UV detection stickers can assist people to reapply sunscreen

Prev Med. 2019 Jul:124:67-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 May 9.


Sunscreen when applied at the recommended concentration (2 mg/cm2) has been shown to block the harmful molecular effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in vivo. In real world conditions, however, sunscreen is often not applied/reapplied sufficiently to yield protection. This field study tested the effectiveness of UV detection stickers to prevent sunburn and improve reapplication of sunscreen. During the Ashes Cricket Test match event (November 2017) in Brisbane, Australia interested spectators were recruited into the control group on DAY-1 and during subsequent days (DAY-2, DAY-3, DAY-4) new participants were recruited into the UV-Sticker group. Participants in both groups were provided with free sunscreen and participants in the UV-Sticker group were additionally provided with a UV detection sticker. Primary outcomes were self-reported sunburns and reapplication of sunscreen. Secondary endpoints included satisfaction with the UV detection stickers. 813 participants enrolled in the study, and complete data is available for 428 participants (52.6% response rate, n = 369 UV detection sticker, n = 59 control). Participants provided with a UV detection sticker were more likely to re-apply sunscreen than controls (80% vs 68%, p = 0.04); but do not reduce sunburn rates. UV detection stickers may improve sunscreen re-application in a high UV-environment. Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand clinical trials register (ACTRN12617001572358).

Keywords: Health promotion; Melanoma; Preventive medicine; Public health; Skin neoplasms; Smartphones; Sunburn; Sunlight; Sunscreening agents; Web applications.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / prevention & control*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Sunscreening Agents

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12617001572358