Summer weather is finally here. Time to pull out the strappy sandals and show off your toes. It's easy to neglect feet and toes when they have been bundled up in socks all winter but now is the time to get your feet and toes looking and feeling summer-ready.
Here are 10 tips for healthy and pretty summer feet:
1. Exfoliate your feet weekly
Remove dead skin with a weekly exfoliation. A salt or sugar scrub mixture with oils will exfoliate as well as hydrate the skin. My favourite recipe to exfoliate, deodorize and revive tired feet:
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 5 drops peppermint oil
- Rub feet, toes and heels with the mixture and rinse. For extra pampering, wrap in plastic for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
2. Hydrate your feet
Seek out a foot cream which contain healing, hydrating and cooling ingredients of shea butter, beeswax, arnica and oils of calendula, sunflower, coconut, St. John's Wort, evening primrose, hemp, peppermint and lavender. Foot creams tend to be thicker than body creams as they need to deliver more moisture.
3. Soften dry heels and calluses
Exposed summer heels lead to thickly callused skin which can result in painful cracks and infection. Use a salve to heal cracked heels. Avoid callus scrapers which can break the skin and cause infection. Do not over exfoliate calluses - they actually protect the pressure points on your feet.
4. Avoid acetone nail polish remover
Acetone is an extremely harsh solvent that removes natural oils from your nails and skin. Acetone use will result in dry, brittle skin and nails looking white. Instead, opt for a soy polish remover.
5. Use nail polishes that are 5-FREE
6. Protect the feet from the sun
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet, toes and nails to avoid burning them. Cuticles seal in moisture and protect new nail growth. Sun, wind, and sand can dry cuticles so apply a hydrating oil to your nails. Be diligent with your sun protection.
7. Prevent Fungal Infections
If you are prone to sweaty feet, you are more prone to fungal infections. During the hot summer months, make sure to expose your bare feet, to air, especially if you wear shoes and socks all day. Prevent and heal athlete's foot with a salve containing shea butter and pure zinc oxide. Alternate between 2 or 3 different pairs of shoes rather than wearing the same each day. If you are spending time at outdoor pools and showers, wear flip flops to avoid foot fungus and warts.
8. Consume Foot-Friendly Foods
Avoid (or minimize) your intake of foods high in salt or sugar which can cause your feet to swell.
9. Relieve hot, swollen summer feet
Soak feet in a foot bath with bath salts to relax the feet, boost the body metabolism, improve circulation and rejuvenate the skin. Combine a mixture of water & milk, 6 ice cubes, 3 drops of tea-tree + 3 drops of peppermint essential oils to relieve swollen feet. Soak one foot for 30 seconds, remove from water, then rub vigorously with a towel. Repeat with the other foot, and keep soaking until the swelling subsides. The natural acids in the milk will also help to gently dissolve dry, rough patches.
10. Maintain healthy nails
A healthy nail is smooth, without pits or grooves, uniform in color and consistency however nails may develop vertical ridges with age as well as white lines or spots as a result of injury. Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. Treat nail fungus with a nail oil.
Consult your doctor or dermatologist if you notice: changes in nail colour (discolouration), nail shape (curled nails), thinning or thickening of the nails, separation of the nail from the skin, bleeding, swelling or pain around the nails.
Happy Sandal Season!