If you're not already wearing sunscreen regularly, here's something to convince you. Photographer Thomas Leveritt modified his camera to record people in the ultraviolet spectrum, which highlights freckles and sun damage unnoticeable to the naked eye. He captured strangers' shocked reactions at viewing their faces in a way they never had before. Leveritt also asked his subjects to apply sunscreen to show how under the camera's filter, the white lotion shows up like black war paint.
The video — which has more than 12 million views on YouTube as of Aug. 25 — has people singing the praises of sunscreen, which, aside from leading to better looking skin, can actually save your life. Earlier this summer, the U.S. surgeon general warned that about 9,000 people die each year from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer and a mostly preventable disease. But promoting the benefits of sunscreen wasn't Leveritt's intention.
"I haven't particularly been a proponent of sunscreen, I'm a much bigger proponent of cameras and tech," he said in an email to NBC News. But when trying out an experiment to test inexpensive sunglasses using his customized camera setup, he found something much more compelling: people's faces. "The reactions of people to their own faces produced such a wide palette of emotions that I thought would make a wonderful montage," Leveritt said. The internet agrees.
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