It's one of the weird parts of being human; we live in these bodies of ours, sleeping, eating, working and walking our lives away, but we never see much of them beyond the surface. Yet, for the most part (if we are lucky, and take care of ourselves), our bags of bones just keep going. So when projects pop up that allow us to see our physical selves from a new perspective, it's a glimpse inside a mysterious world — one that couldn't be closer.
The video below, "How the Sun Sees You" is an exploration of skin; filmed with and without UV filters on the camera, it's easy to see each volunteer's skin normally and then how the sun sees it. The people with the lightest skins, not surprisingly, show more freckles and other signs of sun exposure, while kids and those with darker skin show less.
It's pretty fascinating stuff, and visually dramatic for some of the participants, though the effects of sun are less shocking than they look. For those with lighter skin, it's normal to have some freckling due to sun exposure — it's the body's way of protecting itself. (There's a difference between freckling and severe sun damage, both of which can be seen with UV filters.)
And while the makers of this video are pushing sunscreen (why not other forms of sun protection?), and it's always a good reminder to use care when it comes to sun exposure, this video might scare some people away from spending time outside. Moderate time in the sun allows your body to create vitamin D naturally
— and with low vitamin D levels believed to be responsible for a growing number of mental
and physical health issues
, that matters too.
Should you be careful about sun exposure? Of course, especially if you have lighter skin. But getting moderate, consistent sun is also healthy; and vitamin D is important enough that getting some sun on skin sans sunblock should be part of a healthy routine. So while the video above is pretty dramatic, I'm personally not going to be wearing any sunblock
anytime soon. I'll keep from getting sun damage by staying out of the most extreme daytime sun, covering up and hanging out in the shade, and enjoying some block-free sun most afternoons or mornings.
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