Wear sunscreen. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can tell you that.  While some of us have wisely taken on this long-established advice, an alarming amount of people still brave the sun’s UV rays without sunblock.

If you’re still not serious about lathering up before your next outing in the scorching Philippine sun, the photos and video featured below might just be able to persuade you.

An American photographer, Cara Philips’ project titled Ultraviolet Beauties, reveals the underlying effects of excessive sun exposure through a series of unflattering yet illuminating photos. Using UV photography techniques, she provides the complete picture of skin damage by showcasing every blemish, freckle and speck of pigmentation on each subject’s face. It’s sun damage that is not (yet) visible to the naked eye.

Don’t get us wrong – we think freckles are adorable, but the truth is they are a sign of sun damage. 

UV photo by Cara Phillips


Inspired by photos she spotted in skin clinics, Phillips started a project recreating the process used by dermatologists to detect skin damage. She set up a makeshift studio in the streets of New York and invited strangers to sit inside her DIY UV camera booth, luring them in with “free portraits.”

Her goal was simple: to create a series of images that both enhances and reveals the subject’s flaws. These “anti-portraits” reveal the subjects’ skin damage while also aiming to capture their inner beauty.

ultraviolet photo by Cara Phillips

UV photo of woman with freckles
(untitled) ultraviolet #8 by Cara Phillips

The black and white UV photos show people the real score with their skin. They reveal not-yet-visible freckles, sunburn, and tan lines, showing deepening smile lines and crow’s feet which are usually invisible to the naked eye.

importance of sunscreen_UV light portrait

importance of sunscreen_woman under UV light

These photographs also expose long-forgotten scars and premature aging. Phillips’ “anti-portraits” shocked people, and perhaps her work is a strong reminder for us to apply sunscreen before we head out.

RELATED: Got Sunscreen? Here’s How Much Sunscreen You Should Really Be Wearing

Last year, another New York-based artist tackled the importance of sunscreen in skin health. Tom Leveritt, an independent filmmaker, launched a video  titled How the Sun Sees You, where he used a UV light camera to show people with healthy looking skin the hidden damages caused by overexposure to the sun.

blemishes captured by UV light camera

Leveritt asked his subjects to put on sunblock in front of his UV camera. As shown in the video, the skin area where the subject applied sunblock turned jet-black; no light is being let through the skin. The sunscreen, which primarily blocks UV rays, acted as a barrier between the skin and the UV light. Watch the full video below:

the difference sunscreen makes

a woman with sunscreen under UV light

 

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