Flip-flops Linked to Skin Cancer

Seems like everything is linked to cancer these days.

Well you can add flip-flops to the list — I’m sure my mother is throwing hers away right now.

Before you toss them though, let me clarify. It is not your flip-flops that cause cancer. In fact, I’ve not seen any studies linking sandals, tongs, flip-flops, or any other foot wear to skin cancer. There are good studies however, which show that sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer, and those glowing-white feet that have been protected in shoes all year are now at significant risk in sandals.

How many of you have had a foot sunburn? Most of us have. That’s because we usually apply sunscreen to our face, arms, neck, and legs but neglect to apply it to the tops of our feet.

Wearing flip-flops exposes the tops of your feet to direct sunlight, significantly increasing your risk for developing a sunburn. Wearing flip-flops will not cause cancer, but getting a blistering sunburn on your feet every summer might.

Remember that because your feet have not seen the sun much for most of the year and are perpendicular to the sun’s rays, they are particularly vulnerable to sun damage. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 when you put on your flip-flops. You’ll thank me later.

Post written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD. You might also like:

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Skincare Myths: Adding Sunscreens Adds SPF

How to Treat a Sunburn

10 Things You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal

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Photo credit: Brandi Valenza

6 thoughts on “Flip-flops Linked to Skin Cancer”

  1. haha what about a cure for lack of common sense?

  2. Lew Orban says:

    Since most flip flops are not made of natural ingredients they may very well be a potential cause of skin cancer. Most are made in China and we are all aware of the melamine and on and on problems with their products. Once again you and I have no clue what is in these products…the FDA checks nothing and allows everything. The expsoure of feet allows all sorts of things to collect on them…lawn chemicals, road chemicals, fungus, posions..etc.

    I hope you understand none of us pay close attention to our feet unless we step into something we shouldn’t have. So from the standpoint of exposing our feet to the many man made unnatural chemicals all around us and the rubber etc. composition of the manufactured flip flop our chances of cancer increase greatly. The Sun is a natural process of healing…but when you add on unnatural man made chemicals the sun will react with them and create a potential carcinogen nightmare for your body. Buy natural products if at all possible.

  3. Eric Schwarzenbach says:

    You are missing the primary reason why tops of feet are so prone to sunburn. They are a nearly horizontal surface. Their angle to the sun, particularly when the sun is highest and most intense, exposes them much more than vertical surfaces like arms or legs. This is also why noses (not horizontal but at a much greater angle than the rest of the face) and tops of shoulders are prone to burning. This is the same principle whereby the angle of inclination of the earth makes summer hotter than winter.

  4. Thanks for the reminder.Take care of your feet because it is the part of your body which mostly tired all day for walk or run.Just like how you care for your skin,give them a rest and exact care like washing them regularly.

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