What's Your Damage? 14 UV Portraits Revealed

Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Freckles, sunspots, moles, oh my! We all know the visible results of one too many sunny summer days, but these signs only occur after the damage has been done. And, these are not the only signs of sun damage; there are even more lurking beneath the surface of your skin. Using a special UV-light camera, it’s possible to see beyond what's invisible to the naked eye.
Our skin is harmed by cumulative exposure to UV light — both UVA (slightly longer wavelength) and UVB (slightly shorter wavelength). UVA penetrates deeper into our skin and is responsible for damaging underlying collagen; this leads to sagging, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. UVB mostly damages the upper layers of skin; these are the rays that cause sunburns and damage to the DNA of the epidermis.
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Sun-damaged skin will produce excess melanin in affected areas. As soon as you step into the sun, your melanocyte skin cells “see” the UV radiation using a photosensitive receptor (much like the receptors in your eyeballs) and begin producing more melanin. This melanin acts as cellular shield, absorbing some of the damaging rays and protecting your DNA against damage. So, the relative accumulation of this pigment — which can be seen on the visible spectrum as freckles and sunspots — can reveal how much overall sun damage a person has experienced in his or her lifetime. The UV camera simply reveals more melanin accumulation than we could ever see unassisted, and the damage appears as dark spot on the skin. UV cameras also reveal dry skin, which appears as a greenish glow or as bright green spots where the dry skin has flaked off. Ahead, 14 portraits that prove there's more to your skin than meets the eye.
1 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Bari Lieberman: "I'm a born-and-raised Floridian who's lived five minutes away from a beach or pool for most my life. I rocked a year-round tan and have been guilty of oiling up before heading to sunbathe on a few occasions. While I've never used a tanning bed, I was also never particularly diligent about applying sunscreen. I have a base tan; I'll be fine, was what I told myself to excuse my behavior. One summer, my friends and I had a competition to see who could have the deepest tan by Labor Day — I won. Luckily, despite my horrible sun-protection habits, I've only experienced a few really bad burns."
2 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I had an annual skin exam last year, and everything looked fine, so I felt pretty confident going into this photo shoot. Over the past year, I started using a daily moisturizer that has SPF in it to help prevent any future damage, and I always wear lip balm with sun protection when heading to the beach. (Now, if I could only get better at remembering to remove my makeup at night.) But, hearing fellow R29 staffers talk about how nervous they were despite their pristine skin-care habits made me anxious that my previous examination was actually a false negative."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"Whew, I'm in the clear — for skin damage, at least. But, it appears that I need to hit up our beauty team to learn how to manage my dry skin."
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3 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Gabrielle Korn: "I learned really early on that the sun is not my friend. I got a couple of really bad sunburns as a kid — the kind that make it hurt to exist — and ever since then have been really good at wearing sunscreen, or at least hiding in the shade."
4 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was nervous to see if those bad sunburns from years past would still haunt me."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I'm thrilled that my sun damage is minimal! I'm going to keep applying SPF 50 every day."
5 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Connie Wang: "I have pretty resilient, problem-free skin (save for mild eczema that I have a medication for), and so I have a pretty laissez-faire approach with my skincare, unfortunately. My fellow East Asians are typically horrified that I don't wear SPF every day...but I don't. I do make sure I slather it on when I know I'm going to be in the sun for a long time, and I can't remember the last time I sunburned. But, on the regular, I'm pretty terrible."
6 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was! I KNOW that I'm not doing enough to protect myself, but since I don't see wrinkles yet or any signs of real damage, it's easier to live in my pipe dream."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"Well, when I found out that the freckles on my lips were actually sun spots from damage, that freaked me out (because I have a LOT of freckles there). Also, the places I have the most damage were ones I literally never think about — my eyebrows and under my bangs. I thought my hair would take care of it, so I've never applied sunscreen there, and I guess it shows.

