May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and podiatrists Heidi M. Christie, DPM and Chanda L. Day-Houts, DPM of Montgomery Foot Care Specialistswant to remind you that feet burn, too – and burned skin can put you on the road to getting skin cancer in the future, even on your feet.
Many people overlook their feet when slathering their bodies with suntan lotion. We’re here to tell you that that’s a habit you can and should break. When you go to the beach, spend time poolside, or wear skin-revealing sandals out on the town, always wear cover your feet with suntan lotion along with the rest of your body.
Even if you don’t spend a lot of time outdoors on a regular basis, the cumulative time that you spend exposed to harmful UV rays can add up to a high risk of skin cancer. And getting a sunburn even once puts you a higher risk for the deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma.
Other ways to prevent skin cancer
There are a number of concrete steps you can take to prevent skin cancer on your feet:
- As we said, use suntan lotion – the American Cancer Society recommends a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more.
- Limit the number of hours you spend in direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Re-apply sunscreen – even those that are labeled water-resistant – every 2 hours, after swimming, after towel-drying your skin, or after excessive sweating.
- Stay away from tanning beds. Many people are under the misconception that if they get a “base tan” at a tanning salon, they’ll be better off at the beach. But the truth is that any sun tan is damaging to the skin. Continued use of tanning beds puts you at risk for skin cancer, plain and simple.
Remember, you don’t have to be on vacation or at the beach to worry about overexposure to the sun. Any day out in the sun is a day you should wear suntan lotion with an SPF of at least 30 andbe smart about limiting your total exposure. Including your feet in the suntan-lotion application party will help keep the skin of your feet cancer-free, and make our podiatrists smile.
If you notice any suspicious moles or growths on your feet’s skin, contact us at our office in Montgomery, AL for a full exam. Our number is (334) 396-3668.