Photographer Thomas Leveritt is hoping his video will help shed light on the importance of sunscreen and it seems to be having an effect.
The video, which has been licensed by ABC News, shows how skin appears when viewed under ultraviolet lights. The difference is like night and day.
People of diverse races are seen approaching the camera and then standing to be viewed. Many of them gasp to see the appearance of their skin under the UV light, which shows the appearance of the skin beyond what can be seen by the naked eye.
Also compelling is what happens when people apply sunscreen to their faces. The portion of skin that’s covered by the lotion appears under the UV as solid black streaks. Levitt says this shows that sunscreen can indeed block UV rays.
“I think what’s interesting about the UV camera is that it shows you exactly how effective sunscreen can be,” he said in a Skype interview with ABC News. “People are so used to being told about certain product’s scientific quality, but when they’re finally shown, it’s a much more deep and emotional impact.”
The video was published to YouTube Aug. 12. As of Monday night, it had been viewed more than 9 million times.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the publication JAMA Dermatology.
Dr. Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist, said people need to be “sun smart.”
“We know that skin cancer can happen in every skin type … everyone should have their skin checked at least once a year. And if you have a lot of spots check more often,” she said.
“Studies show that if you use sunscreen everyday all year round, that you lower your risk of skin cancer and aging by 20 percent.”