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This is what suntans really do to your skin

Prepare to never go outside again.


Mike Fenn


Posted on Aug 14, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 6:42 pm CDT

Despite decades of cancer warnings and an overabundance of skin care products, people still spent the summer soaking in the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. But a New York-based artist decided to try a different tactic and show people what human skin looks like in UV light.

In a YouTube video highlighting the stunt, artist Thomas Leveritt asks people to peer into a camera. When doing so, they see their own faces emblazoned with some of the sun’s not-too-flattering effects, such as freckles and other skin irritations, thanks to the use of a UV camera. 

More suprising, perhaps, is what a dab of sunscreen does to UV rays—you have to see it to believe it.

Only time will tell if Leveritt’s experiment will finally give potential skin cancer victims a much-needed wake-up call. After all, people are, in general, creatures of habit. In the meantime, perhaps the message will get across if we oversaturate this particular Throwback Thursday with a reminder of just how truly unforgiving a sun can be.

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Photo by yopuz/Flickr (CC BY SA-2.0)

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*First Published: Aug 14, 2014, 2:22 pm CDT