L’Oreal’s tiny UV sensor goes on a fingernail, measures your sun exposure

We all know too much sun is bad for you, but many of us can’t deny that we’ve accidentally (or intentionally) spent a little too much time soaking up some rays. Sunscreen is obviously a must when heading out for a day at the beach or the pool but the sun can be sneaky and we can easily be exposed to its ultraviolet rays without being aware—like while riding in a car or just sitting near a well-lit window.

L’Oreal, one of the world’s top beauty companies, is now introducing wearable technology that can help protect us from the sun even when we didn’t know we needed it.

UV Sense, which is touted by L’Oreal as the first battery-free wearable electronic UV sensor, measures UV exposure via a tiny, electronic sensor that can be worn on your fingernail, which is a part of your body that the beauty company says receives maximum sun exposure.

You could also put the device on something else exposed to sunlight, like sunglasses or a hat, but it’s reusable and re-adhesive, so if you decide to stick it right on your fingernail, its minimal design makes it look like nail art. Check it out on the model’s right thumbnail below.


UV Sense builds on the design of My UV Patch, which was released in 2016 by La Roche-Posay, but is smaller, can be worn for longer periods of time—up to two weeks, then reapplied with new adhesive—and allows more monitoring of exposure to show trends over time and offer instant updates.

And, like all technology nowadays, it of course works with an app that syncs and translates the data, helping users determine where they should be careful about their UV exposure—like near a favorite window or on a particular running route.

The image below, from L’Oreal, shows what’s inside the sensor, which is about 2 millimeters thick and 9 millimeters in diameter.


L’Oreal’s UV Sense is expected to be available through dermatologists for summer 2018, with a global launch expected in 2019. There is no word yet on how much it will cost. For now, always be sure to limit your sun exposure and take precautions when you’re heading outside.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one person dies of melanoma every 54 minutes, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.

skin cancer photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

Luckily, keeping an eye on your skin can help you detect the cancer early if you’ve already had a bit too much sun exposure. The best way to scan your skin for suspicious moles is the “ABCDE” method.

Would you try a wearable UV monitor?