How the sun sees you
August 14, 2014 3:14 PM   Subscribe

As someone who'se people hail from cold rainy islands in the North Sea allow me to express my ancestral hatred of the sun and all its works.
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]

My grandfather spent a lot of time outdoors, especially fly fishing. Even though he went bald at an early age, he rarely wore sun protection of any sort. He had a couple of (fortunately benign) melanomas removed from his scalp when I was young, and when it started to become evident in my late teens that I was probably going to go bald early as well, he made sure I knew to wear a hat when I was outside. It's advice I've taken to heart. Or head.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:33 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

"an ultraviolet camera can show not-yet-visible changes to your skin"
"everyone's born with good skin"
"health skin is easy to spot"

Hmm. All I see is some stereotypical marketing claims and a video showing that people look crappy and weird using a UV camera.
posted by sneebler at 3:56 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I thought the sunscreen portion was amazing, although is it because it's a physical block as opposed to a chemical block? I thought that there are different types of sunscreens?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:56 PM on August 14

Ok, fine. I was just about to go out to work in the yard a few hours and I've been stopped again with this same great advice. Thanks for the timely post.
posted by klausman at 3:57 PM on August 14

I do like technology giving you a new perspective on things.

This one (accidentally?) gave me the perspective of a minority who doesn't fit the implicit beauty standards of popular media, given how it seemed to assume I would be horrified to discover I'm covered in freckles. I don't need a fancy camera to see that, just a mirror.
posted by RobotHero at 4:02 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]

posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:07 PM on August 14

In people, the primary purpose of melanin (besides colouring hair) is to protect skin cells from UV damage, which it does by absorbing the UV light rather than letting it hit the DNA. So the fact that freckles show up is completely unsurprising, since freckles are clusters of melanin.

But the way it's been presented is pretty damn cool, and the part with the glasses and sunscreen is so striking that it might just manage to get people to use sunscreen more (and wear glasses).
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:14 PM on August 14

potsmokinghippieoverlord: "I thought the sunscreen portion was amazing, although is it because it's a physical block as opposed to a chemical block?"

I wasn't familiar with this distinction and looked it up. That page says chemical sunscreen can take 20 minutes to reach full effectiveness, so it might start out lighter and darken over time. You would also see a dramatic difference between sunscreen that absorbs UV rays and those that scatter them.
posted by RobotHero at 4:16 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I want to see the version for hotel room surfaces.
posted by crapmatic at 4:17 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

Vitamin D. More on Vitamin D - make it your business to educate yourself about this Vitamin (it's really a necessary steroid hormone).

Read up on Vitamin D and sunblock. Some say that sunblock inhibits Vitamin D; others are saying this is not the case. Be judicious.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:20 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I want to see the version for hotel room surfaces.

The Morgan Freeman's cheeks of semen.
posted by phunniemee at 4:21 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I liked how from here out it just looked like a bunch of people smiling and laughing as they put on their blackface.
Also I liked this woman who just seems to be saying "Yes, I am black. Yes, the camera shows that. All the other cameras also show that I am black. Is this supposed to be surprising?"
posted by agentofselection at 5:48 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]

The Morgan Freeman's cheeks of semen.

This phrase took an uncomfortably long time to parse. Actually, I'm still uncomfortable.
posted by heathkit at 6:02 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I want to see the version for hotel room surfaces.

Then you'll be wanting to watch Hotel Hell. Gordon Ramsay usually busts out the uv light during the episode. And then ends up either sleeping in a sleeping bag on top of the bed or in the bathtub.

And then he strips off for NO REASON WHATSOEVER. It's insane.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:00 PM on August 14

Yes, but lots of those freckles were only visible in the ultraviolet camera. They are UV freckles, not visible in normal light!

Here's what little I know about sunscreens:
There are chemical sunscreens that need to get absorbed into the skin, and physical sunscreens that just block the light and work immediately, and lots that combine the two.

Chemical sunscreens often block better (higher spf), but some of the ingredients (oxybenzone) are suspected to have hormonal effects.

The physical (mineral) sunscreens have zinc oxide and titanium oxide. They are generally thought to be safer, though there is some concern about nanoparticles. (I think this issue was first discovered when Australian roofing material was found to have damage in the shape of a handprint from a worker). They are also usually more visible, so some people don't like them (I use a tinted one).

There's a web site devoted to listing sunscreens by safety.
posted by eye of newt at 9:16 PM on August 14

And, yes, vitamin D received through sunlight is good for you--it even prevents some cancers (whether it does this better than the vitamin D you take by pill is up to debate).

So sunlight is like a lot of things:
Too little: bad for you.
Too much: bad for you.

I don't bother with sunscreen if I'm going out for a 15 minute walk, but I have very light skin, so anything longer and I cover up (sunscreen plus hat).

Also, my parents often took us to the beach as kids without sun protection, and I got a lot of sunburns. That means I'm destined to keep having squamous cell carcinoma lesions show up that I have to have removed. Fortunately they are on the surface, slow growing, and usually easy to remove. Don't let your kids get sunburned or they'll pay the price when they are adults.
posted by eye of newt at 9:24 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

Am I crazy or was there something just on here about how sunscreen wasn't actually shown to be very preventing skin cancers?
posted by Carillon at 11:20 PM on August 14

Or at least melanoma.
posted by Carillon at 11:21 PM on August 14

A hat with a brim is a great way to go. If everyone wore one in the sun like they wear sunglasses it would make a difference to health stats.
posted by colie at 2:45 AM on August 15

Oh, eye of newt, those blistering sunburns of my pale, white youth. I never really tanned; my skin will get a bit darker, but it's sort of patchy, and now that I am well into middle age, it's freckled permanently. I've only had one pre-cancerous thing removed, and hope I'm not missing more.
posted by theora55 at 6:53 AM on August 15

Vibrissae: "Read up on Vitamin D and sunblock. Some say that sunblock inhibits Vitamin D; others are saying this is not the case."

As a fair-skinned, freckly person who kinda hates wearing sunscreen but also hates sun-damaged skin and ALSO has a Vit D deficiency, I really wish they would definitively figure out the sunscreen/Vit D situation. Sigh.
posted by desuetude at 8:40 AM on August 15

"The sun is not your friend." I've been trotting that line out for the last 10 years when people question my wide brim hat.
posted by vicx at 3:23 AM on August 16

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