Wearable Tech Has Hit the Beauty Industry
For the past five years, we’ve been seeing smartphone apps and slim technologies revolutionize nearly every industry. For many, Uber has replaced cabs as the new way to get around and Airbnb trumps hotels when travelling. While the whole world seemed to be turning “smart”, the beauty industry was one of the few that appeared to be left relatively stuck in the past. But, with the recent development of some key technological innovations, there’s been a recent shift and major beauty brands are going digital.
L’Oreal, global beauty mega-giant, recently stepped into the world of wearable tech, unveiling the company’s ground-breaking new product: My UV Patch. This stretchable electronic patch to be worn on the skin looks like a small Band-Aid and, as its name might suggest, monitors your skin’s exposure to harmful UV rays.
My UV Patch was developed in partnership with healthcare tech company MC10 and is made up of five different layers that work together to read the sun’s impact on your skin. Its design is fun and youthful – shaped like a heart, made up of little blue squares, and almost reminiscent of a temporary tattoo. Once it’s been stuck to your skin in a spot that will be exposed to the sun, it immediately begins reading your skins exposure to UV rays. The patch’s blue and white squares collect readings and will change color depending on the strength of the UV rays detected. This simple way of notifying users of potential UV harm could encourage better skin health.
What’s more impressive is that this tiny little patch – no thicker than a human hair – has the ability to collect data and then will sync with an app on your phone for you to see. The app, which is currently available for iPhone, opens to a camera view. From there, users will line-up the patch so it fits in a heart-shaped window, snap a photo, and then wait while the patch’s collected data is read and transferred to a graph. The graph charts the day’s UV exposure and indicates when users have reached their daily limit of safe exposure. The app can be used to check and re-chart as many times as you like throughout the day and sends push reminds so you don’t forget to sync.
And, while Android users are in for a bit more of a wait, there’s a payoff for their patience. The Android app that’s currently under development will be even more revolutionary, as it will use its near field communication technology (similar to Bluetooth) to connect with the patch and gather data, eliminating the need to snap a photo.
The negative health effects of UV rays are a point of concern in medical communities and regularly make headlines. Medical professionals warn us to avoid direct sunlight and to load up on sunscreen. Overexposure to these potentially harmful rays can cause many skins problems – wrinkles, premature aging, sun spots – and, far more seriously, can contribute to skin cancer. In minimizing the amount of time we allow our unprotected skin to be exposed to these rays, we can reduce our risk of developing these problems. My UV Patch will be able to warn users when they’re reaching potentially harmful levels and remind them to apply cream protection to their skin – which L’Oreal sells.
The best part of this technological skincare innovation is that it will be available to consumers at no cost! Later this year, they’ll be available for distribution and, in an effort to make these accessible for all, they will be given away either at salons or with a related skincare product. While these UV patches may seem like a marketing ploy to encourage consumers to purchase L’Oreal skin creams, this little patch is leading the way for similar brands, in a relatively non-tech industry, to turn their attention towards wearables. The bottom line is that this cutting edge tech is designed to promote self-care and will encourage us to be more mindful of the health of our skin. And that’s something we should all happily welcome.
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