"It didn't help that my 'after' image profile had super-white lips (I'm allergic to lanolin, so a lot of SPF chapsticks don't work for me, but I'm definitely going to do my research now and find one that will) and I looked like a cadaver. I've been slathering my face with Shiseido sunscreen every day since. Hopefully it's not too little, too late!"
7 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Ashley Mateo: "I am a hardcore sun worshipper — when I can get out and enjoy it. I've always been that way, and I shunned SPF when I was younger, mostly out of laziness and a desire to get the darkest tan as fast as possible. (I figured the darker I was, the longer it would last into fall. Poor life decision.)"
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8 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was nervous! I don't have any family history of skin cancer, but I know that my tanning habits as a teenager didn't bode well — I've had a few weird moles removed, but all have been benign. Still, I was concerned that the jig was up."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I was actually pleasantly surprised that there wasn't more damage. I'll definitely be more careful about not just applying, but re-applying sunscreen — especially to my face. But, my Italian genes came through for me. Thanks, Grandma!"
9 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Taylor Bryant: "My skin-care history isn't all that in-depth. When I was younger, and to an extent today, I always hated the sun (being in it, getting tan, being hot, etc.) so I was always very adamant about staying out of it. My family and I didn't frequent the beach that often, but when we did I was the loser under the umbrella trying to avoid any exposure to the rays. It's a common misconception that African-American men/women don't have to use sunscreen because of the melanin in our skin, but my mother always made sure my sister and I applied it frequently."
10 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was somewhat nervous, only because I just recently became big about using a face moisturizer with SPF in it. So, I wasn't sure if I did major damage to that part of my body, but I think my melanin helped me out big-time. But, other than that, not really nervous — because, like I said, I'm a shade kinda gal."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I wasn't surprised that I didn't have sun damage, but I was surprised that portions of my skin were dry. I tend to have VERY oily skin, especially in the summertime, so I wasn't expecting to hear that. I'll definitely continue to use a moisturizer with SPF and (per the lady who told us our results), I'm going to start applying my moisturizer right after I wash my face and when it's still damp, so that I avoid any dryness in the future."
11 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Bethany Lewis: "I've had more sunburns than I can count — blistering, peeling, scarring sunburns. I'd always use sunscreen, but I'd often miss a spot, stay out too long, or wait a little too long after getting out of the water to re-apply. I finally had enough a few years ago, after getting my first risky mole removed. It turned out to be okay, but my doctor scared me into adopting a zero-sun policy. Now, I will not go to the beach or the pool without an umbrella. I won't go sit in the park unless I'm in a fully shady spot. And I always, always have SPF (powder and spray!) in my bag in case I suddenly find myself in a sunny spot (hello, day-drinking)."
12 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was pretty nervous... I've been on top of mole screenings, but I've been wondering how much it will affect aging."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"The portrait made me realize how much damage has already been done, and it's encouraged me to be vigilant about SPF."
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13 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Leeann Duggan: "I don't have a family history of skin cancer, but when I was 14, my mom got a UV portrait done, and what she saw made her start preaching the gospel of SPF to me and my sister with all the zeal of the newly converted. Every day when I left the house, 'Did you put sunscreen on?' was as much a tiresome refrain as 'Bring quarters in case you need to call!' As a result, I was religious about (almost) daily sunscreen use until I was in my mid-20s. Which was when I got lazy, I guess."
14 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"My sunscreen-slacking coincided with my love of kooky alternative-health websites (I can't quit you, Curezone), which made me highly suspicious of the petrochemicals and other toxic ingredients in sunscreen, and I started to weigh its benefits against those you get from allowing your body some sun exposure to synthesize vitamin D. So, I began using coconut oil daily, and sunscreen only at the beach (this is highly controversial; do not try this at home). Thus, I was somewhat terrified to see the results of my little homespun experiment."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"To be sure, I saw more damage than I would have liked in my portrait. But, how old that damage is, I can't really tell. And, I still feel safer using natural products on my face. I haven't gone back to daily sunscreen use yet, but plan to be more cognizant of my exposure, and maybe get into sun hats. Hope my 60-year-old self doesn't end up hating me for this."
15 of 28
What's your skin-care history?

