A place in the sun: UVisio’s mission is to make sure sunlight is safely enjoyed

A place in the sun: UVisio’s mission is to make sure sunlight is safely enjoyed

21-Nov-2017 by Val De Oliveira

Summer may be long gone for us here in Berlin, but, for millions of people across the globe, the sunny, hot (and fun) season has just kicked off.

Often associated with warmer, longer days enjoying the outdoors, summer also walks hand-in-hand with extra skin care. There’s no getting around this: excessive sunlight simply doesn’t ‘take it easy’ on your skin.

Despite how much many of us may worship the sun (after all, sunlight helps us get vitamin D, which is essential for our muscles, bones, heart, and brain), this love isn’t exactly a reciprocal one.

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds can indeed lead to a series of health issues. Skin cancer is one of them and it is on the rise.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of both nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers has been increasing over the past decades. Currently, between two and three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year.

One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer and, according to Skin Cancer Foundation Statistics, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Similarly, the WHO argues that this incidence growth is strongly linked to increasingly popular outdoor activities and recreational exposure and that overexposure to sunlight is widely seen as the major cause for harmful effects on the skin, eye and immune system.

The ‘cover-up’ factor

On the other hand, UV radiation is also the most preventable cause of skin cancer. Experts believe that four out of five cases of skin cancer could be prevented, as UV damage is mostly avoidable. 

As dermatologists will tell over and over, protecting your skin against UV damage is a year-round commitment and measures such as staying in the shade at peak hours, wearing clothing, sunglasses, and hat to cover the skin as well as applying sunscreen on those parts of the body that remain exposed, will go a long way. 

It goes without saying though that the use of sunscreen alone can’t be seen as the only preventive measure and it should never be used to prolong the duration of sun exposure. But, all in all, with SPF 100 sunscreens and UV protective tents available on the market, sun-induced skin cancer should be fairly easily avoidable.

But, remembering to reapply sunscreen every two hours or so (especially when you’re enjoying a day outdoors) becomes challenging. This is where UVisio comes in.

One of the 11 digital health startups currently being accelerated here at Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin, the startup has come up with a small and easy to use clip-on device that detects the level of UV radiation and notifies the user via mobile when they have to reapply sunscreen. 

The solution helps to visualize the invisible ultraviolet light, analyses individual skin for sun sensitivity and assess optimal healthy and safe sun exposure time. Based on the data collected by the device and mobile application, UVisio provides the user with personal recommendations about sun exposure and warn him/her when the sun is getting dangerous.

How does it work?

“It’s as easy as brushing your teeth in the morning: 1) make sure you take your UVisio with you when going into the sun; 2) download the mobile app to your smartphone and connect your UVisio device. Take the skin type test in the app; 3) apply sunscreen and scan it with your smartphone; 4) attach UVisio to your clothing or hat to start measuring your sun exposure”, explains Larisa Kryuchkova, UVisio’s founder and a skin cancer survivor herself.

 

The sky is the limit

There is clearly a ‘place in the sun’ for UVisio (the total sun care market is estimated at $9 billion, for instance) and the startup isn’t necessarily keeping their growth plans in the shade.

“We are currently targeting families with children and sun sensitivity. There are 70 Million families in Europe, 43 Million in the USA and 20 Million in Brazil. So, there is a lot of potential out there”, completes Vlad Hayrapetyan, UVisio’s CTO.

The Android and iOS mobile application of UVisio will be available to download (free of charge) just before Christmas and devices are currently in beta test. The kickstart will happen in January at CES (a consumer electronics and technology tradeshow that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada).

Also, on November 30 UVisio will pitch their business to over 300 investors during Startupbootcamp’s Demo Day.

We may not be lucky enough to enjoy this joyful and glowy season all year round here in Berlin. But, whenever you do, be sure to take preventive measures and make the most of this blissful season. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun…