Recently, my mom made the analogy that having a good tan today is similar to how smoking cigarettes was in the 70s: totally hot, totally ‘in’, and totally bad for you.

To achieve this natural-looking glow, people across the country flock to the tanning salons. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than one million Americans use tanning salons on an average day. To give that statistic some frightening relevance, the Skin Cancer Foundation also says that indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Scared yet?

Regardless of whether or not you are an avid tanning salon go-er, skin cancer affects us all, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the United States, with two million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year. One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. If you’re not scared now, you’ve got to be invincible.

As I’m sure you’ve heard countless times, it is best for our skin if we wear sunscreen while outdoors, or, better yet, stay out of the sun completely.

But, for those of us who reject the idea of living in a closet, frolicking about in the sun can be justified by using sunscreen to protect our skin. Right? Sure, if we apply it generously and frequently enough for it to do its job. But, the problem is: How do I know when to re-apply it? I just recently found out that the old poke-the-red-splotch-on-my-arm-to-see-if-I’m-burning trick really doesn’t work. So, what to do?

UV Sun Sense markets itself for exactly this purpose: telling you when you need to re-apply. Sounds like just the thing I need.

After it was unanimously decided that my skin was “the fairest of them all” (unfortunately for me not in the ‘fairy tale princess’ sense), I was consequently nominated to try out the UV Sun Sense wristbands.

I made my way down to our neighborhood’s local park, after cheerfully informing my parents that it was “for work purposes.” After positioning my towel neatly on the side of a grassy hill, and after blinding a few innocent locals with the frighteningly white shade of my skin tone, I opened up the UV Sun Sense package and put on a wristband. The adjustable straps made it easy to fit the band just the way I wanted, so even though wearing it made me feel a little bit like I was at a water or amusement park, at least it was comfortable.  Immediately, the color of the band turned bright purple, signaling that it was exposed to sunlight and had been activated. I applied my SPF 30 sunscreen generously, making sure to cover the bracelet as well, as the directions on the package instructed.

While waiting for my handy wristband to tell me when I needed to reapply, I decided to do some extreme lounging.  As evident from my ghastly white skin tone, I am not one who spends time tanning or lying out in the sun, partly because I’ve never been good at occupying myself while doing so. I read part of a magazine, a chapter and a half of a new book, two chapters of an old book, people-watched, and squirmed for about an hour and forty minutes before my wristband turned a light pink color – time to reapply!

I most likely would have reapplied sooner. But, that might simply be because I am so used to being conscious of my skin, as I am rarely out in the sun and, when I am, always burn. So, if you’re one of those people who spends lots of time out in the sun, sometimes for hours on end, this is a cheap and easy way to make sure you remember to reapply. Overall, UV Sun Sense definitely works and is pretty inexpensive, so it all depends on whether or not you’re the type that forgets. Happy sunning!