Your feet might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about good health. But they support and carry us, and when they hurt, you suffer. Plus, unlike hair and nails, you can’t just cut them off and wait for them to grow back! So let’s start recognising how important it is to prioritise foot care and give them (and ourselves) some more respect and love. Just a little time and attention can make a huge difference!
Before talking about the problems related to feet and how to take care of them, it is important to know that they have a very particular characteristic: there are no sebaceous glands in your skin under the feet. Sebaceous glands are essential to protect the skin against the external environment and keep it well hydrated, as they are responsible for the production of sebum.
Sebum is a complex mixture of lipids that rise from the sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin to form a protective lipid film that reduces water evaporation from the skin to the outside environment. Since the feet do not have sebaceous glands, this leads to the two most common foot problems: dryness and dehydration.
If we don't take care of our feet, they will often develop rough and hard skin and possibly cracks or splits. Cracks are small tears that gradually widen and are a symptom of dry skin on your feet. When ignored, split skin can become painful and you may require medical attention.
SKINCARE PRODUCTS FOR FEET
To look after your feet's skin moisture levels, check that any products you use are hypoallergenic.
SEVEN SKINCARE INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
- Synthetic colours and fragrance
- Diethanolamine (DEA),
- Monoethanolamine (MEA)
- Triethanolamine (TEA)
Look for body wash products that contain gentle, non-aggressive and non-drying cleansers such as natural oils and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like lactic acid or glycolic acid. These gently cleanse the skin. You should also use a moisturizer to support skin health and keep it hydrated.
CAUSES OF CALLUSES AND CORNS
Your feet are subject to a lot of pressure and rubbing from wearing socks and shoes. After all, your entire body weight rests on your feet. When we neglect to care for the skin on our feet, it often hardens to protect itself, a process called hyperkeratosis.
Hyperkeratosis simply means that there is a buildup of keratin, which are fibrous proteins that form the structure of your skin. When there is too much keratin, the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin thickens as a defence mechanism to protect delicate, soft skin from excessive pressure and friction. This leads to another two common foot problems: calluses and corns.
Calluses and corns are both the result of friction, rubbing and repeated pressure on the same spots over a long period. This can happen for several reasons, including:
- Poor-fitting shoes
- Standing for a long time
- Sports, such as running
- Foot deformities, such as flat feet or arched feet.
The difference between calluses and corns is simply the area of the foot they affect and their definition. Corns form on the top of the foot, often on the toe, although they can form on the fingers, as is often the case with musicians, for example. Calluses appear on the underside of the foot, usually on the heels, and are often less well-defined.
FOOT CARE ESSENTIALS
Dryness, dehydration, cracks, corns and calluses are generally not painful, but they can cause pain if left untreated. In this case, you should speak with a doctor, podiatrist or chiropodist. Fortunately, it’s possible to prevent many of these problems and keep your feet looking and feeling great with good feet care.
FOOTWEAR AND ORTHOTICS
Limit time spent in heels and use heel cushions, pads, cushioned soles and shoe liners to absorb sweat and prevent your feet from slipping and rubbing. If you have a foot deformity, speak to your doctor or a podiatrist about orthotics. These are custom-made insoles that fit inside your shoes, helping to redistribute pressure, reduce friction and improve your walking pattern.
There are three key elements to remember when choosing foot skincare products:
- Cleansing: Choose gentle cleansing products to remove bacteria and keep your skin clean.
- Hydration: Use products that keep your skin hydrated. Look for ingredients such as nut or seed oil, aloe vera, oatmeal and hyaluronic acid.
- Exfoliation: Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead and dry skin. This keeps skin soft and able to absorb the active ingredients in hydrating products.
There are two types of exfoliation: physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.
- Physical exfoliation involves the use of an abrasive material, such as a foot file made from metal or a pumice stone.
- Chemical exfoliation involves using products containing active ingredients that remove excess dead skin cells by directly breaking the bond between cells. Both alpha and beta hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and salicylic acid are examples of chemical exfoliators.
Invest some time into taking good care of your hard working feet and keep them healthy all year round with simple daily care. Wear light, breathable socks to keep your feet sweat free and reduce friction, and if you're going sockless, clean the inside of your shoes or sandals regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria. If you need a more intense treatment or have calluses or corns, try our LOVASKIN INSTANT FOOT PEEL for instantaneous relief — it restores soft skin with just two minutes of use!
Take care of yourself (and your feet)!
Investing time into self-care never looked better — pamper yourself today with top-quality, professional-approved LOVASKIN foot care products, designed especially for healthy and amazing looking feet.