News of World Medicine

"Smart patch" will inform persons on vacation when they can get sunburn

Scientists from the University of Sydney have designed a unique patch to prevent sunburn. The patch will inform a person when it is necessary to hide from the sun or re-apply sunscreen, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The basis of the patch has special inks beginning to fade if sunburn may occur. The patch’s accuracy is quite high, and the technology is very convenient. The sensitivity of the patch can be changed depending on the person's skin type and individual propensity to sunburn.

Meanwhile, the University of British Cancer Research Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research warns that sunscreens do not prevent skin cancer. In spite of a sunscreen activity, UV radiation may damage genes that prevent DNA damage.

UV radiation effect has been tested on two months old mice. The animals had a mutation in BRAF gene, which increases the risk of melanoma. Without a sunscreen, direct DNA damages in pigment cells of the skin were recorded. In particular, the anomalies were recorded in p53 gene which generally prevents DNA damages caused by UV radiation.

After applying a sunscreen the damage degree was decreased, but it still remained at a detectable level. According to the experts, a sunscreen is not enough. In addition to a sunscreen with the factor not less than 30 SPF, you need to create a physical barrier – a hat with a wide brim, clothing and sunglasses. If you have sunburn, it means that DNA in the cells was damaged. This may cause a skin cancer.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.