Sun’s out, toes out! And with summer comes the need to defend your body, including your feet, from the elements. So, because July is UV Awareness Month, today Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share tips for protecting your feet from the sun’s harmful rays.
While your best option for skin protection is covering up while in the sun, your next best choice is sunscreen. It shields your skin against sunburn and helps prevent skin cancer, and prevents dark spots, sagging skin, and wrinkles.
Here are our top 6 sunscreen practices.
- Confirm the expiration date. Sunscreens should not be used once they’ve expired. They contain chemicals that break down over time and therefore won’t be as effective. They can also be affected by extreme changes in temperature.
- Use sunscreen on both sides of your feet. When applying sunscreen, don’t forget your soles for full protection, particularly at the beach.
- Use an SPF of 30+.Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher blocks out 97% of dangerous UVB rays. Apply sunscreen before other skincare products, such as insect repellent.
- Always apply sunscreen before heading out in the sun. Use sunscreen rain or shine, because even on cold, cloudy days, there’s still UV exposure. For best results, put it on 15 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors.
- Reapply sunscreen after being in the water. Also, look for “water-resistant” on the label if you plan to go in the water.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every couple of hours. Water, toweling off, or sweat can get rid of sunscreen and reduce its effectiveness. Reapply it often so you’re always protected.
How to Treat Your Sunburn
A mild sunburn is not too worrisome, but there is potential for long-term effects. Sun damage can cause cancerous changes in your skin and that includes your feet. Because your feet are tender, sunburn on your feet can be especially painful.
Fortunately, there are several at-home remedies you can use to reduce the pain and heal sunburns, including:
- Soaking your feet in cool milk or water
- Using medication (such as acetaminophen) to diminish pain
- Applying soothing aloe vera to the skin
- Allowing your blisters to heal properly – don’t pop them
- Elevating your feet to reduce swelling
- Staying well hydrated.
If you’re experiencing any issues with your feet this summer, contact the offices of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center for diagnosis and treatment. Click here to locate the office nearest you and schedule an appointment today.