5 Ways to Treat Your Feet


Show your feet some much-needed attention: Scrub, soften and safeguard.

Scrub every day

Keep a nailbrush in your shower, along with a pumice stone or foot file, and spend a few minutes focusing on your feet every time you bathe. Scrub under your nails, and rub callused, rough areas with the file or stone for up to one minute. (You can also add an exfoliating scrub to this skin-smoothing routine.) Just don't scrub so hard that you rub the skin raw or you get rid of calluses altogether. Some callus is necessary to help protect your feet; keep razors away from your heels. If you puncture skin or use instruments not sterilized properly, you could end up with an infection.

Clip nails right

If you leave your nails too long, they can hit the edge of your shoes and bruise. If you clip them too short, you may trigger ingrown toenails. The best advice: Every three to four weeks, after you've showered or soaked your feet, use small clippers to trim, cutting straight across. If you start to notice redness or inflammation around the nail (early signs of an ingrown nail), clean out the area by soaking your foot in vinegar diluted with water. If the condition persists, see a podiatrist, who can clean and drain the infection using specifically designed, sterilized tools and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

Soften skin

Dried, cracked foot skin? Moisturizing your feet should be your number one priority. After a shower and before bed, apply a moisturizer. (Wear socks overnight to prevent the cream from rubbing off.)

Towel-dry toes--and feet

Bacteria and fungus that can lead to athlete's foot and other infections thrive in dark, moist environments--and the areas between the toes provide just that. The key: Always change out of sweaty socks and shoes, and be sure to towel-dry your feet--and between your toes--after swimming or showering. If you do notice flaking, scaling skin, try an over-the-counter athlete's-foot preparation. If the problem persists longer than a week, see your doctor.

Don't skip sun protection

It's easy to forget about your feet when you're applying sunscreen, but they can get sunburned just as quickly--and as badly--as any other area of your body. So if you're going to be wearing sandals or going barefoot, apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB-blocking) sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15.

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