Fix cracked heels, corns and calluses to reveal happy feet with these tips.
While many of us don’t even think twice about spending fifteen minutes slathering layer after layer of skincare products on our skin, do we even spare an ounce of attention for our feet? Apart from our bi-monthly pedicure sessions, our feet are possibly the most neglected area of our body.
Despite our reliance on them to get us places (quite literally), we rarely spare a second thought for them on a daily basis, except washing them in the shower. As a result, many of us have developed corn, calluses and even dry or cracked heels. So if you think it’s time you showed our feet some TLC, here are the top tips, products and services to try for happy feet!
Tip #1: Keep your feet dry
A moist and warm environment is ideal for the proliferation of bacteria and fungus, which can then lead to nasty odours and other fungal infection. And while it might not be realistic to be wiping your feet dry throughout the day, you can try other options, especially for those who are prone to sweaty feet.
For example, using a foot deodorant can help keep your feet dry and fresh throughout the day, or use deodorising insoles. At home, it’s important to give your feet a good wipe down to keep them dry, especially after a shower. This will keep your feet dry, including the skin between your toes, where bacteria and fungus tend to lurk.
Tip #2: Moisturise your feet daily
Notice how the soles of your feet are drier than your palms? This is because they’re faced with a large amount of friction from long hours of contact with your footwear. And let’s be honest, no one moisturises their feet like they do their hands.
To soften your feet, the most straightforward thing to do is to moisturise them nightly just before bedtime so that they have the entire night to absorb all of the moisturiser’s nutrients. You can also opt to put on a pair of socks to really lock in the nourishment.
Tip #3: Massaging helps eliminate corns
If you’ve largely left your feet to fend for themselves, chances are, there will be areas where hard skin has been left to develop over time. Also known as corns, they become apparent when the specific area is under pressure or friction with your shoes, which explains why they often happen where there are straps or near the corners of the shoe. Because of this constant pressure and friction, the skin thickens as a defence mechanism to protect itself, but can also start to hurt.
To get rid of them, massage your feet and focus on the affected areas. Apply a pinch and roll technique on the skin for a few seconds every night to encourage blood flow back to the area. You might be tempted to buff the thick skin away with a pumice stone, but all that added friction is only going to worsen the problem in the long run.
Even if you don’t have this problem, a daily massage also helps to plump the fatty cushion of your feet, protect your bones and improve the circulation to your feet so that they feel lighter and more energised.
Tip #4: Practice stretching
Wearing heels for hours on end might make you look hot but they are causing your feet to work extra hard. When we are elevated on heels, the weight of your body becomes largely concentrated on the balls of your feet. Not only does it wear out the fatty cushions in our feet, but it also causes tension to build up in our feet and calves. To relieve your feet and calves, it’s important to do some stretching.
According to Bastien Gonzalez, podiatrist to the stars and founder of the Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio, “high heels tighten and shorten your Achilles, which can lead to ankle and knee problems”. To do some DIY stretching, he advises “putting the sole of your foot against the wall, keeping your heel on the floor and leaning forward to stretch your calves”.
Tip #5: Use peeling socks with care
We’ve all seen those reviews of people putting on peeling socks which gradually causes the skin on their feet to literally peel off, revealing fresh and soft skin underneath. And if you’re tempted to give your feet a new lease of life by popping them into such peeling socks, make sure you have all the information. According to Jeremy Jeune, Studio Manager of Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio at The St. Regis Singapore, these socks might beneficial for those with very thick, dry and hard skin on their soles, but the skin on the top of the feet are rarely in the same condition. And in order for them to have the power to slough off dead skin in that manner, they could be overly harsh on even healthy skin.
Here’s what you can try to pamper your feet:
Frank Body Peppermint Coffee Scrub ($28 for 200g)
Even though this is technically a body scrub, its addition of peppermint makes it perfect for use on feet as it keeps them fresh. Plus, it exfoliates with crushed coffee, sugar and salt crystals, while botanical oils nourish the skin at the same time.
Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme ($26)
Made with soybean, canola, olive, oat kernel, coconut oils and glycerin, this softens dry skin and locks in moisture. At the same time, rosemary leaf extract provides antibacterial and anti-fungal properties to keep feet healthy and fresh.
Scholl Odour Control Foot Powder ($15.60)
Perfect for daily wear, it has a triple action formula to protect the feet against dampness, odour and bacteria. A light veil of powder also helps smooths skin surface to reduce friction against footwear.
Ellgy Plus Cracked Heel Cream ($18.55)
For an intensive treatment, treat cracked heels with this rich cream. Formulated with ingredients that act as a moisture magnet to draw moisture to the skin, it soothes and smooths dry skin instantly. It also contains plant extracts rich in essential fatty acids to help rebuild the skin’s barrier layer to prevent moisture loss over time.
Bastien’s Pedicure at Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio at The St. Regis Singapore ($195 for 60 minutes)
If you decide to hand it to the pros, look no further than Bastien’s Pedicure. Developed by podiatrist, Bastien Gonzalez, it involves nail and foot care for a holistic approach. Using unusual tools like a scalpel, leather buffer and a dentist’s drill, cuticles are trimmed, nails are buffed to perfection and your weary feet and legs are re-energised, thanks to the specially designed massage techniques.