Just like doing laundry or washing the dishes, we tend to put off taking care of our feet until the very last minute. It's not until cracked, callused heels are staring us right in the face as we slide on our mules, do we realise the winter left behind some collateral damage — and it's living on the bottom of our feet.
Luckily, it's possible for all that dead winter skin to go the way of 30-degree weather just in time to slip your toes into a strappy sandal. We turned to the pros — Rodeo Drive Podiatry founder Bobby Pourziaee, DPM, and celebrity podiatrist Suzanne Levine, DPM — to figure out exactly how we can get our feet ready for summer. Their advice, ahead.
Soak Your Feet In Epsom Salt
If you don't have a Baby Foot peel on hand, the easiest way to solve your dry-foot problem is to buff away the dead skin. Before you can do that, you have to soften the build-up by soaking your feet in warm water for about 15 minutes. Both Dr. Pourziaee and Dr. Levine suggest adding Epsom salt to the tub or bowl, which may help soften the feet a little faster.
Use A Pumice Stone
Now that your feet are softened, it's time to buff away the dead skin, but not without caution. You should never pumice areas of the skin that are normal, or simply dry — only callused or thick skin. If you're unsure if it is callused, see your foot doctor to evaluate; it could be a wart or a lesion in need of treatment.
Dr. Levine says not to overdo it on the pumicing: Just use gentle pressure as you buff the stone in circular motions until the skin sheds. If you do get overzealous with the stone and create an open wound, Dr. Levine says to rinse it with warm water, Ivory soap, and a clean washcloth. Then, apply a topical antibiotic and a bandage to avoid an infection.
Tempted to skip the pumice stone and pick at a callus? Please don't. Using a sharp object to remove the thick skin can hurt and lead to infection if a wound is created and left open.
Apply Lotion Or Oil At Night
Your work doesn't stop there — now, it's time to pack on the hydration with a body lotion or baby oil. Dr. Levine says that massaging on some oil and sealing it in with clean cotton socks overnight will make your feet even softer.
Wear Proper-Fitting Shoes
Dead skin forms from repetitive friction on the soles of the skin from walking, says Dr. Pourziaee. So, if you walk to work or frequently exercise, make sure to wear socks that provide some cushion, absorb sweat, and reduce rubbing.
"Remember that prevention is always better than treatment," Dr. Levine says. "To minimise the formation of calluses, thick skin, and cracks, wear proper-fitting shoes." She adds that there should be about a finger width of space in front of your longest toe to ensure your foot won't callus. Heed this expert advice, and you'll have soft, sexy feet for summer.
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