Swollen Feet from Sunburn? Here's What to Do!

Woman lounging in bathing suit on pool float on pink background

Who doesn’t love spending a sunny day lounging by the pool or sitting by the water?

While the warm rays may feel great on your skin, too much sun exposure can leave you with an uncomfortable burn if you’re not careful.

That’s why it’s important to apply sunscreen from head to toe. But we know how easy it can be to overlook using sunblock on your feet.

Swollen feet from sunburn can hurt! Luckily, there are many ways to treat sunburn and swollen feet right from home.

Sunburns and Your Skin

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a sunburn is “an inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage to the skin’s outermost layers.” Too much sun exposure can make your skin cells inflamed, leading to dry, red skin that’s warm and painful to touch. And it’s not only uncomfortable, but can also increase your risk of skin cancer.

You can get sunburn anywhere, but getting a sunburn on the top of your feet is often common during the summertime. It’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen to your feet as you’re going through the day. You’re also more likely to be wearing open-toed shoes like sandals or flip flops that expose the tops of your feet to UV rays.

Remember, it doesn’t need to be sunny to get a sunburn. A high UV index can cause a burn even on an overcast day. Up to 80% of UV rays can come through clouds and leave you burned.

Why Is Your Feet Sunburn Swollen?

Any severe sunburn can cause your skin to swell and feel hot, but your foot and ankle are especially at risk of swelling. 

Since your feet and ankles are prone to water retention already, a sunburn can cause this swelling known as edema. Additionally, the damaged cells leak fluid that can build up in your surrounding tissue, leading to swelling.

Swollen feet from sunburn are often a more severe symptom. While a mild sunburn can still cause discomfort and peeling skin, but no swelling.

How Long Does Swollen Feet From Sunburn Last?

Sunburn swelling can be extremely uncomfortable. According to most experts, severe swelling can last for two days or more, but usually resides after three to five days and can be completely healed in a week.

You should notice your sunburnt feet getting better every day. If not, you should contact your doctor for advice.

How to Soothe Sunburnt Feet

You don’t have to be stuck with sunburnt feet.

Here are a few ways to treat a sunburn and swollen feet with ingredients you already have at home.

Create a Foot Bath

To reduce swelling in the hours after a sunburn on your feet, soak them in cool water. This can feel heavenly on your feet. Then, consider adding more soothing ingredients like apple cider vinegar and baking soda that reduce inflammation and help the healing process.

Oatmeal Bath

As your skin heals, your dead skin can become itchy and begin peeling. An oatmeal bath is a great home remedy that’s easy to make and can help soothe your skin.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate 

Since a sunburn pulls moisture away from your skin, one of the best ways to promote healing is to stay hydrated and moisturize your skin. Use a moisturizer with aloe vera as the main ingredient to treat the tops of your feet.

Of course, we also can’t forget to mention the importance of taking care of your feet when they’re swollen and burned. Avoid wearing shoes or socks that can cause friction and take anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the pain and swelling.

And when your toes are completely healed, make sure to give them some extra TLC with a moisturizing foot mask from Patchology! Shop our collection of soothing hand and foot masks today.