When most of us hear the name L’Oréal, we think of makeup and hair products, not tech innovation. That may soon be changing. Many don’t realize it, but the cosmetics giant has been pouring its efforts in recent years into celebrating and supporting women in science and running its very own technology incubator. Now, those efforts seem to be coming to fruition as the company unveils its first wearable device, a skin patch designed to help prevent cancer.
Named “My UV Patch,” the device is a wearable skin patch just a few centimeters in size and half the thickness of a human hair. The sticky, transparent film is meant to be worn for several days, absorbing sunlight whenever the wearer goes outside. The adhesive is loaded with light-sensitive dyes that change color when exposed to UV light, so it allows the wearer to see if they’re being exposed to too many damaging UV rays over time.
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The color changes can be hard to decode, which is why the patch also comes with an Android or iOS app, which uses a mobile device’s camera to scan the patch, compare it to the user’s baseline skin tone, and then tracks how much sun the users have been exposed to over time. Since the patch is looking at long-term exposure to the sun, it isn’t intended to serve as a warning when the time comes to reapply sunscreen. The patch will be completely free and is set to launch in 16 different countries worldwide sometime this summer.
Photos via L’Oreal and Shutterstock