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From four-mile runs to four-inch stilettos, pounding the pavement every day can wreak havoc on your feet.
Foot fads have come and gone over the years (Anyone remember the PedEgg?). We scoured the latest and greatest as well as tried-and-true methods (so you don’t have to!) for the top five remedies to ease all your foot woes and keep those tootsies in tip-top shape.
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The latest obsession is the Baby Foot Peel. You may have heard or read about this foot treatment with a cult following. It’s been described in various beauty articles as both “gross” and “intensely satisfying.”
It’s a chemical peel for your feet that comes in the form of gel-lined booties. Although this Japanese treatment has been around since the late ’90s, it has recently gone viral. Users have been simultaneously amazed and horrified by the strips of dead skin that peel off their feet after use, revealing much softer skin underneath.
Here’s how it works: After soaking your feet, you wear the booties for an hour, letting the natural extracts and fruit acids soak in. About one to two weeks later, many report that the dead skin starts peeling off in sheets, revealing softer, smoother, “baby-like” feet.
How does this peel produce such dramatic and intense outcomes? The 17 plant extracts in the peel are rich in alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, and citric acid. These acids work to penetrate the many layers of dead skin on the feet, breaking up the cells and allowing them to peel away. This is the treatment for you if you’re looking to shed the dead to make way for the new.
When the skin on your feet dries out, it can lead to painful cracking and peeling, commonly referred to as heel fissures. The openings in the skin allow easy access for bacteria that can cause infections, making the discomfort worse. If your feet are cracking and peeling, you may be looking for a natural way to treat both the condition and the discomfort that comes with it. With a few simple remedies, you can be on your way to smoother skin and a lot less pain.
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Moisturize your feet often. Apply a moisturizing cream or petroleum jelly to help add and lock in moisture, and cover your feet with soft cotton socks. This should be done throughout the day as well as right before you go to bed. Vegetable oil can be used in place of lotion for the same result. Stay consistent with this and do this daily to see improvement.
Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap to help clean any bacteria out of the cracks in your skin, to prevent painful infections. Dry your feet with a soft, clean, dry towel by patting gently.
Use a pumice stone to gently scrub away dead skin cells and minimize areas of hardened skin that could potentially crack. Do this when your feet are dry, before you wash or moisturize. If you experience any pain, stop immediately.
Soak your feet in plain undiluted lemon juice to help soften the skin. You can do this as often as you like, but be sure that you do it at least once a week for 10 minutes at a time to see results.
Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dry out your skin, making the condition worse. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
When I was a kid, I was always jealous of my friends who could walk around barefoot outside. My feet were so sensitive that it always hurt too much to go shoeless.
Over the years, I’ve become grateful for my soft feet. Unfortunately, like many people, my feet have gotten rougher and drier as I’ve gotten older. Of course, the more time we spend on our feet each day, the thicker the skin becomes. This can make our feet feel scaly and tough.
Anytime my heels start to get too rough and dry, I usually head to the nail salon to get a pedicure. But I never realized that having dry, peeling, or cracked feet could actually be a symptom of something much more serious.
Having cracked feet can be annoying, but most of us just toss on a little lotion and ignore it. Find out more about the surprising and alarming reasons you have cracked feet below.
Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / James Heilman, MD