Does sunscreen have you covered?

30f351a3-2647-11df-b61e-0017a4aa266a 0e6d33e5-2649-11df-9d36-0017a4aa266a Tip 147 “Skin cancer on the legs and feet actually has a high mortality rate due to people forgetting to do skin checks on that area. It’s often caught too late,” says Tracey Vlahovic, D.P.M., associate professor of podiatric medicine and orthopedics at Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine

“This is due in large part to the fact that many people simply forget to apply or reapply sunscreen to the lower extremities.” Vlahovic adds that African- and Asian-American women can also be susceptible to skin cancer of the lower extremity, mainly because they feel they are immune to it due to their darker skin tones.

“No matter race or ethnicity, the legs and feet are not immune to the sun’s effects, and women have an even greater chance of developing skin cancer than men, because they often have more of their leg exposed,” says Vlahovic. A sunburn on your feet can cause swelling, blisters, pain and limit your ability to walk in closed shoes. The result could mean wounds that take a long time to heal or even greater diabetes complications. To protect your feet, Vlahovic suggests applying sunscreen every few hours or more often if you are going to be in the water. The sunscreen should have with an SPF of at least 15 with both UVB and UVA protection.

Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 8/08

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Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

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