Fighting sun damage on the Costa

There are 30,000 Danish residents on the Costa del Sol, whose fair skin is at high risk of sunburn. :: SUR
There are 30,000 Danish residents on the Costa del Sol, whose fair skin is at high risk of sunburn. :: SUR
  • The Costa del Sol Health department's international sun protection campaign reached 12,000 Danes with the help of the Danish consulate

The 2017 sun protection campaign has ended with positive results. Recently, representatives from the Costa del Sol Health department evaluated this year's activities specifically targeted at encouraging healthy UV protection habits, emphasising the importance of early cancer diagnoses, and reducing casualties and death.

With this international campaign, in collaboration with the Danish consulate, they have managed to reach the Scandinavian population: the Danish, Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian residents of the Costa del Sol. According to reports, the impact of the campaign has been strong, reaching around 12,000 Danish residents. Some of the many strategies used included publishing supplements about sun protection in Danish magazines 'Liv SunHed Magazinet' and 'Solkysten', as well as holding information days for health professionals and patients at the Montebello Danish Clinic in Benalmádena.

The leaders of the campaign stress the importance of campaigns like this, given the high population of Scandinavian people living in the Costa del Sol. There are 30,000 people from Denmark, 25,000 from Finland, 20,000 from Norway, and 10,000 from Sweden whose skin is extremely fair and sensitive to the effects of the sun and therefore they are at risk of suffering from skin cancer. Furthermore, they highlight that, unlike with other foreign residents, Scandinavian people have different attitudes to sun protection and there is often a language barrier with these citizens which makes it difficult for them to access information and be aware about the risks of the sun.

At schools

The campaign also targeted international schools this year. A sun protection conference was held for the third year in the Palacio de Congresos in Marbella, bringing together 800 students and teachers from 11 schools in the Costa del Sol. Also, information sessions for teaching staff were provided, in collaboration with the Marbella-Coín Centro del Profesorado, with a focus on the Junta de Andalucía's '6 grados de separación en fotoprotección' (6 degrees of separation in sun protection) school competition. The initiative has been circulating messages about UV protection around the world in a simple but effective way.

The competition involves students and teachers making one-minute videos, where they demonstrate how to enjoy the sun without damaging your skin and challenge other schools to do the same, and uploading them onto Instagram. These have reached, through six degrees of separation, schools in countries as far as way as possible. Final figures show that the campaign reached around 3,700 students through effective projects like this one.

Another original idea was to hold a day which incorporated food into the campaign. More than 300 health professionals and carers came to learn how a good diet can help with sun protection. On this day, 122 catering students and teachers from hospitality schools in Benalmádena and Marbella participated in these information courses too.

The campaign which has been spreading across beaches with the help of the Mijas town hall has reached 2,500 sunbathers through the distribution of informative flyers in English, Danish, German, and Spanish.