Monitors help beat threat of sunburn

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The Independent Online
The sensible sun worshipper has a new fashion essential. Along with the hats, sunglasses and protection creams that are a must for all those fleeing our wintry spring for sunnier holiday spots this bank holiday weekend, the latest accessory is a sun monitor, writes Tamsin Blanchard.

Stickers, paper wristbands, T-shirts and hats containing sun-sensitive materials now act as a guide to when the skin has had enough exposure.

Their production comes as skin cancer is on the increase. The Health Education Authority says the number of cases of skin cancer has risen by 100 per cent over the past 10 years; it is now the second most common form of cancer, with more than 40,000 new cases each year. Many sunbathers realise the dangers of over-exposure to the sun and now buy more powerful protection creams, but these do not enable people to stay on the beach all day long.

The Suncheck, launched last week, is a simple peel-off strip or sticker which shows people when their bronzing bodies are at risk of permanent damage, and they should take cover.

The device, developed by the Sherwood Skincare cosmetics company, works when a sunbather smears his body with sunscreen as usual. When part of the sticker is peeled away, a treated area changes colour to mirror a shade of blue that denotes your skin type. Depending on whether your skin is normal, sensitive, or supersensitive, you then know when you have had enough damaging ultraviolet rays for a day.

Another firm, Creative Expressions, has launched UV monitor clothing. Its T-shirts and baseball hats are printed with designs that only become visible with exposure to sunlight.

Similar UV monitor and light- sensitive motif clothing is also being sold by mail-order by the Health Education Authority. The HEA, whose summer motto is "shift to the shade", has devised a range of French legionnaire- style hats, wrap-around sunglasses, beach umbrellas, T-shirts and an all- in-one neck-to-knee sun suit.

SunCheck monitors are available from pounds 2.99 for a pack of 14. For details ring 0115 943 1109. For a free HEA Sun Know How catalogue, ring 0181 462 1438.