What’s the deal with all these home UV cameras?
If you’re wondering if you’ve applied enough sunscreen, investing in a UV camera can certainly help. “Many people regularly use sunscreen, but still get sunburns, dark spots, [and] experience photoaging of the skin,” says Bai, mainly due to not enough SPF and forgetting to reapply. UV cameras can serve as a visual reminder to cover all your bases, so to speak.
“These cameras can be useful as an interesting tool to help people make sure they are protecting their skin properly from the sun,” adds Rodney. That being said, you shouldn’t completely rely on these cameras when it comes to proper sun protection. “Their accuracy and reliability can vary depending on the particular camera and its calibration,” Rodney notes, so you need to make sure you find a high-quality unit.
They’re also not completely foolproof: If it’s been more than two hours since you last reapplied, but your skin still looks protected on camera, you should still go ahead and buff. Conventional sunscreens prevail over trendy ones.
And if you’re thinking about using your camera to compare two sunscreen formulas side-by-side, think again! “Chemical and mineral sunscreens look different under UV light,” Rodney says, and one type doesn’t protect your skin better than the other. Even mineral sunscreens themselves can look a bit off depending on the emollients or tints in the formula, Bai tells me.