Paper Wristband Helps Aussies Monitor UV Exposure

Scientists have found an easy way to help Australians monitor their sun exposure.

And it's as simple as wearing a paper wristband.

A new ultra-violet sensor can tell you when you've had too much sun, or just a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Scientists have developed an invisible ink that turns blue under UV light.

The more ink that's revealed the higher the exposure.

The ink, or the surface it's printed on, can also be adjusted to reflect the UV absorption of six different skin tones.

Researchers say knowing what a healthy amount of UV is depends on personal classification, from Type 1 to 6, as each has very different solar exposure needs.

For example Type 1 or fair-skinned people can only tolerate one fifth of the UV exposure that dark-skinned (Type 6) people can before damage occurs.

Similarly people with darker skin types require spending a longer time in the sun in order to absorb healthy amounts of Vitamin D.

"We identified a molecule which can actually do the job in a very very easy fashion," Professor Vupil Bansal from RMIT University told Ten Eyewitness News.

"You can make it in any variable format, wrist band, hair band, a sticker for kids school bags and so on," Bansal said.

“The low cost and child-friendly design of these UV sensors will facilitate their use as educational materials to increase awareness around sun safety.”

Unveiling their research on Wednesday Bansal said they were excited that their technology allows for personalised sensors that can be matched to individual needs.

At the moment the only guide for managing sun exposure is the UV index - that indicates the intensity of UV rays but it doesn't tell you how much sun is healthy for individual skin types.

In 2014 Ben Kerslake was diagnosed with stage four melanoma, despite being careful in the sun.

"It would have been really useful for me," Kerslake told Ten Eyewitness News.

"I'm a fairly fair skinned person and I would have taken advantage of these had they been around years ago."

The sensor is in its early stages, and needs more testing, but researchers hope it'll be available to the public by the Summer of 2020.