You meticulously care for your face, neck and chest. You obsessively moisturize your hands. You exfoliate your legs and arms. So why not show your feet some love?
The first winter my now-husband and I were dating, there was a particularly traumatic incident that involved heinously dry feet. As we drifted off to sleep one night, spooning in that glorious new-relationship glow, he suddenly jerked his leg away, sat up, and pulled the covers back. When I asked what was wrong, he said something had scratched his leg and he was looking for a bug or something that might have found its way into the sheets. We tore the bed apart and couldn’t find anything, so eventually settled back in, ready for night of blissful rest.
But then it happened again. Up he sat, convinced his tormentor was hiding at the foot of the bed, and ripped the blanket away once more. Again we searched and again we came up empty. We settled in again, and when he jerked his leg away from me for a third time, I realized with a combination of horror and embarrassment that I knew what was going on, and it had nothing to do with a bug.
No, it was my feet. More precisely, it was the rough, dry, cracked heels of my feet that I was flirtily (or so I thought) resting against his calves as we spooned. They were in horrendous shape after a summer of wearing sandals on the streets of New York and a winter of frigid air and snowshoes. I knew they were bad but I just ignored it, putting off treatment until I could find time for proper pedicure. After once again searching the sheets for the culprit (hell no was I telling him what it really was), I made sure to keep my feet far from him for the rest of the night.
Things worked out: we’re married and I learned how to take care of the skin on my feet. And as traumatic as the experience was, let it be a lesson to you all that your feet are not to be overlooked. You meticulously caring for your face, neck and chest. You obsessively moisturize your hands. You exfoliate your legs and arms. So why not show your feet some love?
Foot Lesson #1: Get scrubbing.
You don’t need to dip your feet in a tank of tiny fish to get smooth, healthy skin on your feet. An oldie but a goody, pumice stones are the best friend of feet everywhere. A few seconds in the shower and a little arm strength sloughs off those pesky patches of dry skin before they turn into hard, sharp cracks. (Ditto scrubby towels.)
Not into the idea of adding another tool to your already-cramped shower? A body scrub can do the trick — just make sure you’re using a finer grain in a creamy base. Sounds counterintuitive, but a formula like this will be easier to control over the contours of your feet and will also likely contain moisturizing oils.
Foot Lesson #2: Moisturizer shouldn’t stop at your ankles.
You’re already (or should be) moisturizing every inch of your body every day, so why skip the feet? They have skin, too! Do it right after you shower: you’re already naked so it’s easy to access every inch of skin. Showering gets you clean, but it also strips natural oils from your skin so be sure to replace ‘em ASAP.
While you’re lotioning your extremities, make sure to expand the love southward to the tops and bottoms of your feet, paying extra attention to the heels. If the skin on your feet is in really bad shape, you may need to call in the big dogs and use a richer product than you do on the rest of your body.
Foot Lesson #3: Socks are your friend.
Sure, they keep your feet warm, but socks also work wonders when it comes to moisturizing. If you find that regular old body moisturizer isn’t cutting it, consider committing to the following treatment every night for a week: Right before bed, slather your feet with a thick balm, like the kind you’d use on super-chapped lips — you want this stuff to be thick and heavy. Really get in there, massaging the balm into your skin, between your toes, over your nails…the works. Then slip on a pair of heavy socks and get your beauty rest.
Not only do the socks prevent you from slipping around when you walk, but they also act almost like insulation, making sure the balm sinks into your skin throughout the night.
Foot Lesson #4: Don’t linger.
Hot water zaps moisture from skin. If you’re already dealing with cracked heels and flakey feet, standing in a scalding shower or soaking in a hot tub is going to make things worse. I know it may seem like a good idea — why wouldn’t water lead to hydrated skin? — but when it’s too hot, it works the opposite way. So when you shower, do your thing and get out. Your feet (and the rest of the skin on your body) will thank you. If you can’t give up your nightly bath, consider adding a nourishing oil to the water.