Need to know
The skin on our feet is the thickest of anywhere on our bodies and grows extra quickly in response to pressure from ill-fitting shoes, going barefoot or wearing jandals, and the way we walk. Dry skin tends to form around the ridges of heels, the balls of feet and sides of the big toes.
If you have a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis, you may be prone to problems. So, too, are heavier people and those with poor circulation. Unless you treat the issue, calluses will yellow and crack, and may result in bleeding and pain. Daily care is the answer to healing your feet and keeping them smooth.
Soak it up
Soak up to the ankles in warm (not hot) water for about 15 minutes, three times week, no more or skin will dry out. Add a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, a little milk or fresh lemon juice – the natural acids will soften skin. Finish by drying feet and rubbing down hard areas with a foot file. Don’t be tempted to cut the skin – that should be left to a podiatrist. Instead, go for a little-and-often approach.
Feet need more intensive moisturising than the rest of the body, particularlyif they’ve been neglected. If yours are seriously cracked and damaged, the most important ingredient to look out for is urea. This is naturally present in skin cells, but when it’s dry the levels are lower.
Effective treatments may also be enriched with glycerine to trap moisture into the layers of the skin, lactic acid to exfoliate surface cells, moisturising sodium PCA and healing myrhh. Plant oils are also often included – lemon myrtle is a common addition.
Tip: Don’t apply creams between the toes as it can become trapped and encourage fungal infections.