Questions about the app
Why does the app need to know my location in the background? Does this consume much battery power?

Given UV changes with location, the app uses your location to determine UV settings send real time alerts to help you stay sun safe. The last thing we want to do is drain your battery power! So we made sure the app doesn't. This location detection does not run continuously and is triggered by significant location changes based on the cellular signal already picked up by your phone (rather than GPS), and thus does not consume much battery power. Yay!

Does the app consume much internet data?

Nope. The app only downloads very small packets of data to refresh with the latest UV changes.

What is meant by "My Risk Forecast"?

My Risk Forecast refers to your personal risk of skin damage if you go into the sun based on your calculated time to sunburn. This calculation is based on current UV levels at your location, your specific skin type, selected activity and selected SPF. If you click on the white box which encloses the risk level shown, you will be see a pop up that explains what your risk level means.

What does the circular coloured wheel indicate?

The circular color wheel is a graphical indication of your risk forecast. The higher the UV index, the greater your risk of sun damage, and the more of the white circle that will be filled with color. The color changes as your risk forecast changes: blue indicates very low risk, blue/green low risk, yellow moderate risk, orange high risk, and red severe risk.

How does SPF affect "My Risk Forecast"?

Let's start by understanding what SPF does. Application of sunscreen with a SPF of X extends the time you can be in the sun without getting a burn by factor of X. Thus, SPF reduces your risk proportionally. We visualize this proportional change in the app with changes to the color risk level on the wheel and category of risk (low, medium, high, etc.) in the middle of the wheel.

Your SPF selection is by default set to 0 (i.e., no sunscreen is assumed). To select your current SPF usage, use the SPF toggle on the bottom right of the dashboard. However, since sunscreens tends to rub or wash off depending on your activity, it is recommend to reapply every 2 hours to remain sun safe. We included a nifty sunscreen reapplication timer in the dashboard circle to remind you to reapply.

How does activity affect "My Risk Forecast"?

Different activities and environments increase the intensity of the UV radiation that you are exposed to due to UV ray reflection off different surfaces. For example, UV rays reflect off water thereby increasing the UV intensity by almost 1.5 times. You can play with the activity toggles on the bottom left of the dashboard to see how different activities affect your risk level before heading out and use the toggles to input your activity to obtain the most acute risk forecast. If you do not define your activity, it will remain undefined (where the effective UV you are exposed to is same as the real time or forecasted UV shown).

When I make an SPF selection and the countdown timer starts, will my risk level change while I'm outside?

Yes, the app assumes you're outside and exposed to the sun when you make an SPF selection, thereby tracking your sun exposure. When you go back into the app to check the how long until you need to reapply, your risk level and time to sunburn will be re-calculated and displayed to take into account the amount of time you have been exposed to the sun.

When I make an SPF selection and input a time since last application of over 2 hours, why do I see a message "reapply sunscreen now"?

You receive this message because it is generally recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while you are outside and exposed to the sun.

What does the "RESET" button do?

It resets all selections (both SPF and activity) to defaults and the sunscreen countdown timer.

Can I disable any of the alerts?

Yes. Simply select "My Alerts" in the navigation drawer menu. You can also enable alerts on weekends only in the "Alert Settings" menu under "Settings". Remember that to receive any alerts, you need to allow the app to send you notifications when you first open the app.

Can I update my profile info?

Yes. Simply select "Settings" in the navigation drawer menu and then "My Profile." Then, select a profile item you would like to update. Note, you can redetermine your skin type by selecting the "Skin Type" item.

Will the app work if I disable location services?

Without enabling location services, the app cannot provide you with the up to date UV data and alerts. If location is disabled and you make an SPF selection, you can still gain value from the sunscreen countdown timer and will receive the sunscreen reapplication reminder.

Questions about UV and sun safety
What is the UV Index?

The ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of sunburn-producing ultraviolet (UV) radiation at a particular place and time. The UV Index is designed as an open-ended linear scale, directly proportional to the intensity of UV radiation that causes sunburn on human skin. The intensity of the sun's rays depends upon the time of the day (peaking in the middle of the day), the time of year (peaking in summer), cloud cover levels, as well as the altitude and latitude of your location. Ever been burned on a cold or cloudy day? This is because the UV index is generally independent of daily temperature and is not always lower on a cloudy day.

What does the UV level mean to me?

As you cannot see or feel UV, the purpose of the UV Index is to help you effectively protect yourself from UV radiation. The higher the UV Index, the higher the risk of sunburn (which is correlated with other health risks) due to UV exposure.

Are there different kinds of UV rays?

Yes. UV rays with the longest wavelength are designated as UVA. UVB rays are shorter, and UVC rays are the shortest of all. Because ozone in the atmosphere absorbs all UVC and most UVB, 95% of the radiation reaching the surface of the earth is UVA, while just 5% is UVB. UVB penetrates only into the epidermis (upper layer) of the skin but is the major cause of sunburns. UVA penetrates more deeply, down into the dermis of the skin and is largely responsible for skin aging and skin cancer.

What are the health effects of UV exposure?

Exposure to the sun's UV rays has both positive and negative health effects. On one hand, exposure to sunlight triggers the production of Vitamin D, a vital nutrient required for general health. In addition, it boosts serotonin levels in the brain leading to improved mood.

Unfortunately, one of the most common effects of UV exposure is "erythema," also known as sunburn. Sunburn occurs when skin cells are damaged by the absorption of energy from UV rays. To compensate for this injury, the skin sends extra blood to the damaged skin in an attempt to repair it - thus accounting for the redness that is associated with sunburn. Another effect of this skin damage is the formation of free radicals, aggressive charged compounds that damage cells by changing their DNA and preventing the body from repairing it by suppressing the immune system. While the body can usually repair the damage, sometimes this mechanism fails, resulting in a mutation. The skin cancer that can result is named for the type of cell where the mutation occurred. For example, melanoma is a tumor of malignant melanocytes. Lastly, overexposure to the sun also can damage your eyes and cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and melanoma of the eye. Doesn't sound fun, does it? This is why it is crucial to stay sun safe.

Is tanning safe?

Tanning is virtually never safe. A tan is visible proof that your skin has been damaged by UV rays. As such, we do NOT recommend using this app for tanning or sun baking purposes, but rather to empower you to stay sun safe at all times.

What are the factors that affect the amount of time it takes for a sunburn to occur?

The factors are the current UV index at your location, your skin type, your activity, and your sunscreen SPF application.

How do I stay safe in the sun?

The best way to avoid damage from UV rays is to avoid sun exposure when the UV levels are high, particularly in the middle of the day. If this is not possible, remember to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses.

What does SPF stand for?

SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor." This factor is a measure of how much ultraviolet (or UV) radiation it takes to burn your skin when it's unprotected compared to how much it takes to burn your skin when it's slathered in sunscreen. The higher the SPF value of your sunscreen, the more protection it offers from sunburn. In general, lower SPF products don't block out as much of the sun's rays as higher SPF products.