Small round purple stickers could play a vital role in the fight again skin ageing, according to new research by the Queensland University of Technology.

The university trialed the effectiveness of  UV detection stickers, which change colour to warn people when the effect of their sunscreen is wearing off and needs to be reapplied, on 428 visitors at the 2017 Ashes Test at the Gabba.

During the two-day event, 369 people received the UV stickers to wear for one day plus sunscreen while the other 59 were just given sunscreen.

According to the study’s head researcher, Dr Elke Hacker, 80 percent of the participants who received the stickers were prompted to reapply protective sunscreen.

“Adherence was high among those given the UV detection stickers, with 95 percent of people using them,” he said.

“And 80 percent of this group reported that they had reapplied sunscreen during the day, compared to 68 per cent in the control group who didn’t have the stickers.”

He said the study proved that the stickers were “effective reminders to reapply sunscreen throughout the day when people are outside for long periods of time.”

“The high rate of use of the stickers indicates this type of technology resonated with people.”

Dr Hacker did however note that while the stickers, which “are small, simple to use and provide personalised information”, were effective as a reminder, 41 of the study participants still report a mild sunburn on their face and neck despite claiming they had applied and reapplied their sunscreen.

“This suggests that perhaps people may not have applied enough sunscreen or did not apply it in a way that gave them full protection from sunburn,” he said.

“Previous studies have shown that people sometimes apply only half the recommended thickness to cover the skin.

“This is something to look at in future studies. Perhaps more public information campaigns on sunscreen amount and application technique are needed.”

The SpotMyUV stickers used during the study change colours from clear to purple when exposed to sunlight (UVA, UVB and visible light). When an adequate amount of sunscreen is applied and the UVA and UVB are blocked, the spot changes colour from purple to clear and remains that way until the UVA and UVB are no longer blocked and it’s time to reapply sunscreen.

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