Sun Damage to Skin on Feet
By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
April 17, 2013
Category: Skin Problems

Along with spring weather comes sandal season!  And no sooner spending time outdoors, often while wearing flip flops or going barefoot.  Sun damage to the skin is widely known to increase the chance of skin cancers, but the feet are often overlooked.  Main focus typically involves the face and upper back and shoulders.  But the tops of the feet are an easy place to receive harmful rays from the sun.  Another factor that comes into play is the water.  Even with following the manufacturer's directions properly and using waterproof sunscreen, sunburn can occur as the sunscreen is washed away.  

So what does SPF mean, anyway?  SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of UVB protection and ranges from 1 to 90.  Experiments are run indoors to determine the SPF by exposing people to a light spectrum similar to noontime sun.  Some of the participants wear sunscreen in the studies while others do not.  The amount of light causing redness in sunscreen-protected skin divided by the amount of light that causes redness in unprotected skin is the SPF.  A practical way to remember this definition is that sunscreen with an SPF of X allows you to stay out in the sun X times longer without burning.
About 1 ounce of sunscreen (a palmful) is recommended to cover the entire body and should be applied a half an hour before exposure.  Reapply every two hours if out for a longer period of time.  Skin on the feet is sensitive, meaning sunburn can be quite painful.  Sunburn can lead to pain, redness, swelling and eventual peeling or blisters.  This makes wearing shoes very difficult!  Take care of your feet by applying SPF 50 sunscreen to feet often while spending time outdoors to keep your feet pain free all summer.
Thank you for visiting our website! Please continue to learn more about your foot care needs by reading other informative articles and by visiting our helpful links. NorthPointe Foot & Ankle is located in Berkley, MI and has been serving people around the Southfield, Berkley, Ferndale, and Royal Oak area for over 30 years. Request an appointment via our website or call our office at (248) 545-0100.