During the summer months, when we are wearing sandals, flip-flops or going barefoot, we think about and take care of our feet. But during the winter months, our feet still need some TLC to stave off chapped, dry skin. The following tips can help you keep your feet looking beautiful year round.
- Let your feet soak in warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can do this when taking a shower or bath or enjoy a warm foot soak for relaxation. Make sure the water isn’t too hot as this will increase dry skin. Try adding Vitamin E, aromatherapy or Epsom salt to help soothe your feet and help you relax. After your feet have soaked, use a pumice stone to smooth out any dry or flaky areas.
- Use your pumice stone, an emery board or a callous file to remove callouses. This is easiest after you have soaked your feet as the skin will be softer. Callouses can cause cracks in your skin, taking the time to remove them will help keep your skin soft.
- Try a paraffin wax treatment on your feet. This type of treat helps to increase blood flow and opens up your pores so they can better absorb moisturizer.
- Use a cuticle stick to gently push back cuticles. You can apply a cuticle cream several minutes before to help soften the cuticles and make them easier to push back. Do not cut your cuticles as it is too easy to cut your toes and cause infection.
- Use products containing glycolic acid to help remove layers of dead skin or callouses.
- Check for signs of fungus. Discolored nails may signal fungus. There are a number of over-the-counter fungus treatments you can rub on and around your nails to help treat the fungus. Before applying the lotions or creams, use an emery board to “rough up” your toenail so it can better absorb the treatment.
- If your feet are itchy, run or peeling between your toes, it may be a sign of athlete’s feet. Use over-the counter products to treat your feet, being sure to treat in between the toes. Creams and ointments are often more effective than powders.
- Do simple exercises such as stretching your ankles by pointing your toes and then bringing them back toward your face.
- Make sure you wash in between your toes during each shower or bath. Allow time for your feet to completely dry before putting on socks and shoes. Moisture can increase your risk of developing fungus. Use a small amount of powder in your shoes to absorb any extra moisture.
- When applying moisturizer, don’t forget your feet. The skin on your feet can dry out during the winter months, especially if you are wearing heavy socks which absorb moisture from the skin.
- Avoid walking barefoot on carpet as the carpet can absorb the moisturizer and dry out the bottom of your feet.
- If you have trouble with sweating, you can use an anti-perspirant on your feet as well. This is the same as used on your under-arms, just be sure it is an anti-perspirant only and not a deodorant. For odors, it is best to use a shoe insert that contains charcoal.
- Be sure to wear proper fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting can cause corns, callouses or blisters. When purchasing shoes, be sure to measure both feet as often one foot is slightly larger than the other. Buy your shoes to fit whichever foot is larger.
- Remove your nail polish on a regular basis, making sure there is no residue left, and examine your toes to make sure there is no discoloration in your toenails.
By taking care of your feet year round, you will make sure they stay healthy and look their best when sandal season once again arrives.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.