The weather is getting warm, kids are out of school, and travel is ramping up – summertime is officially here! While your patients are excited about some fun in the sun, it is important to remind them to keep their health and safety in mind. We have compiled some tips to help you encourage sun health and safety at your pharmacy, while also highlighting front-of-house items that your patients are sure to need in the warm months ahead.
Promoting Sun Safety at Your Pharmacy
According to the American Cancer Society, most skin cancers are a result of exposure to the UV rays in sunlight, and their occurrence is typically related to lifetime sun exposure. By educating your patients on the these risks and how to protect themselves from UV exposure, you can help them avoid cancer and other long-term effects from UV exposure.
Helping Patients Choose a Sunscreen
While most people know they should wear sunscreen, they may not fully understand the different types, Sun Protective Factor (SPF) levels, and other verbiage on sunscreen labels. Here are a few things to consider when helping patients make a sunscreen selection:
Encourage Use of Broad-Spectrum Protection – All sunscreens protect against UVB rays but broad-spectrum sunscreens also protect against UVA rays, which contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.
Educate on Sun Factor Protection (SPF) – The American Cancer Society recommends an SPF of at least 30, which filters out approximately 97% of UVB rays as opposed to only 93% from an SPF of 15. While the higher the SPF, the more protection, the difference is minimal after an SPF of 30.
Explain Water Resistant vs. Waterproof – No sunscreen is entirely “water-proof” or “sweat-proof” and thus cannot be labeled as such. It is recommended that sunscreen be reapplied at least every two hours for optimal protection.
Choosing Between Lotion or Spray Options – While there is some debate out there between lotions and sprays, both are equally effective when applied correctly. Some may find spray more convenient and therefore are more likely to use them as directed. However, you should advise your patients to avoid inhaling sprays and therefore lotion may be a better option for applying to the face.
Ideas to Encourage Sunscreen Purchases
- Set up a Sunscreen Display – Sunscreen is likely not something your patients will come in to purchase specifically but might be an item they forget they need. Setting up sunscreen displays close to the checkout counter is a good reminder for patients to purchase sun protection. Setting up a display also presents an opportunity to share handouts or other educational material on sun safety.
- Offer Discounts or Coupons on Sun Screens – You might also consider offering coupons or running specials for sunscreen. Seeing an ad or offer can serve as a reminder to patients to purchase sunscreen for their homes or for an upcoming trip.
- Use Social Media to Educate on Sun Safety – There are many free resources out there that can help you promote sun safety and encourage your patient to purchase and use sunscreen. Below are a few options you can use to help you spread the word:
- Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative Sun Safety Social Media Toolkit
- Alberta Health Services Sun Safety Social Media Toolkit
- American Cancer Society Sun Safety Videos
If you need assistance with social media, leave it to our expert digital marketing experts to post fresh content on your pharmacy Facebook page to support your summer marketing efforts.
Your patients will thank you for educating and encouraging sun health this summer.