Technology is here to help us and mobile phone applications (or apps) are a popular way to make our lives easier. The Cancer Council and Health Victoria have teamed up to create the SunSmart mobile app to help users get sun smart. Today I will discuss the Android/Google version of the app, but it is also available for Apple devices.
“The SunSmart app lets you know when you need sun protection across Australia and when its safe to get some sun for vitamin D, making it easier than ever to be smart about your sun exposure all year.
With a few clicks, you can find a 7 day weather forecast, the UV level and sun protection times for your local area in Australia so you will always be prepared for the day ahead. Personalise the sun protection alert to remind you of the daily sun protection times, either at a time of your choice or when the UV reaches a level where sun protection is required.
Use the vitamin D Tracker to find out if you are getting enough UV exposure to help with your vitamin D levels.
Sun protection times are issued daily by the Bureau of Meteorology.” 
The app is fairly straight forward as it is designed to target a large audience. Every day I get a small SunSmart notification about UV warnings in my city which you can customise to your location. The app is free, automatically updates, doesn’t take up a lot of memory and has been easy to use since I first installed it.
There are more features in the app aside from the daily UV warnings. Firstly, a sunscreen feature shows you how much sunscreen you need to apply every two hours. This is customisable to your outfit for the day, and by editing your profile under ‘More’ you can enter your skin colour, height, weight and gender. Considering most people never apply enough sunscreen, this feature is really handy!
Lack of sun exposure has been shown to affect vitamin D levels in the body, and the app includes a vitamin D calculator to “find out how your UV exposure today compares with the recommended UV exposure for vitamin D”. After a short quiz, the app recommends if your UV exposure was adequate or not. I would like to see this to include a question on vitamin D supplements as it is a commonly taken drug which would affect daily exposure requirements.
And finally, hidden away under the ‘More’ button is some really good basic and real-time information about UV, sun exposure and sun safety. The information is updated based on data from the Australian radiation safety group ARPANSA and the Bureau of Meteorology. I must say that this feature should be made more prominent (and maybe swapped with Mail) because it is validates why sun protection is needed in our climate.
The SunSmart mobile app is a really handy application to install on your mobile device, particularly if you are unsure about what is considered adequate sun protection or if you have skin that is prone to sun damage. The app is available through the iTunes store for Apple  and on the Google Play store  for Android  devices.
For zero cost it will potentially save you from painful sunburn and long-term complications from sun damage.
Do you have a skin health and sun protection concern? Get in contact with our skin health professionals and make an appointment. Contact us today!