Odds are you’re one of the 10 million people who’ve already viewed “How the Sun Sees You,” a video created by photographer and writer Thomas Leveritt. It shows the reactions of random New Yorkers who view themselves through the lens of an ultraviolet camera, fitted with filters that allow UV rays to pass through while blocking visible and infrared light. Suddenly, people found their faces dotted with spots and freckles they haven’t ever seen in the mirror—clusters of melanin, a skin pigment that absorbs UV rays. Understandably, these folks seem a little horrified. That’s when Leveritt asks them to apply sunscreen and check the camera again. This time, they’re shocked: The sunscreen appears to be completely black.
Why black? Sunscreen is designed to absorb UV radiation so that damaging rays don’t reach the skin. It’s absorbing all of the light’s energy, rather than reflecting it. It acts, in other words, like a bulletproof vest for your skin. Our assesment? WEAR SUNSCREEN!