Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fine-Looking Feet

May 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

fine looking feet 1

Feet tend to get overlooked when it comes to skincare, but untended feet are never a good look.   Dr. Dana Stern, a New York-based dermatologist specializing in hand and nails, shares easy-to-follow foot care tips to keep women’s and men’s feet looking good.

Whether you sport sandals or go barefoot, it’s important to maintain your feet by starting with the basics step of washing them (just like mom told you, get in between your toes). “One of the most overlooked steps to achieving beautiful, sandal-ready feet is to wash thoroughly,” says Dr. Stern.  “It may sound obvious, but people often just let the soap suds run down and hope that will somehow permeate between the toe web spaces and lather the soles, but feet need to be cleaned especially thoroughly. They have many physiological characteristics that differentiate them from other areas of the body and make them a unique habitat for supporting microbes, including odor- causing bacteria.”

Relaxen auf dem Boot!After washing thoroughly, it’s time to tackle the yucky stuff like built-up dead skin and thickened, hardened calluses. A salon pedicure could include these services, but that gets pricey, so you can make yuck-elimination part of your regular maintenance routine just like flossing.

According to Dr. Stern, “Once you have two clean feet you are ready to remove dead skin and calluses. In general, the best way to get sandal-ready feet is to first remove superficial dead skin cells and callus. Callus can be removed chemically with creams that contain urea or mechanically with abrasives. Then apply an extra-rich moisturizer to seal in moisture and to act as a protective barrier.”

Urea is effective, explains Dr. Stern, because it “dissolves the intercellular matrix of the cells of the stratum corneum and thus acts as a very efficient dead skin remover.  Most urea-containing creams are available by prescription but there are a few over-the-counter options such as Kneipp Healthy Feet Anti-Callus-Salve.”

You may also scrub callus and hard scales off with an abrasive technique rather than a product. However, to avoid risking an infection from hidden bacteria, make sure to use a disposable tool, cautions Dr. Stern. She adds, “I am not a fan of pumices as they can harbor all sorts of bacteria and molds once they become wet due to their porosity.  If you are going to use a pumice, use it as a one-time-use item and dispose of it afterwards.  I prefer a foot file with a removable grit such the Flowery Foot File with disposable/removable grit.”

Once your feet are softer, make them feel as smooth as baby feet by moisturizing them. Choose a richer formula that feels heavier than what you use on the rest of your body. Dr. Stern recommends L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream.  “I am a huge fan of shea as a moisturizer and particularly for the feet as it acts as a barrier for the skin and really helps to seal in moisture.  This particular formula also contains lavender oil making it a calming and relaxing before bed treat for you and your feet.  I also like new Cerave SA Renewing Foot Cream for the same reasons that I like other Cerave moisturizers, as it is packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid, thus mimicking the skin’s natural lipid barrier.  The addition of salicylic acid will help to prevent callus from returning.”

Moisturizing before bed can help seal in the benefits of your formula, leaving you with pleasant dreams and velvety feet in the morning. Wrapping them in plastic wrap and slipping on a pair of socks lets the moisturizer seep in rather than end up on your sheets.

If your toenails (and fingernails, as well) are damaged and brittle, pay special attention to the cuticles, the nail’s natural protective seal. Cuticles prevent moisture and bacteria from entering the nail unit and overlay on the nail matrix — where new nail is formed.

Dr. Dana Stern (1)Don’t cut your cuticles; trauma such as picking or clipping ultimately exposes your nail matrix to bacteria, as well as increasing the chance for nail irregularities such as ridging, discoloration, and depressions. The only occasion to cut a cuticle is if you have a hangnail — using a sterilized cuticle nipper, clip at the base of the loose cuticle, then apply an antibiotic ointment.

According to Dr. Stern, hydration is key when it comes to cuticle care.  She has developed a cuticle oil as well as a nail system specially designed to make fingers and toes look their best.

One final caveat before you go barefoot or sport sandals this summer: cover your attractive feet in sunscreen to avoid sun damage and skin cancer.

By Carly Zinderman


is a freelance writer from Los Angeles who loves to try new foods. She has written for many websites on topics including travel, health, beauty, food and drink; she tries to go green whenever possible.

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