Is sunscreen important for the feet?

We all know the lectures that go on and on about wearing sunscreen. I for one wished I had listened.

After years of using the tanning bed in my Salon as my “30 minutes of peace”, I’m paying the price.

Over the years, information regarding the right sunscreen, the SPF and how often it should be used has revealed greatly. With all the great information however, we still seem to leave our feet out of the equation.

With summer here, more people will be spending time enjoying outdoor activities like going to the beach, riding bikes, playing tennis or gardening. The importance of  always protecting yourself from the sun’s rays with an effective sunscreen product is understated. Sunscreen absorbs or reflects ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, which can and more than likely will, cause skin cancer and premature aging. 

The acronym SPF stands for sun protection factor, a relative measurement for the amount of time the sunscreen will protect you from UV rays. UVB rays primarily affect the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. The American Cancer Society recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF with a minimum of 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s rays.

“No matter what your age, sunscreen is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your skin”. “On sunny and even cloudy days, our skin is susceptible to the sun’s rays. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before outdoor activities, then reapplying after swimming, using a towel, and after being outdoors for extended periods of time is the recommendation.


It is estimated that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day..this includes the feet and our hands.

Practicing sun safety and protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is as easy as ABC. This includes the feet, especially the tender skin on the top of the feet.

Apply regularly. It’s a good rule of thumb to re-apply your sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you’ve been in the water. It is also recommended to apply every time you wipe with a towel.

Broad spectrum. Broad spectrum SPF refers to sunscreens that protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.  SPF of 30 is the FDA recommendation.

Cover up. When you’re out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light. Protect your feet. If the tops of your feet or your ankles aren’t covered…apply sunscreen.

Check your dates.. Most bottles have an expiration date — and for good reason. Sunblock which is old may not work as well as a fresh tube because the chemical formulas can change over time, especially with exposure to sunlight and heat. Be sure to replenish yearly if necessary.

We all need sunscreen. While it may be true that lighter skin tones burn easier, damage can still happen without causing a red, blistering sunburn. Apply sunscreen regardless of how dark or light your skin tone is. Cancer is not prejudice.

Find shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you have to be out n the sun during these times, find your shadow…if your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

History. Ever wonder why our older population suffers so greatly from skin cancer? Sunscreen was introduced in the late 1960s, yet it wasn’t until around 1972 that labeling of SPF was introduced in the U.S.

Invest in scalp and hair sunscreen. We all forget the skin on your scalp is just as susceptible to burns and damage as the rest of your skin. If you have a distinct hair part or you’re bald, always apply sunscreen to the area or wear a hat.

FUN FACT! Just a minute.  If you wear SPF 30,  it will take 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.

KNOW the facts. Sunscreen is a ‘screen’ and not a ‘block’ therefore, sunscreen will never block 100% UV radiation. It is still possible to receive a dose of UV radiation high enough to cause skin damage while wearing sunscreen.

Melanoma. The most serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color.

No time like the present. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone wear sunscreen. Keeping in mind, babies can start wearing it as early as six months old.

HIDDEN HARMS! Overcast days call for sunscreen, too! Just because the sun is hiding behind the clouds doesn’t mean it’s not there and it’s not harmful. Up to 80% of UV rays can get through to your skin. You can still burn, so treat it like any other sunny day.

Perfume at night only. Did you know? When perfume is sprayed directly onto the skin, perfume can undermine the skin’s ability to protect itself against UV damage and make it more vulnerable to sun damage. That means the level of protection you get from your sunscreen is diminished as well. Avoid all perfumes during the day, when spending the day outside, if possible.

HOW MUCH? Quarter of a teaspoon. You need a generous ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen for your face, the front of your neck, your ears and the little space behind your ears in front of your hairline.

Skin cancer. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer every year.

Two types of SPF sunscreens — chemical and physical. Both types prevent the sun’s rays from entering the skin, each just uses different ingredients. Physical SPFs have either titanium or zinc while chemical SPFs contain elements like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate.

Ultraviolet rays. The most damaging of the sun’s rays to our skin are ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two basic types of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface—UVA and UVB.

DID YOU KNOW?  Waterproof, baby or sport sunscreens don’t exist. No sunscreen is waterproof or sweat proof.

You should be wearing sunscreen every day. Dermatologists recommend you use sunscreen every day while you’re outdoors. In fact, when you think about the amount of times you walk outdoor to retrieve your mail, get your garbage cans, clean your pool, walk to your car etc. etc…..sunscreen should be used always.

Zinc oxide. One of the biggest benefits to using zinc oxide sunscreen is that it’s ideal for those with sensitive skin. If you have eczema or another inflammatory skin condition, a zinc oxide sunscreen may be your best bet for sun protection.

Bottom line is this; Sun promotes unhealthy skin. The skin on our face, arms, hands, legs and feet are all susceptible to sun damage when exposed to harmful rays. Protect yourself from spending your older years at the Dermatologist. Save you skin now and you won’t have any regrets later.

CJ Murray, President


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