The skin is an organ and every single part of your body is covered in it… including your feet. I know that you know your feet have skin but do you look after them? When it comes to foot skin, it is an aesthetic concern and not a health concern (outside of infections like Athlete’s foot). In this, most of the time looking after your feet is a non-essential thing and if you are happy with callused and dry feet, more power to you. However, there are at least hundreds of thousands of us who are self-conscious about baring our soles when it comes to sandal season. Sometimes a yellow, callused and cracked heel can ruin the beauty of even the most beautiful of sandals.
Softening Your Foot Skin
We’ve long been used to the concept of a pumice stone or pumice file – they’re a staple in both households and salons. Arguably, they are not the most efficient way to do things, especially at home. There is a technique to their use that requires practise and it is much more difficult to do on yourself unless you are at least intermediate at yoga…. A hooman can dream.
Let’s get nerdie about calluses themselves for a second: calluses and corns are both more formally known as hyperkeratosis which is what it is called when a dead skin cell build up causes the skin to thicken and harden. Hyperkeratosis can occur due to a number of things but in this specific case, it happens because of repetitive friction on the skin. Think about those who weight lift or do manual work – they will often have calluses on the palms of their hands as they’re constantly using them.
When you’re wearing shoes, the toe and the back of your shoes are constantly rubbing against your skin. Socks and tights only add an extra level of friction and thus do not prevent it from occurring. Everyday life is a foot callus making machine.
Are calluses dangerous? No, but they can be painful and some may say they are unsightly. In lieu of time-consuming, difficult and not so skin-friendly mechanical exfoliation, you can opt to let some chemicals and other skingredients do the work for you.
Using Acids To Soften Your Feet
AHAs like lactic acid and glycolic acid get deep into the skin and prompt the skin’s turnover rate to speed up, meaning dead skin sloughing to boot which is exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to calluses. IMAGE Body Spa Rejuvenating Body Lotion (€42.00) is perfect for foot exfoliation as it contains glycolic acid along with retinol and peptides. Slather it on your tootsies and pop on a thick pair of socks to lock the product in and it is like a sheet mask for your feet.
From a less DIY perspective, there is the Baby Foot Foot Peel (approx. €25.00). You have come across this at some point online – they are little baggies filled with gel that you pop your feet in and then you shed like a snake for the preceding days. This style of foot peel is – you guessed it – Asian in origin… Who else would have come up with such a concept?!
Without seeing it in practice, you’re probably wondering if it works. Not one but TWO members of Team Nerd have used Baby Foot and had… intriguing experiences. Before you read, please note that both team members essentially underestimated Baby Foot and thus used them incorrectly – results may vary.
One team member decided that 1 hour, the recommended period of foot immersion, was simply not enough to have results and went ahead and kept them on overnight. For the following month, her feet were peeling like nothing else. A MONTH – that is double the time that Baby Foot themselves say that the peeling should occur for.
Another team member popped it on and did not see instant results. This makes sense as Baby Foot say the peeling may not occur for a week or two. Thinking she was safe and a bit underwhelmed at the supposed results, she went off for a minibreak to a hotel. Whilst in the sauna, she saw a plaster on the ground and was horrified, made a face and gasped. As she peered closely, she realised it was a plaster-sized sheet of her own foot skin. She had to pick it up and dispose of it.
“Do not underestimate the power of Baby Foot” is the moral of both of these stories.
Using Non-Acid Products To Soften Your Feet
Enzymes are what we’d usually recommend to those looking to get rid of dead skin without using acids or mechanical exfoliation as they work like the fish that eat away at your skin. They gobble up the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Enzymes are often used to tenderise meat as they dissolve the tissues… No harm of this in humans, I swear.
IMAGE Skincare’s Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque (€42.00) is another multi-purpose masque that can certainly be used on your feet to get that dry skin sloughing off. Is it unconventional? Possibly but we do not do the norm at The Skin Nerd.
Oils are an essential part of a pedicure and should not be left out of a home pedicure. Oils give you the slip and softening needed to push back your cuticle without causing yourself damage and many have the added benefit of improving the cuticle’s health in the long run. Realistically, you can use any oil for this purpose like pure jojoba oil, olive oil or coconut oil but if you already own a skincare oil that contains vitamins, it will be better for your cuticles.
I adore Seoulista’s Instant Facials for the face and I am delighted that they have released a sheet mask for the hands and the feet. Seoulista Rosy Toes Instant Pedicure (€9.00) is a product that I have longed for – I don’t always have time to do my own feet or have someone do them for me. It comes as booties infused with Bulgarian rose oil, aloe vera, vitamin C and beeswax to soften and nourish the feet. Pop them on when you’re doing your makeup for a night out, wait about ten minutes and then paint them tootsies and your feet will be looking glamorous and smelling divine.
Looking After Blisters
You’ve bought yourself a pair of sandals and put them straight into your suitcase. No time to try them on or wear them in. We do this year in, year out, and we know that it’s a tried and tested formula for blisters. Blisters occur due to constant, repetitive chafing to the skin and some are definitely more prone to them than others. Rubber and patent leather are demons for causing blisters but any material can cause them.
When it comes to preventing blisters, I highly recommend investing in cushions and pads for the purpose of actually preventing blisters. You can find them all over the Internet – so many brands are dedicated to this noble cause. Another less foolproof way is to keep your feet thoroughly lubed up. Keep an oil or cream in your bag and apply it to the area where a blister is forming to protect it with a barrier of product that will help to slow down the friction.
Getting rid of blisters requires more patience. The number one best thing to do when it comes to blisters from shoes is to leave them alone. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap, put a plaster on them and let them heal themselves – if you own Environ Colostrum Gel, you can put a tiny amount of that on first to help with healing time.
Keep it protected from infection at all costs. Covered and clean are your key words. Use an antiseptic if you feel like there is a risk of infection from any angle. As it is healing, do not pick at it as it will just slow down the healing process, irritate your skin further and leave a handy door open to let infection in.
If it is one of those blisters that burns like it’s going out of fashion, pure aloe vera will soothe it and cool it down without irritating it.
Beautiful feet means treating their skin as you would any other body part’s skin. Keep ’em soft, hydrated and nourished and you won’t have to go mad with a “Summer cleaning” where you try to get all that callused skin off in one fell swoop.