A subject applies sunscreen under natural light and under UV.

A subject applies sunscreen under natural light and under UV.

We're blinded by the light.

Or blinded to it at least, depending on its frequency.

Ultraviolet light, for instance, is beyond the visible spectrum for most of us

Black light: A shot from the video as a subject applies sunscreen.

Black light: A shot from the video as a subject applies sunscreen.

Although we can't see it, it still affects us.

An amazing new art project shows us how.

Award-winning American portrait photographer, Thomas Leveritt, used a UV filter on his camera to capture how much harm ultraviolet rays can have on our skin as well as how sunscreen works to protect it.

In the clip, which has been viewed more than 10 million times in the past 10 days, he shows his subjects what they look like in UV via a monitor.

Their skin, which appears flawless under natural light, transforms as the filter slides over the camera, revealing dark spots and irregular blotches.

The subjects laugh, look away in shock and cover their faces. 

It is not the first time such an exercise has been undertaken.

The Sunsense UV Photo Bus launched in Sydney in 2012 with the hope of boosting awareness about sun damage and the risk of skin cancer from UV radiation. Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

The impact of sunscreen on the development of skin cancer is controversial. It is a sad irony that low vitamin D levels may play a role in some cancer

A New York University study looking at the effect of sunscreen on melanoma risk found, however, that too much sun exposure over a long time is still "a well-known risk factor for melanoma".

In conclusion, they said: "In addition, persons with a fair complexion, red hair, freckles, and inherited gene mutations are also at an increased risk of developing melanoma. As a result, sun protection is extremely relevant in these individuals." 

Leveritt's video seems to show this in action. Darker-skinned subjects appear less damaged under UV.

"Everyone's born with good skin, pretty much," Leveritt scrawls across the screen.

He shows babies and small children, whose skin appears unblemished even under UV.

He then takes the clip a step further, showing people putting on glasses with UV protection and people applying sunscreen.

The glasses and sunscreen protect us by blocking the UV. Because it is blocked, not reflected, the glasses and sunscreen appear black in the video, even though in visible light the glasses are clear and the sunscreen looks white.

Watching people slather what looks to be black paint over their faces and bodies is an impressive visual and hammers home and important message: A little sunlight is good for us, but we shouldn't be blinded to the impact of too much sunlight with too little protection.