Australian Scientists Are Putting ‘Sun Safe’ Claims To the Test

Australian Scientists Are Putting ‘Sun Safe’ Claims To the Test
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Lotions, apps, patches, wearables and more – if there’s a product out there that promises to be “sun safe”, a new research centre in Brisbane will be putting it to the test.

The centre will be opened by QUT, in partnership with clinical trial company Q-Pharm.T

Dr Elke Hacker from QUT who run the research centre. Dr Elke says technology was “playing an increasing role in the prevention of sunburn and skin cancer”, pointing to personal UV detectors, sunscreen indicator patches and software apps.

“It is vital that we make sure these devices and health apps are regulated and tested and there is evidence to substantiate the health claims being made,” Dr Hacker said.

Despite sun smart campaigns, sunburn rates continue to be high, Dr Hacker says – especially among young people, with a study showing 72 per cent of Queenslanders aged 18-24 admit to getting sunburnt.

Dr Hacker says it is “pleasing” that new technology is encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions in avoiding over-exposure to UVR – but the value of these devices, apps and products needs to be tested to ensure that they do improve sun protection habits, sun exposure behaviour and reduce sunburn.

Personalised wearable stickers will be the first product put through its paces at the new centre.

“These UV Spots (stickers) are sunscreen indicators that aim to warn people when the effect of sunscreen wears off and needs to be reapplied,” Dr Hacker said.

“Our testing will make sure these stickers work accurately in and out of water, to ensure they can be safely used by people when swimming.”

Then will come apps that monitor UV exposure, novel therapeutic lotions that promise skin repair and wearable devices.

The Centre for Testing New Technology will also work with patient advocacy group Melanoma Patients Australia and Queensland Health’s Preventative Health Branch, to make sure the findings and results translate into community health outcomes.