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These devices monitor how much sun you’re getting to prevent burns—but do they work?


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Photo: Stocksy/Alliaksei Kaponia

Yes, you wear your sunscreen on the reg, don a big straw hat, and are sure to reapply your SPF as needed. Despite taking all of the proper precautions, however, you can still get too much sun—which can put a damper on your #99DaysofSummer activities.

This is where UV trackers can come in. They’re pretty small devices that you can either wear or put on your skin, and they literally keep tabs on how much sun exposure you’re getting, which help to inform your behaviors. AKA: While you might think it’s totally cool to chill by the pool for another hour, your UV tracker might tell you otherwise—which could prevent you from feeling the burn later on.

“Technology can be used as a tool to help us stay on track with our sun health,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. “[UV trackers] help to give necessary discipline [that some] people may need. I am a proponent of anything that helps people remember to apply sunscreen.” Preach.

“Technology can be used as a tool to help us stay on track with our sun health.” —Joshua Zeichner, MD

These little devices work their magic much like a step tracking monitor. “Many of them work by measuring your exposure to sunlight and sync with an app so you can keep track of how much you’re actually getting,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Often times our perceptions maybe different from reality and you may be getting a lot more sun exposure than you realized.”

Connecticut-based dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, agrees: “I think they’re a very important supplement to daily UV protection,” she says. “They raise awareness, give reminders, and are an example of a concerted effort to protect the skin.”

More brands are getting on board, too. La Roche Posay not only gives away a free UV-tracking sticker with every sunscreen you purchase from their website, but they’ve developed a sensor you can wear on your nails to do the same thing—and it looks like really cool nail art. Others, like the QSun, look more like a step tracker that you wear around your wrist. However they may look, most are synced up to an app so that you can get all the sun data you need on your phone, making sun safety easier than ever.

Because, let’s be honest: Even with the best intentions, sunburns can happen—so it’s best to take proper precautions.

To stay sun safe, here’s exactly how much sunscreen you should be wearing, according to a dermatologist. And these are the best natural sunscreens

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