SPOTMYUV® Takes the Guesswork Out of Sunscreen

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Senior Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 16 May 2023 | Allies & Partnerships, Prevention

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Your skin is your body's largest organ, protecting you from external bacteria and chemicals while also helping regulate your body temperature. Simply put, your skin is your body's first line of defense.

Not only does your skin protect you from external contaminants, but it also protects you from dangerous UV rays by increasing the amount of melanin it produces. Melanin is responsible for skin color and tone. The darker your natural skin tone, the more melanin you have. However, even among people with very dark skin, melanin still doesn't provide enough protection from the effects of the sun, like premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. That's why it's so important to protect your skin by covering it with clothing, regularly wearing sunscreen, and seeking shade. 

When used correctly and combined with other sun protection measures, sunscreen is very effective at protecting your exposed skin from UV damage. However, like many things, the devil is in the details.

People make several mistakes when using sunscreen, including:

  • Not wearing it every day, even if it's cloudy. According to the World Meteorological Organization, up to 80% of UV rays penetrate cloud cover to reach your skin.1
  • Not applying enough sunscreen. Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen.2 Dermatologists suggest applying one ounce to your body (at least the size of a shot glass) and about 1/3 of a teaspoon (about the size of a nickel) for your face. 
  • Not reapplying sunscreen at least every two hours. As sunscreen protects you, it naturally breaks down. That's why you should regularly reapply to ensure consistent protection. If you are sweating or swimming, you should also apply more frequently.
  • Using old sunscreens without checking the expiration date. Sunscreens are required to retain their original strength for at least three years. Before using sunscreen, be sure to check the expiration date!

SPOTMYUV®, a new product created by nanotechnology engineers from the University of Waterloo, Andrew Martinko and Chad Sweeting, was developed to help you avoid these common pitfalls and make the most of sunscreen. "We set out to answer why we were still getting burned despite wearing sunscreen, and SPOTMYUV was the solution we came up with," said co-founder and co-inventor of SPOTMYUV Chad Sweeting.


SPOTMYUV is the world's first clinically proven UV detection sticker that gives you a personalized reminder of when to reapply sunscreen. After applying a purple SPOTMYUV sticker and covering it with sunscreen, it will turn clear, indicating that you're protected from the sun's harmful UV rays. When your sunscreen wears off, the SPOTMYUV sticker will turn purple again, reminding you to reapply your sunscreen. 

SPOTMYUV gives you a genuinely personalized indicator of when to reapply your sunscreen. For example, two friends, Pete and Sandy, apply sunscreen as they get to the beach. However, Pete gets into the ocean while Sandy reads under an umbrella. Based on Pete's activities, his SPOTMYUV sticker will turn purple earlier than Sandy's, indicating that he needs to reapply sunscreen. "We designed SPOTMYUV to work for everyone, including those with the most sensitive skin," said Sweeting.

SPOTMYUV is a straightforward concept, but a lot of technology and work goes into it," said Sweeting.

Each SPOTMYUV sticker is made of three layers that work together. The first layer, DermaTrue™, is a patented skin-mimicking SPF absorption layer. The second layer uses a non-toxic, UV-sensing ink that turns purple in the presence of UV and is transparent when protected by enough sunscreen in direct sunlight. Finally, a hypoallergenic and waterproof adhesive keeps the SPOT firmly planted for a day in the sun. Combined, SPOTMYUV gives you a real-time way to monitor your sunscreen coverage. 

resize SMUV article 2At a sun safety awareness event for media hosted by SPOTMYUV, Charmaine Cooper – an educator, online influencer, and author of two books on skin care – broke down the many ways that UV rays damage skin, lead to premature aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer. "Education is necessary," said Cooper. "Education is the only way people can modify their behavior."

She also highlighted a study conducted in South Africa in 2017. The study determined that melanin-rich communities were the least aware of the importance of sun safety, something that she hopes tools like SPOTMYUV can help correct.

"I believe that the skin is the most brilliant and complex organ we have. The number one threat to skin health is unprotected UV exposure. No matter what the skin tone, creed, or culture, we all need protection," said Cooper.

"We set out to create something that would take the guesswork out of sunscreen," said Sweeting. "With SPOTMYUV, you can protect yourself and those you love while enjoying your time outside."

SPOTMYUV is available online at, and