L’Oréal unveils smart skin patch that tells user when to apply more sun cream

L’Oreal has unveiled a skin sensor that monitors the skin’s exposure to harmful UV rays, telling the wearer when to apply more sun cream.

My UV Patch is a transparent, electronic adhesive that is made up of blue photosensitive dyes. Factoring in the wearer's baseline skin tone, it changes colour when exposed to varying levels of ultraviolet light. Users simply take a photo of the patch and upload it to an app, which then suggests whether they should take shade or apply more sun lotion.

Developed by L’Oreal’s tech firm, Technology Incubator, with electronics firm MC10, the patch is disposable – lasting around five days – and due to its stretchable nature can be worn on any part of the body.

With 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers being associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun, the beauty giant hopes the patch will help educate consumers on sun protection.

“Connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors, including UV,” says Guive Balooch, global vice president of Technology Incubator. “The key was to design a sensor that was thin, comfortable and virtually weightless so people would actually want to wear it.”

L’Oreal unveiled the gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 6. The patch will launch through its skincare brand La Roche-Posay in 16 countries this summer, including the UK, and the app will be available on both iOS and Android.