Take good care of your feet, especially in summertime
Take good care of your feet, especially in summertime
In summertime, you should pay special attention to the foot care and health of your feet. The sandals are cool and comfortable summer shoes. Their downside is the stress effect to the heels. Walking barefoot also hardens the soles of the feet. The heels stay protected and do not dry out into a body so easily when using sneakers or other type of shoes. Very dry and hard heels do crack very easily. Cracked heels can be really sore and difficult to heal. Also, they are easily inflamed. How to treat hard, cracked skin on soles?
Why does the skin of heels harden?
The skin on the soles on heels is thicker than the skin on the rest of the body. On the heels the skin is particularly thick. Thick skin is meant to protect our feet while walking. In ancient times, there were no shoes so practically everyone walked barefoot. The skin of the soles became hardened to a thick shield. However, the skin did not crack. This was because the outer layer of the skin wore all the time while walking, and new skin formed constantly to replace the lost skin. So, the skin remained very elastic despite its thickening.
Nowadays we do not walk barefoot in nature anymore and the skin of the soles cannot regenerate so well. However, the soles do form dead skin cells at a rapid rate. You may face the problem if you have done regular pedicure on your feet by rasping the outer layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is excited to grow even more thanks to the rasping and the problems does continue.
Other causes of heel skin hardening are:
- Age affects the dryness of the skin, which of course is also visible on the feet.
- During pregnancy, the skin of the legs and heels may dry out more sensitively than usual
- Diseases such as diabetes, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, fungal inflammation
- Poor blood circulation in the legs, which can be due to lack of exercise but also illness
How do I prevent the hardening and cracking?
If you already have severe hardening and cracks on the skin of the heels, you should avoid open shoes. Protective footwear and good, clean socks are the best choice. Naturally, there are people whose heels and skin of their feet are in excellent condition, even if they don’t care for their feet in any way. They just have naturally good body fluid balance. For others, the feet are a problem despite good care.
- Avoid walking with open shoes. Especially back-open shoes make the hardening worse.
- Avoid long-lasting standing, especially when wearing uncomfortable shoes
- Avoid walking on high heels. High-heel shoes, especially those that are open-back, are one of the worst for the heels.
- If your feet get wet and dry all the time, the stratum corneum may start grow faster than usual. This can happen when cleaning the beach at the summer cottage or during fishing.
- Avoid unnecessarily rasping of your feet. Removal of the stratum corneum accelerates its formation. Instead, pay attention to the reason that causes the formation of the stratum corneum.
- Too hot showers and foot baths dry out the skin. Always use only hand-warm water on the skin.
- Check that your diet includes enough good fats. Too little fat intake dries the entire skin. The skin of your feet suffers the most from poor fat intake.
- If you have chronic conditions such as diabetes, careful foot care is extremely important. Your doctor will be able to give you instructions on how to treat your foot/leg health more effectively.
How do you treat the hardened skin on your heels?
You need to have patience when treating your heels. If your heels have already gotten in bad shape, you won’t get them back in balance instantly.
Removal of hardened skin begins with soaking. Soak your feet for at least 30 minutes in warm water. You can add hard skin softening and cleansing ingredients such as
- Grated soap
- Sea salt
- Baking soda
- Lavender, either a herb or an essential oil
- Epsom Salt
These ingredients soften the stratum corneum. You can use just one of these ingredients in water or combine two or all four ingredients.
- Soap, sea salt and baking soda inhibit the bacterial activity of the skin. They are alkaline substances that at the same time remove foot odour as well as extra microbial activity.
- Lavender is a well-known herb, specifically for pedicure. In the past, lavender was only used for foot baths. Lavender also has an antimicrobial effect. Lavender also calms both skin and mind.
- Epsom salt is a magnesium salt that is able to be absorbed through the skin into the deepest layers, all the way to the muscles and bloodstream. Epsom salt reduces swelling from the legs and thus stimulates blood- and lymph circulation.
Stimulate the blood circulation in the legs with exfoliation
Coffee grounds make an excellent scrub to stimulate the blood circulation of the feet. I usually do not prefer coffee grounds as an exfoliant as they are quite sharp and can damage the skin. However, coffee suits well for the feet. Coffee is rich in antioxidants and stimulates poor blood circulation in the feet.
Remove dead stratum corneum from the feet and heels
The dead cells now come off easily. Once the dead cells have been softened, they often come off by just rubbing the skin. You can also use rasp to help. However, there are dangers when using Rasp. Excessive rasping and if repeated too often, it increases the growth of the stratum corneum. Rapping therefore easily forms a constant problem. So only rasp the hardest areas if you have to.
Rinse your feet with an acidic foot rinse
The skin on the feet is now quite alkaline due to soap and other alkaline ingredients. This step is not necessary, but I have often rinsed my feet using a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water after rasping. Sour apple cider vinegar restores the natural acidity of the skin of the feet and increases the skin’s natural resistance.
After acid rinsing, it is very important to remember to dry your feet carefully. Especially between the toes, moisture can easily cause microbial growth.
Treat your feet with effective, natural ingredients
The skin of the feet is now dry but moisture has been absorbed deeper into the skin. In particular, salt products bind moisture to the skin, they act as a deep moisturizer. Unfortunately, moisture evaporates quickly from the skin if not locked in there. Now it is important to get moisture to stay in the skin as well.
Two-step moisturizing is important in foot care
I’ve found the two-step moisturizing to be the best in foot care. In the first stage, the moisturizing and caring ingredients are brought deeper into the skin.
Apply a moisturizing cream to the skin and soak it deep into the skin. The cream contains water. Its primary purpose is to moisturize the skin. The emulsion retains moisture in the skin better than water alone. Emulsion oils also take moisture very deep into the skin. Regular use of moisturizers is very effective in reducing the formation of indurations.
Next you should apply some natural ingredients that gently care for your feet. Many herbs work great in a foot emulsion. You can also add natural ingredients to the finished moisturizer.
- Calendula and chamomile are always safe choices in skin care lotions. You can add them to the water phase of the lotion. You can also make herbal oil from calendula.
- Mint, especially peppermint, is rich in menthol. Menthol oil has a particularly refreshing effect on foot care products. Menthol cools down feet and at the same time acts as an antimicrobial agent.
- Honey has a moisturizing and disinfecting effect. It is known to be particularly suitable for pedicure products.
- Aloe Vera moisturizes the skin. Aloe Vera is rich in salicylates, which reduce inflammation. if you are sensitive to salicylates, avoid aloe vera.
Lock moisture in the skin with a waterless foot balm
Waterless balm is made from solid vegetable butter such as shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter and a drop of oil. The purpose of the balm is to form a protective layer on the surface of the skin. You can enhance the protective effect of the balm with a starch such as arrowroot powder or rice starch. Waterless foot balm should be applied to the skin after the lotion has been properly absorbed into the skin.
Foot balm should always be applied to the feet in the evenings. Once the foot balm has been absorbed into the skin, wear warm, untightened night socks. The skin on your feet will regain its natural elasticity and the hardenings will disappear.
Increase the effectivity of foot cream with antimicrobial herbs
Tea tree oil is particularly strongly antimicrobial oil. Use tea tree oil when your feet are suffering an inflammation. However, teatree oil should not be used on broken skin. You can mix few drops of tea tree oil with lotion or foot balm or both.
Mint, especially peppermint has a very refreshing effect on feet as mentioned above. You can add mint as an herbal extract or as an essential oil. Peppermint essential oil has the best cooling effect.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post. It would be really interesting to know how you take care of your feet. Do you know more herbs or other natural substances that are suitable for foot care?