While most of us are very particular about taking care of our facial skin, hair, and even hands; feet care is often relegated to the last spot on our list of body care priorities. Come to think of it, we apply moisturisers and cold creams on our facial skin several times a day, but we tend to ignore our feet for days at stretch. Ignoring the feet can have painful consequences including bacterial or fungal infections, corns, cracked skin and bad odour, among others. From the aesthetic point of view, neglecting the feet in your daily skincare regimen can turn you into the proverbial peacock - with a beautiful overall appearance but ugly unseemly feet.
In winters, especially when the skin becomes chapped and dry all over the body, it becomes even more important to pamper your feet once in a while. If you experience skin irritation, swelling of the feet or peeling of the skin, do consult a doctor as this may be a severe skin allergy and may need immediate medical intervention.
Here are 7 feet care practices that you should include in your schedule:
Feet skin is most susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections since it is cloaked in socks and shoes for a major part of the day, or exposed to dust and grime. The skin between the toes is a perfect place for bacterial and fungal infections to flourish if it is not washed and cleansed properly. It is therefore very important to soap and wash your feet once every day to ensure the locked in dirt and sweat is cleansed off.
2. Keeping Them Dry
Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection of the feet which causes itching, burning, peeling of the skin, and in some cases may also cause painful blisters. Dampness is a perfect environment for fungal infections like athlete's foot to thrive. Drying the feet, especially the area between the toes is very essential after every wash, especially if you are wearing socks and shoes immediately afterwards.
Don't limit your moisturising routine to just your face and hands. Lack of moisture can leave your feet skin dry, scaly and chapped. The chapped skin can then become extremely dry and hard especially on the heels. This area can then become a magnet for dirt and grime which will start sticking to it. Chapped heals do not just have an unseemly appearance but can also be painful. Make sure you apply a generous dose of moisturizing agent on your feet every day after washing your feet. Cocoa butter or petroleum jelly can be good options.
4. Removing Jagged Skin
Moisturising dead skin will not serve any purpose. It is important to remove the dead layer first by exfoliation once every month. This can be done with pumice stones or loofas, but mildly. It also helps remove the dirt and grime stuck to the hardened dead skin. Follow it with a hydrating moisturiser and leave it overnight.
Scrubbing can also be done with the mixture of sugar and olive oil, with a few drops of mint or tea tree oil added to it for anti bacterial properties.
5. Occasional Pampering
Leave your feet soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes twice a month. This helps soften the skin. Then rub the feet mildly, dry them thoroughly and apply a Vitamin E rich cold cream. If your feet are susceptible to infections and inflammations, use an anti bacterial cream.
You can also use a mashed banana mixed with lemon juice as a hydrating mask. Apply it all over your feet and wash it with warm water after 20 minutes. Apply moisturising foot cream or petroleum jelly before going out and when you go to sleep. It is also very important to keep yourself hydrated in the winters because cold weather, high winds and hot central heating combined together can take away the moisture from your skin. So it is important to drink plenty of water for the skin.
6. Wearing Socks
Wearing socks is not only important to protect you from the cold but also to protect your feet against environmental damage. Socks shield the feet against dust and dirt which might stick to the cream applied on to the feet. They also protect against UV radiation.
7. Wearing Comfortable Shoes
Always remember to wear shoes that you are comfortable in. Avoid wearing tight shoes as this may lead to skin infections or sores. Also avoid wearing high heels regularly as this may cause damage to the tissues and ligaments of your feet.
About the Author:Dr. Sapna V Roshni is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation, New Delhi.
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