It’s summer: there’s no school, the weather’s great, you’ve got all these fun things to do with your friends…did someone say something about sunscreen?
Yes, in the midst of all this it can often slip your mind that it’s time to re-apply sunscreen. Luckily for you, however, there’s an app for that! These 10 apps will give you timed reminders, tips on the UV index, plus a lot more. That way you can dedicate all your attention to the true business of summer – having fun – without having to waste time worrying.
- Sunscreen Reminder Lite
Want a simple and straightforward app that gives you an easy-to-understand reminder? Then this one’s for you. The app allows you to schedule set reminders to re-apply your sunscreen and can be set manually or automatically for reminders every two, three, four, five, or six hours – perfect if you work outdoors, are at the beach or swimming pool, or even if you’re just walking around outside. Also included is an “Other Reminders List” for anniversaries, appointments, birthdays, holidays, when you have to walk the dog, that thing you were supposed to pick up from the store for mom, when school starts again…or you can just ignore all that, enjoy the lovely weather and just make sure you have one reminder set: to re-apply your sunscreen!
- Coppertone MyUVAlert
Okay, so maybe you want something a little more advanced? Well this app is a step up from Sunscreen Reminder Lite. Coppertone’s MyUVAlert app uses GPS to zone in on your location, then provides the local forecast, calculates the day’s UV index and makes the appropriate sunscreen suggestions based on what you input as your skin type. It even sounds an alarm when the time comes to apply more sunscreen. Now is that high-tech or what? We’re practically living a Jetsons episode here!
- Have You Checked Your Skin Lately?
This app has a serious story behind it. As a sophomore in college, Mollie Biggane discovered a mole on her thigh. Over the following six months she underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, only to die at the age of 20. The Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation was created in her memory and has released this free app in hopes of preventing similar tragedies. The app shows you how to check your skin in five quick steps so you can catch suspicious spots or marks early.
- Sun Effects Booth
Released by the government of Queensland, Australia – where, with the highest national levels of melanoma, they know all about the dangers of sun exposure – this app takes a different approach to sun safety than the rest. As opposed to providing reminders of when you should re-apply sunscreen, this app shows how your current behaviour in the sun can damage your face in the future by asking a series of questions about how you protect yourself in the sun, what sort of hat and clothing you wear, the sunscreen and sunglass you use, etc. You then upload a picture of your face, which the app transforms into a prediction of how it will look in the future given your current sun safety practices. Complete the questions again and see how small changes in your sun-safe behaviour can change the look of your future face – for better or for worse.
Developed by the University of Michigan, this free mobile app allows users to complete and store a full-body photographic library, track detected moles/lesions, download informational videos and literature, and locate a skin cancer specialist. Other features include guidance on performing skin cancer self-examinations and full-body photographic surveys, tracking detected skin lesions and moles for changes over time, as well as notifications on when to perform self-exams on a routine basis. This is some serious next-level technology.
- Sun Shield
Are you going to be doing any travelling this summer? The Sun Shield app is packed with important sun exposure and UV Index information to help you stay abreast of the sun’s UV strength at any location around the globe. Its simple assessment tool lets you determine your skin type before the app selects the specific SPF lotion you’ll need and calculates the number of hours you can safely spend in the sun. Features include real-time daily and hourly UV Index measurements from around the world, six-day UVI forecasts and ozone column information, important health-related facts from the World Health Organization regarding skin cancer prevention and more.
- Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App
The Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App is similar to Coppertone’s MyUVAlert or Sunshield. Based on your skin type, location, time and the level of SPF in the sunscreen you’re using, it calculates how long your skin can be exposed to the sun without burning. It can also compute a UV forecast for your location with an accompanying sun protection advisory. Other features include sunrise and sunset times, current sun position and weather forecasts.
8. Sun Safe
Like most sun safety awareness apps, Sun Safe tells you what SPF you should use as well as how much time you have in the sun before your skin starts to crisp. What’s different about this app is that in addition to allowing you to input your location and skin type, it also allows you to input your surroundings: for example, sand, concrete, even snow (because it’s not just the summer sun that’s a safety’s concern!) then you get a to-the-minute countdown.
- EWG Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide
So by this point we all know that prolonged exposure to UV rays can be harmful – that’s why we wear sunscreen. But by protecting yourself from the sun, are you also exposing yourself to other dangerous toxins in your sunscreen? The Environmental Work Group’s Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide app will let you know. Whereas the previous apps we’ve looked at focus on sun protection, this app highlights products that contain questionable or potentially harmful ingredients based on the EWG’s annual sunscreen review. For example, according to the EWG, oxybenzone (an ingredient found in more than 60 percent of their evaluated sunscreens) has the potential to disrupt the hormonal system. EWG also recommends avoiding sunscreens with retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that the FDA is currently investigating.
10. ModiFace Tan
So the Melanoma Network of Canada’s Screen Me program has told you all you need know about the dangers of excessive sun exposure. But what’s that, you still want a tan? Well it just so happens that there’s an app for that too: ModiFace Tan will give your selfies a golden glow (or even a full-on third-degree burn!) without the dangerous UV rays. Just tell the app how long you would have stayed in the sun and what SPF level you would have used, and it will automatically highlight your portrait. Even safer than using the spray-on stuff – and you won’t have to worry about it coming off on your clothes. You will, however, still have to worry about looking like Tan Mom – even if only digitally.