The sun’s warm rays may feel good, but they can leave behind painful reminders in the form of a sunburn.
Your feet are particularly vulnerable because it’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet. Plus, moisture and water exposure at the beach or pool can wash away even the most careful applications of sunscreen.
If you find yourself with sunburned and swollen feet, there are remedies to help. Keep reading to find out what to do, and when you should skip the drugstore and call a doctor.
What’s the best way to treat sunburned, swollen feet?
When your feet are swollen and sunburned, you want to focus on measures that reduce swelling and create cooling sensations while your skin heals. Examples of these steps include:
Soak in cold water. Create a cool water foot bath by getting a small tub (available at most drugstores) and filling it with cool water. Soak your feet for about 10 minutes. Gently pat your feet dry, and apply a moisturizer to protect against dryness. Don’t use ice in the water. Water that’s too cold can damage your skin.
Add soothing ingredients. Add extra ingredients to the foot bath (if desired). Examples include apple cider vinegar to promote healing, baking soda to reduce inflammation, or oatmeal to reduce itching.
Cover with cool compresses. Apply cool compresses by dipping soft washcloths in cool water and draping them over your feet.
Apply moisturizer. Apply moisturizer to keep the skin soothed. Those containing aloe vera or soy are usually excellent choices.
Go shoeless. Minimize the amount of time you wear shoes in the first few days after the sunburn. Shoes can increase friction and pressure, which slows healing.
Reduce friction. Wear open-toed shoes (such as flip-flops) when you do need to wear shoes. Know that you may need to loosen straps on sandals if they feel especially tight.
Stay hydrated. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Sunburn can lead to dehydration by drawing water to the damaged cells. Ensure you are drinking enough water, so your urine is pale yellow in color.
Don’t pop blisters. Refrain from popping blisters that may appear on your feet. While it can be difficult to resist popping these blisters, doing so could reveal vulnerable skin that hasn’t had time to heal.
Take anti-inflammatory medication. Take an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.
Avoid applying products that contain local anesthetics — these will end in the letters “-caine.” Products containing anesthetics may actually do more harm than good by causing allergic reactions and irritation.