Skin photos reveal the true impact of the sun

When you look in the mirror each day do you really see the true impact of the sun on your face? Or do you simply put on your make-up and get on with your day? Most of us do the latter. But a new project is showing us the beauty of the depth of our skin and the warnings we should take from these images.

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Ultraviolet Beauties

Cara Phillips is a Brooklyn-based photographer who has brought together a collection of photos that she is describing as “Ultraviolet Beauties”. The photos show the skin in a special light that reveals blemishes and freckles. While these types of ultraviolet photos with their blemish and age spot revealing intensity, are usually used by beauticians and cosmetic consultants, Cara has decided they deserved a more artistic presence.

The project certainly makes us understand the importance of looking after our skin because the damage may not be immediately obvious. Dermatologists agree that the images do help them with the diagnosis of skin cancer risk – although are not a marker for melanomas. For example, those people with fair skin are more likely to have very freckled skin under the special light, while those with dark skin may show few signs of sun damage. Skin cancer pictures could shed more light on this.

When these freckles clump together – something that can only be seen more clearly under ultraviolet light – it is clear evidence of further damage that could lead to issues in later life. For this reason, it is recommended that everyone visits a dermatologist once every year to have a full-body check for moles that may be moving into melanoma territory. This visit may also include one of these stunning ultraviolet portraits.

Sun avoidance?

Unless you especially would like to become a subject for Cara’s next exhibition, you probably want to avoid getting too many freckles on your skin and there are plenty of ways to do so. Avoiding the sun is the most obvious, but you can also use sunscreen, wear clothing to cover your skin, stay in the shade and even remember to use aftersun as it has been shown to protect the skin.

You may not have an ultraviolet light at home, but you can still check your skin for telltale signs of potential skin cancer. Simply counting the number of moles on one arm will indicate if you are high risk (more than ten and you should keep a special watch) or track moles using the SkinVision app. Also watch for symptoms yourself: signs of skin cancer moles including bleeding, irritation, size and shape changes and crusting of the skin surface.

Image credits: Cara Phillips


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