When I saw this headline recently, I figured that if it’s not a joke, it must be referring to the fact that most flip-flops don’t have arches. But in fact, the message was more serious: Because the skin on the tops of our feet is so thin, regular exposure to harmful sun’s rays can put us at higher risk of skin cancer. That’s according to UK-based podiatric surgeon Anthony Kontos of the London Foot and Ankle Clinic.
“The tops of the feet are very sensitive to the sun,” he says. “Feet often have an intense blast of sunlight.” He adds that while people are generally aware they need to check their bodies for suspicious moles, they’re less likely to examine their feet. Skin cancer can also occur on the soles of the feet, between the toes and under the nails. For information on the signs of skin cancer, go to the Canadian Cancer Society.
The British Skin Foundation agrees we need to be more vigilant. “People do tend to forget that the tops of their feet are exposed to the sun as much, if not more than, any other part of the body. In fact, due to their horizontal nature, exposed bare feet or those in sandals get the full blast of UV radiation.” So, put your best feet forward by applying sunscreen before slipping into those strappy sandals or comfy flip flops.