Alara – Enjoy the sun, safely.

2 Jul

A few years ago a friend of mine, whom I served with in the Air Force, was diagnosed with Melanoma. Upon his diagnosis he was medically discharged from service. I won’t go into the details but suffice to say dealing with melanoma has been very difficult for him and his family.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and is most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. When people think of skin cancer they tend to dismiss it as something minor, but Melanoma kills a nearly 10,000 people in the US every year. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, more than 135,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed every year. Fortunately, if recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable. One simple step to prevent Melanoma is limiting your exposure to the sun when the UV radiation is high. Unfortunately, you can’t tell what the UV index is just by looking outside. Ozone depletion, as well as seasonal and weather variations, cause different amounts of UV radiation to reach the Earth at any given time. UV radiation can be high on cloudy days and low on sunny days, it isn’t directly related to the weather.

My wife and I are also light skinned and freckled. Melanoma risk is around double in people with freckles, compared with people without freckles. We have to be careful about how much sun exposure we get. But we also love outdoor activities like running, hiking, and going on walks. I often find myself checking the UV index throughout the day to see when the best time is to go outdoors and enjoy the sun.

We wanted an app that would let us see what the UV index is expected to be throughout the day and to suggest how to best protect ourselves at times when the UV rays are most harmful.

Not finding an app that met our needs, I made one.

I’m proud to announce Alara is available on the AppStore.


I’m a software developer, and always wished I could make more of a positive impact on peoples lives. I hope Alara helps in some small way.