From fresh dew drops on grass, to the tickle of grains of sand on a beach, the touch of our environment on our feet is a constant, and invisible, part of our existence. But our feet are also among the most overlooked parts of our body - ignored until they demand attention. While they are constantly, and inevitably, exposed to harsh, varied environments, a few things for simple, everyday care at home can keep them looking healthy, fresh and beautiful!
Envy-inducing feet are just a few steps away!
Here's our beauty experts' list of 7 really simple things you could do to keep your feet looking enviably pretty.
Like with everything in skin care, good looks begin with the right cleansing. And in the case of feet, it's critical to keep all surfaces of the feet clean. Unclean feet will not absorb moisturizers and nutrients, will harbour microbes and over time lead to cracked and aged-looking feet. Be thorough, and do not neglect toe webs and cuticles. Two other important tips for cleaner feet:
- Warm water and soap (or soapless gel) works best. Avoid very hot water.
- Clean your feet before you go to bed at night, if you've been barefoot during the day, or have been exposed to a dusty environment. Do not wait until morning.
Periodic exfoliation works wonders for skin, and especially so on your feet, where dead skin is tougher to shed. Use a regular body scrub, or a specialist foot scrub to exfoliate weekly. Pumice stone is also a popular option, and is great for the heels, but needs to be used with care on the upper part of the feet.
Must, must moisturize feet - and not just in winter. Nature has made our feet to be tough - but that also means that the skin on our feet (and heels) need moisturization more intensely, and more frequently, than the rest of our body. Top tips on moisturization:
- Use a specialist high moisturization foot cream, and not just any lotion
- Using cotton socks at night after using a foot cream is a great way to reduce evaporative loss and keep the moisture sealed in
- Moisturizing after a shower is always a good idea to help the skin retain moisture
Prevention is better than cure. You can protect your feet from dryness and damage with some simple steps:
- Avoid long hours bare-feet. Use a pair of low-cost floaters indoors - this will reduce dirt pickup and resultant dryness and irritation.
- Avoid walking with your heels on (actually avoid heels altogther, if you can). If you do have to wear heels, keep them as low as possible, and avoid moving around too much.
- Ill-fitting shoes are the #1 cause of corns and blisters on feet. (Explanation: the constant friction due to poor fitment causes local skin to harden, as a natural defensive measure. That's a callus, that later becomes a corn. Painful.)
5. Go pro - the right way
Feet care needs expert attention more often than, say, hand care. To get this right, we'd recommend:
- Seeing a qualified doctor (and not a beauty spa), if you have issues related to ingrown nails, infections or painful corns. These are medical conditions needing medical attention
- Going in for a pedicure or foot spa regularly will ensure that steps (1) - (3) are done well. Just make sure you pick a good, hygienic place.
- Cracked heels or blisters that don't heal for weeks on end could signal more serious health issues. Make sure you don't delay seeing a doctor if these symptoms do not improve over more than 3-4 weeks.
6. Polish smart
Every nail polish isn't a nail polish. The wrong chemicals on toenails can cause discolouration, brittleness of nails and a host of other problems. Make sure you buy a brand that you can trust. Besides, always have a base coat on, before you layer on the colour. That will help protect your nails.
7. No blades, please
Unless you are a surgeon, you should lay off knives, blades and other DIY tools to "fix" your feet. Never try to remove dry skin, calluses or blisters yourself - it is almost guaranteed to make things terrible. So take it easy and go see a pro!
Taking care of feet does involve a little bit of effort, but walking those extra steps pays off handsomely. And is almost guaranteed to win you compliments!
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