Christine Arzeno: "I am pretty religious about my skin care and have been since I started with the Clinique three-step program at the age of 12. I did not oil up, but I did tan as a teen — although I was always careful not to stay in the sun too long."
16 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was. I do not have family history that concerned me, but my two best friends from college founded the fashionable, sun-protective clothing line Mott 50, and I have been keenly aware of the effects of sun damage through their findings. Now that I am in my 30s, I take sun protection very seriously."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I was happier than I expected to be. The damage I do have is around my eyes and is caused by the reflection of my sunglasses and metal frames. I learned that I should be wearing large, plastic sunglasses at the beach, on the water, walking around town, etc., and brought a pair I had out of hiding right away. I'm sharing that knowledge with everyone I can!"
17 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Julia Finch: "I'm Brazilian, so my sun protection growing up was baby oil and SPF 0. Compounded with the fact that I lived in New Jersey during my teen years (GTL, y'all), I easily spent 10 years in and out of tanning beds."
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18 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was convinced that the UV portrait would, in fact, reveal the skin of an 80-year old."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I was surprised to learn that my skin damage wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I am definitely still not great about apply SPF religiously, but any time you see any damage on your skin, you're going to be a bit horrified. This might have been just the kick in the pants I needed to be a little less cavalier when it comes to sun protection."
19 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Neha Gandhi: "I've always put on sunscreen, but not a ton of it, and until my late 20s, I probably wasn't great about reapplying religiously. But, the scariest bit of negligence on my part has been indoor sunscreen. I've worked in glass towers for a long time, and haven't always been a year-round sunscreen wearer. (But, don't worry! I am now!)"
20 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"Yes! Please see prior page re: glass towers. My mom has a skin condition where she has lost a lot of her pigmentation, so she's super-sensitive to the sun, which has made me more careful."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I'm so healthy! Yay! Go Neha."
21 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Gem Michaels: " I was a swimmer in my childhood. My family never even thought to use sunscreen when I was younger. I didn't start using it until I was about 13/14/15, when I became a lifeguard and started to get burned. That's when I became religious and would wear zinc oxide... I walked around like a ghost."
22 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"So nervous, because of how much swimming I'd done...also, later in life I left California (my home) and came to the East Coast and became super pale. So, in college, when I'd get to a beach, I'd not ever really apply sunscreen because I wanted my deep tan back. "

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"I thought it was okay, actually. It was super dry though...especially my lips, so I think I need to focus on drinking water."
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23 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Lexi Nisita: "I visited a tanning salon a few times as a teen (can't believe myself now, in retrospect) and often am too lazy to apply sunscreen consistently at the beach. I've had a lot of bad burns in my life, and once as a pre-teen I got one so bad on my forehead that it blistered."
24 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was definitely nervous, but I don't have any family history that I know of that would make me extra concerned. "

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait?

"The weird thing is that I really like the way I look with freckles, and from what I saw, it seemed like the visible results would be simply that my freckles (which come out in the sun but only last for a few days, and that's only if I really, really get tan) would become permanent.

"I would love that. But, that said, I've known I need to change my habits for a long time, and something about seeing the 'dormant' damage under the skin might just be the reminder I need to become more consistent. Especially since I'm moving to California, I need to get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day before I leave the house. "
25 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Kelly Bourdet: "I've never really had a sunburn in my life; I have the kind of skin that tans instead. I never needed to wear sunscreen and so, in my youth, I didn't. The last time I really got tan was when I studied abroad in Tuscany during my senior year in college. Ever since then, I've worn so much sunscreen that it leaves a bright, white film on my entire body, humiliating my boyfriend when we're at the beach."
26 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"For sure! My mother had melanoma, so that was an added concern I had. "

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait? "Well, I definitely struggle with dry skin (that's what all the green marks on my face are). My face breaks out easily, so it's hard for me to find a moisturizer that isn't disastrous, but after seeing how dry I am, I'm committed to finding something that works. As to the actual damage, there's more than I would like. But, what's done is done — and I know that I wear enough sunscreen these days."
27 of 28
Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
What's your skin-care history?

Nikki Mendell: "I've always been fair-skinned and prone to sunburns. As my mom so lovingly put it, 'You'll never be tan, just accept it.' However, I've only recently really accepted that truth and have become increasingly aware of my high risk for skin cancer and sun damage. I really don't want wrinkles! I've always worn sunscreen but used to operate under the idea that a little burn turns to tan (ish) — so I wasn't careful enough. Now, I try to wear 70+ on my face and 45 or higher on my body, reapply often, and wear a hat. I hope my 50-year-old self will be happy."
28 of 28
Photographed By Barbara Parker On Behalf of Heart Screen.
Were you nervous to see your damage?

"I was a bit nervous, but sort of knew what I was in for. Both of my parents have had minor skin cancer spots removed, so I know that I have a family history. I once heard a statistic that if you've had three or more bad burns under the age of 21, your risk of skin cancer is greatly multiplied. I definitely have had more than three..."

What was your reaction to your skin damage portrait??

"I wasn't so surprised to see a lot of freckles and spots since I know that I'm prone to sun damage. The most interesting and eye-opening thing I learned was that the metal Ray-Ban aviators that I love and always wear in the sun (I prefer wearing something lightweight) were actually reflecting sun onto the bridge of my nose and under my eyes, so I had extra damage in those spots. I never thought of that! I went right out and bought plastic sunglasses to try to avoid more damage, and will be buying a wide-brim hat, which will give me more coverage than the baseball hat I normally wear."
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