This selfie app aims to prevent skin cancer

Sunface app

Malignant melanoma and sunbed use are on the rise globally. Faced with many young patients with metastasized melanoma during his daily work, Titus J. Brinker, MD — a dermatologist from Essen University Hospital in Germany — came up with an idea for the app that aims to prevent sunbed use and sunburns especially in young target groups.

And so the Sunface app was born to allow the user to take a selfie and then offer three categories — “daily sun protection”, “no sun protection” and “weekly sunbed” — looking 5-25 years at one’s own future face. All effects are based on the individual skin type the user can choose at the start of the app. It also shows the most common UV-induced skin cancers via extra buttons and calculates how the risk is increased with different behaviors. In addition, the app gives advice on sun protection, explains the facial changes and how to detect skin cancer on your own skin.

“Research shows that the main motivation for the use of sunbeds is the strong belief that tanning makes you attractive. The opposite is the case. Adequate sun protection and staying away from sunbeds does both: Preventing skin aging and malignant melanoma,” says Dr. Brinker.

According to Prof. Dr. Dirk Schadendorf, MD, a world-renowned scientist in the field of melanoma research, Sunface has the potential to “become an important part of international prevention strategies as it reaches specifically young risk groups.”

The app is available for the iPhone and Android-based devices.