Sunburn on feet: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Summer is a time for sun, fun, and outdoor activities. But it’s also a time when many people suffer from sunburn, including on their feet. Sunburn on the feet can be particularly painful and uncomfortable, as our feet are constantly in use and rubbing against shoes and socks. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and prevention.

Causes of Sunburn on Feet

Sunburn on the feet can occur for several reasons. The most common cause is exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. When the skin is exposed to UV rays for an extended period, it can become red, inflamed, and painful. The following are some common reasons given below.

  1. Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals: If you wear shoes that expose your toes and the top of your feet, your skin is more vulnerable to sunburn.
  2. Prolonged sun exposure: Spending long hours in the sun without protection can increase your risk of sunburn.
  3. Reflected sunlight: The sun’s rays can reflect off surfaces like sand, water, and pavement, increasing your exposure to UV rays and your risk of sunburn.


The symptoms are similar to those of sunburn on other parts of the body. Here are a few common symptoms to look out for:

  1. Redness: The skin on your feet may appear reddish in color and feel warm to the touch.
  2. Swelling: Your feet may become swollen and feel tender or painful when touched.
  3. Peeling: After a few days, your skin may begin to peel as it heals from sunburn.
  4. Blistering: In severe cases, sunburn on the feet can cause blisters, which can be painful and increase the risk of infection.


If you experience sunburn on your feet, there are several steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms and promote healing:

  1. Cool your feet: Soak your feet in cool water or apply a cool compress to the affected area to reduce swelling and pain.
  2. Moisturize your skin: Apply a moisturizer or aloe vera gel to your feet to help soothe your skin and prevent peeling.
  3. Take pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  4. Stay out of the sun: Avoid further sun exposure until your skin has healed to prevent further damage.

Preventing Sunburn on Feet

Preventing sunburn on your feet is crucial. Here are some simple tips you can follow to protect your feet from sunburn:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose shoes that cover your feet, especially when spending long hours in the sun.
  2. Apply sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to your feet and all other exposed skin.
  3. Seek shade: Whenever possible, seek shade to reduce your exposure to the sun’s rays.
  4. Reapply sunscreen: Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming.
  5. Wear protective clothing: Cover your feet with clothing, such as socks or long pants, to reduce your exposure to the sun’s rays.

In this article, we’ve discussed the causes, symptoms, and prevention of sunburn on feet. If you’re interested in learning more about sunburn, we recommend checking out the following resources:

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