IT’S easy to forget about our feet in the cold weather. When they’re covered up in socks and rarely exposed, who needs to worry about having pretty feet? But with sandal season at our doorstep, now is the time to start focusing on your feet.
The warm weather can be particularly detrimental to your feet. Which is why any summer foot care routine needs to start with foot health. Embarrassing issues such as foot odour and flaky skin can make you want to throw away the sandals and keep those heels firmly placed in your winter boots, despite the heat.
Showing off your pedicure in your open-toed sandals and summer heels is flattering . . . until you see discolouration. All nail polish oxidises, so the lighter the polish, the more it will yellow. It could also be a chemical reaction between sunscreen and the topcoat. To conceal potential yellowing, opt for brights over pastels and limit chlorine and sun exposure. Steer clear of press-on nails, gels, and “instant dry” formulas, as the faster the lacquer dries, the more it malnourishes the nail.
Cracks and fissures
When rough heels are left untreated, the skin will harden, grow thicker and eventually crack. You’ll immediately notice pain and some bleeding. Your first instinct might be to reach for a pumice stone or filer — don’t! Those devices easily house bacteria, and if you have cracks, they can cause infections.
When it comes to sunscreen application, the tops of the feet are one of the most commonly missed areas. It’s crucial to apply a good sunscreen with SPF 30 all over feet and toes. As for the soles, sunburns are rare since the skin is much thicker and denser, but they can still be exposed to burns, do wear protective shoes when it’s hot. Treat sunburn immediately with aloe vera and apply two or three times a day after.
Where there’s sweat, there’s odour. The scent stems from bacteria breaking down the sweat, which tends to happen when feet are housed in less breathable socks and shoes. To prevent odour, prevent bacteria from breeding. This means keeping your feet dry at all times. Scrub — not soak — feet daily and dry thoroughly afterward, making sure to pat dry in between toes.
Blisters can develop from serious sunburns, or more likely from shoe pains. Do not pop blisters. The best-case scenario is to let the blister heal on its own: Just dab antibiotic cream and cover with a band-aid. But if you can’t resist, pop it with a sterilised safety pin (heat the end) and drain the fluid. Do not remove the excess skin — it acts as a barrier to protect the fresh skin from infection. Dab antibiotic cream and cover it up.
The main issues with flaunting flat, open (albeit stylish) summer sandals are their lack of support and cushion. The result?
Hardened heels caked with layers of dead skin. To soften, zero in on the area with a heavy-duty moisturiser formulated with vitamins A and E, and urea.
Pedicures can be a source of real problems. Everything from the tools to the relaxing whirlpool soak can transmit nail fungus, wart viruses and sometimes serious bacterial infections.
Since we’re constantly using our hands, it’s easy to remember to maintain our manicure — but we often forget about our feet.
If you’re not getting regular pedicures, make sure you keep your toenails trimmed and filed. If you’ve been neglecting your toes for a while then you may need to use a speciality nail care product to nourish the cuticle and boost nail strength.
Pedicures can be expensive, so if you’d prefer to splurge elsewhere you can follow these simple steps for your own DIY pedicure.
(1) Remove any traces of nail polish or nail treatments from your toenails; (2) Allow your feet to soak in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, then exfoliate with a foot scrub; (3) Push your cuticles back with a cuticle stick; (4) Massage a foot cream into your feet, concentrating on dry areas; (5) Use a nail clipper to trim your toenails to your desired length; (6) File your toenails with a nail file; (7) Apply a base coat so that your pedicure lasts as long as possible; (8) Apply two thin coats of your favourite polish; (9) Finally, don’t forget to finish the pedicure with a top coat.
Make sure your feet are clean
You can’t really have beautiful feet if they’re dirty, so start out by taking a bath or a shower in which you pay extra special attention to cleaning your feet. Use a towel or a coarse loofah sponge to scrub away all of the dirt from the soles and toes, and use a nailbrush to remove particles, dirt and debris from underneath and around your toenails.
Frequently using a good quality cream or lotion is the number one way to prevent many foot ailments and create happy, beautiful feet. One way to maximise the effect of lotion or cream is to apply it right before bedtime and cover with cotton socks while sleeping. —Additional information from Online sources.