,” the company stated, referring to 2015 statistics from the Skin Care Foundation.

L’Oréal’s La Roche-Posay brand is expected later this year to introduce the patch, which is a transparent adhesive that stretches and sticks directly to the area of skin people want to monitor. It measures about one square inch and is 50 micrometers thick. It contains photosensitive dyes that factor in the baseline skin tone and change colors when exposed to UV rays so as to show different levels of sun exposure.

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People can photograph the patch and upload the image to the La Roche-Posay My UV Patch mobile app to learn how much UV exposure they have had.

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“Connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors, including UV,” stated Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal’s Technical Incubator, a U.S.-based business division dedicated to technological innovation.

“Previous technologies could only tell users the amount of potential sun exposure they were receiving per hour while wearing a rigid, non-stretchable device. The key was to design a sensor that was thin, comfortable and virtually weightless so people would actually want to wear it,” he added.

My UV Patch was developed by L’Oréal’s Technical Incubator and MC10 Inc., a maker of stretchable systems for biometric health-care analytics. PCH engineered the sensor.

La Roche-Posay has long been working to encourage skin screening. As reported last March, it unveiled its international “Skinchecker” campaign. The 30- and 60-second videos, with primarily digital play in 38 countries, features Dalmatians gently inspecting each other’s spots.

To learn about sun-safety habits, the cosmetics brand signed on market research company Ipsos to survey 19,569 women and men in 23 countries spanning all continents.

The findings varied from country to country, but also by age and gender. They showed that in the U.S., for instance — where almost 5 million people are treated for skin cancer yearly and the number of those with the disease has grown more than for all other cancers combined — 80 percent of participants said they protect themselves from the sun. But just 26 percent protect themselves year-round.