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UVR Protection: Access to Sunscreen


  • UV protection,
  • Physical environment,
  • Community,
  • Facilities & organizations,
  • Schools,
  • Workplace,

Access to sunscreen

Appropriate use of sunscreen can protect against overexposure from the sun while outdoors.

Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun or from artificial sources (e.g., indoor tanning), can increase the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancers cases (with both melanoma and non-melanoma types combined) is thought to comprise approximately 33% of all cancers in Alberta.1 Taking measures to protect you and your family from the sun year-round will help to prevent the dangerous long-term effects of UVR exposure, such as skin cancer, as well as the short-term effects, such as a sunburn.2

One goal of the Pincher Creek Wellness Committee was to create supportive community environments for UVR protection. The wellness committee decided to add sunscreen dispensers at key community gathering places and events.

Ways to get started

  • Offer free sunscreen through portable sunscreen dispensers in community settings3,4 through partnerships with local business to make sun protection accessible to all community members.
  • For optimal protection, make a broad spectrum sunscreen available (look for a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30).3,4
  • Create an awareness campaign regarding the benefits and use of sunscreen protection.
  • Post information about sun safety awareness near your sunscreen dispenser.


For further action to promote UVR protection in your community, see

Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase UV awareness and protection in your community will have greater impact than implementing one-off strategies.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

What you expect to learn about access to sunscreen may include:

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • Increased use of sunscreen
  • Increased accessibility of sunscreen
  • Increased availability of sunscreen


References- Shade Structures and Areas

  1. Alberta Health Services. Alberta’s Skin Cancer Prevention Framework; 2018. Available from:
  2. Healthier Together Alberta Health Services. Have fun in the sun safely toolkit; 2019.
  3. Toronto Ultraviolet Radiation Working Group of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition. A survey and recommendations of current sun-safety policies and programs: Final report. Ontario: Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition; 2000. Available from:
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s call to action to prevent skin cancer. Washington (DC): Department of Health and Human Services; 2014. Available from:
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sun safety tips for schools. Washington (DC): Department of Health and Human Services; 2016. Available from:
  6. Community Preventive Services Task Force, CDC. What works. Cancer prevention and control: skin cancer prevention. The Community Guide. Atlanta (GA): CDC; 2014. Available from:
  7. Glanz K, Saraiya M, Wechsler H. Guidelines for school programs to prevent skin cancer. Atlanta (GA): CDC; 2002. Available from:
  8. National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE). Skin cancer prevention. NICE Guideline. London: NICE; 2016. Available from:
  9. World Health Organization (WHO). Sun protection and schools: how to make a difference. Geneva (SW): WHO; 2003. Available from:
  10. World Health Organization (WHO). Sun protection: an essential element of health-promoting schools. WHO information series on school health. Geneva (SW): WHO; 2002. Available from:
  11. National Guideline Clearinghouse. Prevention of skin cancer. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); 2013. Available from:
  12. Saraiya M, Glanz K, Briss PA, et al. Interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation: a systematic review. AM J PREV MED. 2004;27(5):422-466. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2004.08.009. Available from:
  13. Community Preventive Services Task Force, CDC. Preventing skin cancer: interventions in outdoor recreational and tourism settings.