With summer’s open-toe sandals and sunny beach days, it’s a great time for your feet to look and feel their best. We asked Ciro Martins, MD, a dermatologist at Belcara Health in Baltimore how to care for them.
How can I keep my feet soft and smooth?
“Exfoliate with a pumice stone, foot scraper, or emery board once or twice a week. Moisturize after you shower and at bedtime. Cream is better than lotion. Eucerin, Cetaphil, and Aveeno are all very good, easy to find, and inexpensive. Moisturize your cuticles with products like Cūtemol cream or Aquaphor.”
How do I keep my toenails in good shape?
“Keep them short, clean, and exposed to the air as often as possible. Clip them every 3 to 5 weeks. Don’t clip the corners too short or they may become ingrown. Limit how often you do the following: clean under the edge of your nails, wear tight shoes, wear high heels, wear nail polish, and go for long runs.”
What can I do for an ingrown nail?
“An ingrown nail develops if you clip the corners of your nail too short or wear shoes that are too tight. Try hot water soaks for 10 minutes, four times a day. You can also wedge a very small cotton ball under the corner of the nail to elevate it away from the flesh. In time, your nail will grow over the cotton ball.”
How can I treat a blister?
“The best thing is to keep the blister intact, without rupturing it. If you feel pain, it means it’s open and raw. Keep it clean by washing the area with water and soap, covering it with Aquaphor or petroleum jelly, and applying a bandage. Never apply Neosporin or antibiotic ointment.”
How can I treat corns and calluses?
“Corns and calluses develop as a protection of skin from repetitive pressure and rubbing. First, stop the repetitive trauma and relieve the pressure. Try daily, gentle scrubbing in the shower with a pumice stone or filing device. Over-the-counter salicylic acid medications speed up exfoliation. You can also try cushioning devices. If a corn is caused by a bony abnormality, see a podiatrist.”
What can I do about athlete’s foot?
“For 30 days, apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream like LamisilAT after showering. Apply it to the top and bottom of both feet, even if only one is affected, and between your toes. Avoid walking barefoot in public wet spaces like locker rooms, pools, and showers. Dry your feet and the spaces between your toes after every shower. I recommend using a blow-dryer.”
Treat your feet with these tips from Martins:
1. Prevent foot odor.
Every day, mix a gallon of water with a cup of white vinegar, then soak your feet for 10 minutes. Rinse, then moisturize.
2. Take a nail polish vacation.
Once a year, take a break from nail polish. They’ll get stronger, smoother, and healthier looking.
3. Avoid baby powder.
When you sweat, powder becomes a paste. The paste turns into a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria.
4. Let your feet breathe.
Avoid narrow, pointy-toe shoes and limit how often you wear high heels. Wear open-toe shoes, sandals, and flip-flops whenever possible.
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