Wearable Device Review: UV Exposure Tracker Violet Plus
Soaking up the sun’s warm light feels good, and it’s good for you too—but only in moderation. Skin cancer is strongly linked to exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Sunlight is also vital for health, because it supports the production of essential Vitamin D. Violet Plus, a new free app from Ultra Inc., makes it easy to determine safe sun exposure and track how much Vitamin D a user is getting from any time spent in the sun.
Making Sense of Sun Exposure
Our nearest star emits invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can even penetrate clouds, and this radiation has profound effects on the human body. UV radiation comes in two types. Ultraviolet A penetrates deeply into the skin, so it can cause premature aging of skin cells. Ultraviolet B affects the surface of the skin, causing sunburn. Overexposure to both UVA and UVB radiation can cause cellular changes that may lead to skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
But UVB radiation also affects cholesterol in skin cells, triggering the process that produces Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for healthy bones, digestion and mood. Experts estimate that just 15 minutes in the midday sun can supply all the Vitamin D most people need.
Weather reports often include information on the day’s UV load and safe times to be in the sun. But those calculations can’t take into consideration individual skin types and other factors that affect both the risk of overexposure and the amount of sunlight needed to get the day’s supply of Vitamin D. Sunlight tracker apps like Violet Plus can provide those answers.
Violet Plus: A Sunlight Tracker for Everyone
Ultra’s Violet family of UV trackers offers personalized information about safe sun exposure through a free app powered by the insights of biomedical research. The Violet app can be downloaded from reputable app stores everywhere, and makes detailed information on sun exposure available on any device. The Violet app combines data about a user’s skin type with information about sun intensity and UV exposure taken from local weather data. Along with that, the app reveals how much Vitamin D a user gets from sun exposure at any given time.
The Violet app is user friendly and always available on any smartphone or tablet, but Ultra’s new Violet Plus makes its features even easier to access. Violet Plus is a wearable device that can be worn as a wristband or clipped anywhere nearby, and it offers an array of features for managing sun exposure and tracking Vitamin D levels.
Violet Plus works with the Violet app to provide detailed, personalized guidance for safe sun exposure. Users can enter custom information such as skin type and sunscreen use into the app which calculates the complete amount of UV exposure needed and alerts users when it’s time to step out of the sun. Violet Plus can also record the amount of Vitamin D each sun session produces and calculates how much is needed for optimal health.
Violet Plus is always on, and its replaceable battery provides up to 6 months of battery life. Although it needs the Violet app for storing information and programming preferences, it can also work without a smartphone. Violet Plus gets real-time UV exposure data from its own built-in sensors, not from local weather information. Lights on the device alert users to time left in the sun, and a vibration signals potential overexposure to UV light.
Plans and Pricing
The Violet Plus is not yet available for purchase. Ultra invites interested visitors to sign up on the company website to be notified when the Violet Plus wearable becomes available and get a chance to win a free device. In the meantime, the Violet app is free to download and use on its own.
Violet Plus Alternatives
Violet Plus isn’t the only wearable UV-tracking device available. Several similar devices also track UV rays, sun exposure and a variety of other metrics. These include:
QSun is an affordable clip-on UV tracker that detects UV exposure and calculates UV index—the measure of how strong UV radiation is at any given moment. QSun also uses skin type to determine how long it’s safe to stay in the sun, and alerts users when it’s time to seek shade. The QSun app for Android and iOS can also use step count data from Apple Health and Google Fit to determine how much daily activity took place in safe UV exposure. QSun retails for $59USD from the company website.
Shade is a clinical grade UV tracker that clips to any accessory or piece of clothing. Its sensors measure both UVA and UVB rays, even indoors, and the tracker vibrates to signal when wearers are reaching the safe UV limit. The free Shade app is Android and iOS compatible, and can also factor in sunscreen use. Shade costs $249USD from the manufacturer’s site.
My Skin Track UV
My Skin Track UV from LaRoche-Posay is a battery-powered clip on UV tracker that alerts users when they’re close to reaching their “UV Max,” based on skin tone, UV index and other factors. My Skin Track UV is activated by the sun, so it doesn’t need a battery. For more information on the safest times to be outdoors, the device also shows real-time humidity, pollen and pollution levels. My Skin Track UV also comes with a bracelet for more wearing options, and retails from the company site for $59.95USD.
Reviews and Comments
Because the Violet Plus wearable is not yet widely available, reviews and customer comments relate to the Violet app. Users like the multiple features that include both UV tracking, exposure time and Vitamin D levels, but dislike the fact that the app must be manually turned on and off for tracking. Others report problems with logging in and personalizing the app.
Sunshine is essential for good health, but getting just the right amount can be challenging. With tools for calculating UV exposure, Vitamin D levels and more, Ultra’s Violet Plus takes the guesswork out of spending time in the sun.
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