With all the daily walking and running, the feet are the most used part of the body. Yet, when it comes to our health and beauty routine, feet care is often neglected to the last spot on the priority list.
Ignoring feet care may result in many painful conditions. Most common are bacterial infections, corns, cracked heels, ingrown nails, fungal nail infection, and bad odor.
Just like its important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed, its important us humans do it as well! You need to pamper your feet and keep them in tip-top condition no matter what season it is. Especially in winters, because of chapped and dry skin all over the body, your feet need proper care once in a while.
Basic Tips for Maintaining Glamorous Feet
Try to add these care tips to your daily skincare regime:
Note: After fulfilling any of the following tips, if you notice some kind of skin irritation, foot swelling, or skin eruption, consult your physician for immediate medical advice.
Make Sure to Clean Your Feet Daily
It’s necessary to have good hygiene practice to keep your feet clean. Untidy feet do not absorb moisture and nutrients and become a medium for microbial growth, leading to cracked heels and aged-looking feet over time.
Feet skin is most prone to bacterial and fungal infections as it is covered in socks and shoes most of the day. Therefore, it is important to clean your feet at least twice a day to ensure that the locked dirt and sweat are thoroughly cleaned.
Following are the two most important tips for clean and tidy feet:
- Wash your feet with soap and warm water (avoid hot water). This will cleanse all the sweat, dirt, and growing bacteria. Always pay extra attention to the gaps within your toes. After washing, always wipe your feet gently with a clean towel.
- Make a habit of cleaning your feet before going to bed.
Scrub your Feet
Regular exfoliation does wonders for the skin. The dead skin of your feet is always difficult to shed; therefore, periodic scrubbing of your feet is a must.
Exfoliate your feet twice a week using a regular body scrub or a specialist foot scrub. The most widely used option is Pumice Stone (a good choice for heels, but always be careful while using on the upper surface of feet).
If you do not want to buy expensive body scrubs from the market, you can try DIY foot scrub recipes.
- Olive oil, when mixed with coconut and essential oil, will produce exfoliating benefits.
- Scrub made up of sugar and sea salt will exfoliate your skin and make it look glamorous and healthier.
- A 10 to 15-minute warm foot bath made up of tannic acid is good for skin softening (tannic acid is a natural antibacterial agent that minimizes the risk of developing Athlete’s Foot).
Don’t forget to massage while scrubbing, as it will soothe your tired feet after a long hectic day. After you finish scrubbing, apply a rich moisturizer containing shea butter or cocoa butter.
Keep Your Feet Well-Moisturized
Try not to limit your moisturizing routine to your face and hands only. Naturally, feet skin and heels need more frequent and intensive moisturization than the other body parts.
Dryness, scaly and chapped skin are the most common symptom of dehydrated skin. If not taken care of, the dry skin can become extremely hard, especially on heels. Besides looking ugly, chapped heels can be very painful.
To avoid such a condition, you should apply a generous dose of moisturizing agent on your washed feet daily.
Following are some tips related to moisturization:
- Opt for a special high moisturized foot cream rather than a regular lotion (cocoa butter and petroleum jelly are good moisturizing options).
- After applying foot cream at night, wear cotton socks to avoid moisture evaporation.
- The best way to retain the moisture within the skin surface is to moisturize right after bathing.
DIY Foot Moisturizer:
You can use coconut oil as a natural moisturizer alone or in combination with some sugar or salt. (Few drops of essential oil can be added to treat fungal infections).
Look for creams containing petrolatum, emollient, or a humectant (like lactic acid) to avoid moisture escape from the skin surface.
Moisturizing between the toes is never a great idea, as the excess moisture between the toes can cause fungus growth.
Get Rid of Cracked Heels
The skin around the heels is comparatively drier and thicker than the rest of the skin. Therefore, the most commonly occurring problem due to lack of feet care is cracked heels. These are usually not very serious yet may sometimes be chronic if occurred due to some medical ailment.
Cracked heels can be easily treated at home. Following are some DIY ways to deal with cracked heels:
- Heat a candle. Make a thick mixture of wax with an equal amount of mustard oil. Fill your foot cracks with this mixture.
- Another tried and tested way includes a mixture of shampoo (one teaspoon) and sea salt (one teaspoon). Add a few drops of antiseptic solution in warm water. For better results, soak your feet in it for at least 10 minutes. With the help of Pumice stone, scrub off the dead skin and rinse with warm water.
- Once your feet dry, massage with a strong moisturizing lotion. Wear cotton socks at night to lock the moisture underneath the skin.
- Honey works as a great agent to overcome the problem of cracked heels. Use honey as a foot mask and scrub off all the dried skin.
Try not to Keep Your Feet Wet or Sweaty
Athlete’s foot is a medical condition that occurs due to feet-sweat in tightly fitted shoes, which causes fungal growth. Its symptoms include itching, tingling, skin peeling, and burning sensation.
Dampness creates a perfect growing medium for fungus. Thus foot-sweating may cause Athlete’s foot. Dry feet will prevent fungal growth and bad odor.
- Keep your feet dry (especially the area between the toes) after every wash or removing socks or tight-fitted shoes.
- Avoid wearing the same shoes for many days.
- Sprinkle baby powder within your shoes before putting them on.
Choose the Right Footwear for the Occasion
If you can dress the rest of your body in comfortable clothing according to environmental conditions, then why not do the same for your feet? Look for a pair of shoes properly designed to keep your feet clean, dry, and at a comfortable temperature.
Sandals are a good option for summer wear to keep your feet cool. On the other hand, avoid wearing footwear that makes your feet hotter in sunny weather. Waterproof boots and socks go well in winters as they avoid getting frostbites.
The occasional wearing of high-heels is okay, but wearing them regularly can damage the tissues and ligaments of your feet.
Avoid wearing tight-fitted shoes (as you may sweat more and develop sores). If you do so, keep good care of your feet to avoid unnecessary fungal or bacterial growth.
Get Rid of Toenail Fungus Naturally
Over-the-counter antifungal medications (that come in the form of lacquers, creams, lotions, liquids, spray powders, and spray liquids) are a good option for treating athlete’s foot. But if you have a toenail fungus, then it’s more difficult to treat.
Most antifungal treatments can include any of the following active ingredients:
Some DIY ways to treat toenail fungus are:
- Tea tree oil (also called melaleuca oil) can work wonders in treating mild forms of toe-nail fungus.
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is another perfect remedy for treating toe-nail fungal growth. Mix ACV with water to prepare the antifungal soak. Soak your feet in it for half an hour, then dry them well with a towel.
- Few drops of lavender oil can also be used daily for affected toenails. Continue the treatment until the fungus is gone.
Follow the tips mentioned above to take care of your feet and toenails by having a good hygienic routine and pampering them once in a while. Also, avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes for long as they may damage your healthy feet.
Try to remove as much stress as you can from your feet. For instance, avoid sitting or standing for an extended period – this way, you are putting more pressure on your veins, which restricts blood circulation. You can elevate your legs a bit to take the pressure and stress off of your feet.