SPOTMYUV: Your Sunscreen’s New Best Friend

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Senior Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 20 May 2021 | Allies & Partnerships, Prevention

SPOTMYUV melanoma

Most people understand that if they are going to the beach, or heading out to the pool, they need to be wearing sunscreen. That’s because sunscreen is incredibly effective at protecting you from damaging UV rays when used as directed. 

‘Used as directed,’ at least when it comes to sunscreen, means you need to use about one ounce when applying it to your body (at least the size of a shot glass), AND you need to reapply every two hours or after you get out of any water.

“For most people, sunscreen compliance isn’t as good as it could be,” explained one of the founders of SPOTMYUV. “In a sense, sunscreen doesn’t fail us: we fail sunscreen because we either don’t use enough or don’t reapply often enough – and this is why we get sunburned and increase the likelihood of a skin cancer diagnosis later in life."


The engineering team behind SPOTMYUV - which includes innovators Andrew Martinko and Chad Sweeting - was inspired by this dilemma in 2014 when tasked with inventing something as the capstone of their engineering degrees at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

SPOTMYUV is the world's first clinically proven UV detection sticker that gives you a personalized reminder of when to reapply sunscreen. SPOTMYUV's patented DermaTrue™ skin-mimicking technology interacts with sunscreen at the same rate as your skin. Each time you cover the sticker with sunscreen it will turn clear, indicating that you're protected from the sun's harmful UV rays. When your sunscreen wears off, SPOTMYUV turns purple again, reminding you to reapply your sunscreen. SPOTMYUV is sweat and water-resistant, activates with both chemical and mineral sunscreens, and works with all skin tones and types.

This small sticker applied to any skin exposed to direct sunlight, such as your arm or shoulder, helps you know when to reapply sunscreen by changing color. SPOTMYUV's patented DermaTrue™ skin-mimicking technology absorbs and interacts with sunscreen at the same rate as your skin. As a result, the SPOT is transparent when sunscreen protects you and gradually turns purple as the sunscreen wears off.

By monitoring with SPOTMYUV, you get a real-time way to monitor your sunscreen exposure.

Unsurprisingly, the team earned an A on the project. And while many of their peers moved on and started to apply for jobs or look for the next opportunity, Chad, Andrew, and a colleague Derek decided to continue developing SPOTMYUV.


They took a term off of school to get into a science lab to explore their idea in earnest. Next, they began to apply for – and win – startup incubator prizes that allowed them to continue to flesh out their concept and the technology needed to make it happen. The trio, and their technology, continued to win awards – including the James Dyson Award in 2014, which “celebrates, encourages, and inspires the next generation of design engineers.” 

"At that point, the SPOTMYUV project became more than a hobby," said one of the founders, Derek. "We realized that SPOTMYUV can help people use sunscreen better."

SMU ANATOMY 3 layerEach SPOT sticker is made of three layers that work together. The first layer, DermaTrue™, is a patented skin-mimicking SPF sensing layer that acts like your skin. The second layer uses a non-toxic, UV-sensing ink that turns purple in the presence of UV and clear when protected by enough sunscreen in sunlight. Finally, a hypoallergenic and waterproof adhesive keeps the SPOT firmly planted for a day in the sun. 


“While the technology that makes SPOTMYUV work is complicated, using it isn’t,” said Derek. “If the SPOT is clear, you are good to go, but if it turns purple, it’s time to reapply your sunscreen.” 


SPOTMYUV can now be purchased online through Amazon, online at Target, or directly from