Introducing our first premium feature – Forecast UV

 

We are proud to announce that we’ve just released a very exciting new feature for SunVisor across both our iOS and Android applications*: forecast UV!

This new feature, available for just a $0.99 upgrade, provides a beautiful chart that allows you to visualize the forecasted UV index, including the daily maximum, at your current location over the entire day. It is also interactive because when you tap on any hour of the day on the graph, a color coded marker appears that shows you what the exact predicted UV index for that hour of the day! The color coding scheme matches same color codes used to classify the level of the UV index in the rest of the app. For example, a color code of red means the UV index at that time is forecast to be very high, whereas a color code of green means the UV index at that time is forecast to be low.

This feature makes it really easy to plan your day ahead in terms of your sun exposure and need to take adequate sun protection measures for you and your family. Along with our real time dashboard and personalized alerts we provide in the app, staying sun safe has never been easier!

We have many other exciting new features in the pipeline that we will be rolling out over the rest of 2016, but always welcome feature requests and feedback from our valued users. Have a feature request you’d like to see? Email us anytime at info@mhealdigital.com

Keeping you sun safe, always.

Lance & the SunVisor team

* Our forecast UV feature is only available at this stage in the USA, but we are working hard to make it available to other regions as soon as possible.

 

 

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SunVisor US Launch on Android

 SunVisor_googleplay

Following our recent launch of the SunVisor iOS app on the US App Store earlier this month, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve just launched our Android version on the US Google Play store!

One of the most exciting features of our Android app is that it incorporates our proprietary low-power indoor-outdoor detection technology  that gives it the ability to automatically know whether you are outside and exposed to the sun, or otherwise indoors and/or in the shade. What this means is that without even opening or interacting with the app, the app know’s whether you are exposed to the the sun’s UV rays, and then keeps track of the amount of time that you are exposed to the sun. Using the real-time or forecast UV index at your exact location, it then estimates your level of UV exposure. The app then uses this data to decide if you need to be notified about the risk of potential skin damage and sun burn!

All tracked UV exposure data is stored in our secure backend database. In future versions of the app you will be able to access this data via visual graphs which show a history of your daily UV exposure over time, similar to the way your smartwatch or fitness tracker allows you to visualize your daily step count over time.

As always, we look forward to any suggestions or feedback you have about SunVisor.

Enjoy the sun safely this US summer!

Lance & the SunVisor Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do I know what sunscreen to use?

“SPF.” “Broad spectrum.” “UV-A and UV-B.” “Water resistant.” “For sensitive skin.” The list of labels and things to consider when choosing a sunscreen goes on and on. Here we explain what to look for when selecting the right sunscreen for you.

The value of a sunscreen largely comes down to its active ingredients. Despite the generic use of the terms sunblock and sunscreen, there is in fact a difference between the two. A sunblock typically contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as its active ingredient, while a sunscreen generally includes other chemicals, such as parsol 1789, which absorb UV. While both sunblock and sunscreen provide effective skin protection, sunblocks are considered gentler on sensitive skin. Many sun lotions actually contain a mixture of sun block and sunscreen. Some ingredients to consider avoiding when choosing sunscreens/blocks include vitamin A, retinol, and retinyl palmitate, as there is evidence these chemicals may speed up the skin cancer sunscreen is designed to prevent.

Beyond active ingredients, it’s useful to consider SPF. An SPF factor can be found on all sunscreen bottles in Australia. SPF is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on protected skin relative to unprotected skin. A SPF of 30 is generally recommended, as anything higher isn’t considered to provide significantly more protection. Please note SPF only relates to the blocking of UV-B rays (which cause sunburn) and not UV-A rays (which cause aging and some types of skin cancer). If you’d like to learn more about SPF, please see this blog post.[link to SPF blog]

Since none of us want to age faster than we have to, it’s a good idea to look for the ‘broad spectrum’ label when selecting sunscreen. By Australian law, ‘broad spectrum’ means protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. Remember, SPF only refers to protection against UV-B rays. It is the UV-A rays that cause aging.

Another potential sunscreen feature that can be very useful is a form of water resistance. There are two related labels that can be found on Australian sunscreen bottles: “water resistant” and “very water-resistant.” Water resistant sunscreens should be reapplied every 40 minutes, while those claiming ‘very water-resistant’ should be reapplied every 80 minutes. Beware the skin care companies labeling their bottles as ‘water proof’, as no such thing exist. This is an important point – no sunscreens are truly waterproof. Recent law revisions are phasing these labels out because they are in fact only “very water resistant.”

 

What’s the deal with SPF?

SPF, or sun protection factor, is a term used to describe a products’ sun protection qualities. It represents the number of times longer a person who is wearing the protection can stay out in the sun without burning. For example, someone wearing sunscreen rated SPF 30 can expect to spend 30 times longer in the sun before being burnt when compared to having bare skin exposed.

Interestingly, SPF measures sunscreen’s ability to block UV-B rays, the type of UV that is attributed to sunburn. And to make this even more complex, the SPF value does not directly represent the amount of UV light that is blocked, as the scale is non-linear. For example:

-SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV-B rays

– SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV-B rays

– SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV-B rays

While SPF is a good way of representing the relative strength of sun cream, limitations exist. Firstly, UV-B rays are only one of three types of UV rays, the others being UV-A and UV-C. UV-C is not an issue for our health as they never reach the ground and are absorbed in the outer reaches of the atmosphere. UV-A causes aging of the skin and some types of skin cancer, but are not directly considered when the SPF is calculated. New laws in Australia do require the degree of UV-A ray protection to increase with increasing SPF in ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreens.

Despite all of this focus on SPF levels, it is actually the amount of sunscreen applied that largely dictates the level of sun protection achieved. To obtain the SPF as advertised, 1.5 milligrams per square centimeter of skin should be used or about 30 ml for total coverage.

Further, while high (50+) SPF sunscreens do marginally improve UV protection, the false sense of security they can provide often counteract their benefits. People who wear higher SPF sunscreens often spend longer in the sun and wear fewer other forms of protection, such as wide-brimmed hats.

Sunscreens are not the only products considered to have a sun protection factor. Clothes also offer sun protection with some typical SPF values seen in common clothing as follows:

  • Nylon stocking: 2 SPF
  • Hats SPF 3-6
  • Summer clothing – SPF 6.5
  • Sun protective clothing – up to SPF 30

Trust us on the sunscreen!

Whilst sunlight is essential in keeping our bodies in good health, too much sun can damage our skin, promote premature aging and wrinkles, and even cause cancer.

You may have heard that we need a daily exposure to sun to generate essential Vitamin D. However, only a short time in the sun is needed to get enough vitamin D- in fact, for many fair-skinned people, less than 15 minutes of sun exposure is required!

But 15 minutes is a very short time.  Most people easily spend more time than that outdoors.

Think of how long you last spent at the beach. More than a quarter of an hour?

How about at the pool?

How about taking the kids to sport?

Fortunately, sunscreen helps to reduce the amount of dangerous sun radiation that damages our skin, and reduces the risks of cancer and skin aging.

The thick, white, greasy pastes of the past put off many people from wearing sunscreen, but sunscreens have advanced in great leaps since the zinc creams of yore.

Newer sunscreen are available that are invisible, don’t leave a greasy feeling, and even last longer than before. Some makeup products are now combined with sunscreens, making it easier to look good and be protected at the same time!