Ever wonder how much ultraviolet radiation you’re actually getting from the sun? Check out these new apps and pills that may help you track or reduce the risk of sun damage.
By Emily Jorge DCNP, FNP-BC
Sun damage happens all year long, whether you’re skiing on a lake or on the snow, in the car or at the beach. UV rays penetrate clouds and glass and the effects are cumulative. Some people don’t reapply sunscreen every 40-80 minutes and how many times have you thought, “I forgot my hat … again.” Have you ever wondered how much ultraviolet radiation you’re actually getting? Is there a technology that can track sun damage?
- My UV Patch: La Roche-Posay launched the first wearable skin sensor to track UV rays in real-time. This is a stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure and factors in skin tone. Users download the My UV Patch mobile app that provides a personalized report, tracks exposure and informs them when the level of sun exposure might no longer be safe. Once exposed to the sun, the patch will begin to change colors, indicating the various levels of sun exposure. Go to http://www.laroche-posay.us/my-uv-patch?gclid=COKYyb77wc4CFdY9gQod8DcAMA to find out more.
Have you had melanoma in the past? How many moles do you have on your right arm? According to the British Journal of Dermatology the number of moles on a person’s right arm can predict the number of moles on their whole body. So if you have 11 moles on your right arm, you’re 9 times more likely to have 100 moles on your body, thus significantly increasing your risk of melanoma. If you’re concerned about your skin or certain skin lesions of someone in your family, you can monitor them. Changes in your skin can be cause for concern. Here’s how you can follow your skin closer:
- DermLite-HUD: This portable apparatus attaches to your smartphone using an included adapter and enables you to view and capture dermatologist-grade photos you can share with your dermatologist. Go to this website to learn more: http://dermlite.com/products/dermlite-hud
Photo protection is important to prevent skin cancer, photo aging and immunosuppression. Is there a supplement that can fight free radical damage from prolonged sun exposure besides the antioxidants in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, grapes, seeds and nuts? Is there additional photo protection? Let’s explore!
- HelioCare: Better known as Polypodium leucotomos to the academics, this fern from Central America has been undergoing multiple studies for the treatment of sunburns, vitiligo, polymorphous light eruption and more. Early small studies demonstrate taking this in a pill form 30 minutes prior to sun exposure can reduce signs of skin damage including skin reddening and sunburn. Some people take this once a day. Polypodium has not been clinically tested in patients less than 18 years, in pregnant or breastfeeding women. It has not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other supplements and drugs. Talk to your provider prior to taking this 240 mg over-the-counter supplement, found at your local Walgreens and other select sites.
- Nicotinamide: Studies show a reduction in photoimmunosuppression by topical and oral nicotinamide. A study by Yiasemides et al. demonstrated premalignant skin lesions called actinic keratosis were significantly reduced compared with placebo after 4 months of supplementation. Experimental studies in a mouse model showed that both oral and topical supplementation can prevent photocarcinogenesis (skin cancer) and sun-induced immunosuppression. Typically dosed at 500mg twice daily, talk to your provider about if this is right for you.