How to Treat Sunburned Feet

Try these dermatologists' tips to heal your feet and feel better fast.

Forgot to apply sunscreen to your feet? The aftermath of sunburn on the feet can be painful, but luckily some dermatologist-approved home remedies are quick and easy. Sharyn Laughlin, a dermatologist in Ottawa and co-creator of The Sunscreen Company, recommends this soothing sunburned feet treatment: Combine high-fat plain yogurt with a bit of honey and apply the mixture to the tops of your feet. Leave on for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

"The honey is an anti­microbial agent, which is good for wound healing, and the yogurt's lactic acid will gently exfoliate the dead skin," explains Laughlin. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen to relieve redness and discomfort, too.

Peeling Skin

Is the skin peeling on your feet? It's not a bad thing, says Laughlin. "It just means the surface skin cells have been damaged to the point of dying, and the body is exfoliating them."

Don't pull at the peeling skin as that could cause further damage and lead to infections. Keep the area covered during the day and apply hydrocortisone cream (0.5 to 1 percent) every four to six hours to help with pain and swelling. At night, apply a thin layer of olive oil and then put clean loose cotton socks on.

Apply Sunscreen

If you have to go outside, apply sunscreen with a concentration of 20% or more zinc oxide to the entire foot—except for the soles. "The zinc also promotes soothing and healing, so it's an added bonus," says Laughlin. Wear cotton socks and avoid sandals or products with fragrance, which could cause further irritation.

See your doctor if red streaks begin to radiate from the area or if you develop a fever or chills.

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