While most people appreciate getting a little sun, we can oftentimes mistake actual sun damage for a good tan. It seems simple enough, but we fail to recognize that, much like a bun in the oven, our skin is essentially being baked by the sun's rays. In fact, regardless of color, dark or light, the rays still damage our skin, though on different scales. In a video by artist Thomas Leveritt, he asks participants to look at their face under a UV light and through a specific camera filter. He then has them apply sunscreen to their faces. There is a visible difference under the UV light and a noticeable addition from the sunscreen too. However, while the video does stress the importance of sunscreen, what does this all really mean?
Courtesy of DNews, we're reminded that darker colors absorb more than lighter colors. Therefore, we see where on these peoples' faces their skin absorbs more UV light and where it doesn't (where dark spots appear). Those spots show where our skin is being affected by the sun. As UV rays pass through our skin's layers they can eventually encounter melanin in the epidermis, the inner layer of our skin. It is the melanin that scatters the UV rays before any harm can come to our DNA. Our skin thus tans in an effort to prevent the sun's UV rays from affecting the layers below our epidermis. 

When we spend too much time in the sun and get sunburned, the redness and throbbing we experience are a result of the body sending more blood to the affected area in an effort to heal the damage. So what can we do to prevent sun damage? The obvious answer seems to be sunscreen. We're often bombarded with advertisements or personal advice from loved ones who lecture us on the importance of sunscreen. In fact, Leveritt's message is seemingly the same. 

But does sunscreen really help? The answer is yes; however, it's not the perfect solution to prevent skin cancer. In fact, regardless of whether the sky is clear or if it's overcast, UV rays still affect your skin and unfortunately sunscreen isn't the ultimate protection either. In a molecular study by scientists at Manchester University and London’s Institute of Cancer Research on malignant melanoma, the results found that even the highest grade SPF 50 still allowed enough radiation to damage cells.

Does that mean we should fear the sun and live out our lives like vampires from now on? No. Leveritt's video should remind us though that a healthy mixture of sunscreen, shade and maybe a hat can prevent excess sun damage while still allowing us to enjoy a beautiful day.