What to do for Those Sunburned Feet

Ouch! Get some aloe on those sunburned feet!It’s happened to almost all of us in Houston; you apply sunscreen vigilantly everywhere—except the tops of your feet—and you end up with a sandal shaped burn that causes lots of foot pain! What’s a red-footed Texan to do?

Once you realize that your feet have gotten burnt (tell tale signs include pain, swelling, redness or discoloration, peeling and/or blisters), run them under cool water and soak in it for as long as you can. Next, apply a lotion or gel that contains aloe to the burnt areas, since aloe helps soothe and treat burns.

Once you have a burn on your feet, let your feet breathe sock-free whenever this won’t cause more sun exposure; the increased oxygen exposure can promote faster healing and, as an added bonus, socks and shoes won’t be causing irritation to the delicate, damaged skin. If at all possible, keep your burned feet out of sunlight for 24-48 hours after the initial onset of the burn.

Of course, preventing a sun burn is better (and easier) than treating one, so you’d be wise to follow these tips to save the delicate skin of your feet:

1. Wear sunscreen and reapply every 4-6 hours, especially if you’ll be in a pool or lake.

2. Limit your sandal use, especially during days with a lot of direct sunlight.

If you’ve gotten a sunburn on your feet and symptoms continue to cause you pain after several days, you may need to schedule an appointment with your Houston podiatrist so we can stop the pain in its tracks. 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.