We wanted to gain insight into the common sun safety practices used by pedestrians in our area, and better understand our potential customers’ attitudes towards sun safety. To achieve these two goals, we conducted a sun safety survey in public open spaces in Toronto. Over the course of July, we collected a total of 263 survey responses.

For the first 205 participants, we gathered information about gender, skin type, occupation, and which type(s) of sun protection the participants were using on the day of the survey. We then added more questions pertaining to sun protective behaviour which were asked of the last 58 participants (i.e., do you reapply sunscreen every 2 hours? Have you ever been sunburned? Did you apply sunscreen on the day that you got sunburned?). Altogether, we found that 69% of all participants were using some form of sun protection on the day of the survey. We also found that 11% of all participants had sun-sensitive skin (Fitzpatrick skin type I or II), and 73% of these individuals were using some form of sun protection, with 60% of them using sunscreen.

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We also found that 36% of students under the age of 25 were not wearing any sun protection on the day of the survey. According to CDC data from 2010, only 60% of Americans ages 18-24 years old use sun protection¹. Our finding, for the most part, matches the data reported by CDC. Responses to our updated questionnaire revealed that 34.6% of students under 25 years old had been sunburned before. Surprisingly, 11.5% had previously been sunburned, but still failed to wear adequate sun protection on the day of the survey. Further, 58% of students under the age of 25 were wearing sunscreen on the day of the survey, but only 7% said they reapply it every 2 hours, as recommended. This indicates good intentions when it comes to sun protection, but perhaps a lack of education surrounding proper sunscreen application.
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Stereotypically, young adults aren’t known for following rules. Apparently this stereotype holds true for the “rules” of sun protection, too. In order to lower the rates of skin cancer in upcoming older generations, we need to work on effectively educating current younger generations about both the dangers of unprotected sun exposure, and how to properly use sun protection. QSun can help by outlining the recommended sun protection methods based on current weather conditions and skin type.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Sun-Protective Behaviour Rates. Retrieved August 17, 2016

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