Getting sunburned sucks. It’s painful, it makes you look like a well-cooked lobster and it can lead to a whole host of skin problems. Sunburn is also by far the most important risk factor in the development of a number of skin cancers and other skin pathologies. But how do you know how much sun exposure is too much? Sunblock is a new app developed by Threads that provides all the information you need to stay safe in the sun.
Sunblock uses your geographical location (requires internet or GPS) and retrieves the UV index both for the current day and the next week. For each day of the week, Sunblock will calculate:
- How long you can spend in the sun without protection before you will get burnt
- How long you can spend in the sun with SPF protection
There is a slider on the screen that enables you to adjust the SPF level from 0 – 80 to adjust for your own sunscreen protection. If you alter the SPF, Sunblock will automatically recalculate how long you can spend out in the sun before you start to burn.
Sunblock also features a number of options that allow you to customize the data to your own personal circumstances. This is important to do because there are many factors besides the UV index that can alter how quickly you burn. You can identify whether you are in or near a snow-covered area or the ocean/beach and Sunblock will adjust the results accordingly. Sunblock also accounts for altitude, as higher altitudes correlate with increased levels of solar radiation.
The most important setting to check in Sunblock is “Skintype”. If in doubt, the developers correctly note that it’s best to select the lighter type. There are six skin types listed in total and range from skin type 1: “White skin with freckles that always burns and never tans. Blue eyes and red hair” to skin type 6: “Black skin that never burns and always tans. Brown eyes and black hair is normal for this skin type”.
Sunblock features a color-coded world map that identifies regions with high levels of solar radiation. It’s a cool feature – but I’m not completely sold on its day-to-day usefulness.
Bottom Line: With the dangers of too much sun exposure well known – Sunblock really is an invaluable tool. It’s especially useful for those people with fair skin that need to closely watch how long they spend outdoors.
Sunblock requires the 2.2.1 iPhone software update and is compatible with both the iPhone & the iPod Touch.