For some, the thought of losing the security blanket of winter boots and enclosed shoes can be terrifying … no matter what glorious array of sandals are out there to tempt you.
However, a little daily TLC will have you baring your feet in no time. Here’s how:
1 Soak feet for 10-15 minutes in warm water. Make sure it’s not too hot as this will dehydrate the skin.
2 Use a pumice stone or pedi paddle (professional term for sand paper on a stick) on callouses. Wet the device first then gently abrade the rough skin. Little and often is key otherwise the area can become tender.
3 Next, thoroughly dry the feet and massage in a specialised foot cream. Look out for products containing shea butter and salicylic acid.
4 Leave any remaining product on and wear cotton socks to bed to allow moisturiser to absorb overnight.
If you feel an electric sander is required to attend to your cracked heels I suggest seeking professional attention in the form of a pedicure.
The perfect pedicure incorporates work on the nails, cuticles (the area of skin directly below the base of the nail) and skin.
Generally nails are clipped for length and then shaped with a file. For healthy nails keep them straight across the top. Any rounding of the corners will encourage the nail to grow outwards resulting in a painful ingrown nail.
To loosen the cuticle from the nail plate it should be soaked in water before being softened with cuticle cream. Cuticle remover will then be applied as various tools (check they are sterile) are used to lift the skin away and ease the cuticle back. This should not hurt! If the pressure is uncomfortable or there is any bleeding the therapist should ease up.
Thickened skin should be buffed away gently with a pedi paddle and/or exfoliating product.
Your feet, and often lower legs, should then be soothed with relaxing massage. A cooling mask may be applied. Finish with a dash of coloured nail polish.
To ensure you keep your feet in tip top condition:
– Check you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Cracked heels can be a sign of omega-3 deficiency. In order to completely heal your dry cracked skin you need to address the cause as well as the symptoms. Omega-3 can be found in fish and flaxseed oil.
– Check for conditions such as athletes foot (fungal infection causing white itchy flaking skin in between the toes) and verucca (plantar warts resembling a tiny cauliflower with a black dot in the centre). Both are highly contagious and require a visit to the pharmacist. Wear sandals in public showers to prevent cross contamination.
– Wear different shoes each day. This does not necessarily mean 365 pairs – although it is the perfect excuse! Just alternate your shoes to allow them to dry out.