Let’s face it, lovely ladies of a ‘certain’ age – our feet are no longer the things of beauty they once were: the happy excitement we once felt about gorgeous strappy sandals has transferred itself to a comfortable pair of sensible loafers; now, our once-pretty, perfectly pedicured toes are less like Cinderella’s and more like Princess Fiona’s on a bad ogre day!
Cracked heels and dead, loose skin are
just two of the little gifts that life presents us with to celebrate the
passing years; needless to say, they don’t make us particularly thrilled at the
prospect of ‘baring our soles’ to public scrutiny – and often, the only thing
that gives us confidence is a salon pedicure.
Nothing beats a professionally pampered, perfectly painted pair, but in our changing world, salon visits may become a much rarer treat for the feet: because of this, our blog focusses on at-home heathy care, treatments and maintenance, to help you put your best foot forward with confidence, all year round.
Often caused by obesity, badly fitting shoes,
cold, dry weather and even standing on hard floors for too long, the thing we
hate most about cracked heels is their ugliness! Another problem is that during the colder
months, we pay so little attention to our feet that cracks develop without even
being noticed – and the deeper they get, the more likely they are to become painful
and infected, sometimes even requiring medical intervention.
However, if caught early enough, cracked heels can be soothed and even stopped in their tracks with frequent moisturizing. Use an emollient (penetrates skin, reduces water loss) or humectant (penetrates outer skin, attracts water from air) ointment or cream containing ingredients like urea, lanolin, petrolatum or mineral oil, and apply immediately (according to product directions) after washing with warm water (avoid hot – and never soak for longer than 20 minutes max) to seal in moisture. Now, put on socks (preferably 100% cotton, and leave overnight.
If your cracked heels persist, try these rubs, scrubs, foot masks and soaks, made from household ingredients you can pick up at your local store – or probably have at home already. Remember, repetition is the key here: treat your feet regularly (even daily to start with), to get results:
Vapor Rub & Coconut Oil Foot Mask
Start by exfoliating your feet with a pumice stone in the shower. Then, before going to bed, mix about a teaspoon of vapor rub with twice the amount of coconut oil, warm the mixture by placing the bowl in hot water, massage into heels and other dry patches, then put on socks. Wash the mixture off in the morning and exfoliate gently with a pumice stone.
Epsom Salt Soak
Dissolve half a cup of Epsom salts to 8 cups of warm water in a tub large enough to fit your feet in. Soak for 20 minutes max, dry your feet thoroughly, massage them with your chosen moisturizer, and wear socks overnight
Antiseptic Mouthwash & Vinegar Soak
Fill a tub with warm water, add ¼ cup of mouthwash and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, soak your feet for 20 minutes max, and gently scrub afterwards with a pumice stone. Dry thoroughly, moisturize and wear socks overnight.
Epsom Salt & Apple Cider Vinegar Soak
Dissolve 1 cup of Epsom Salt in a tub of warm water, add a cup of vinegar, and soak for 20 minutes. Rinse and exfoliate with your pumice stone or a foot brush, moisturize and wear your socks overnight.
Dead or loose skin
Though unsightly, those patches of dry, loose or ‘hanging’ skin on the edges of your toes and on the soles of your feet are just your body’s way of shedding dead skin cells! These build up due to a lack of moisture, especially when your feet are cooped up in closed shoes and socks for long periods, or if you do not exfoliate, scrub or regularly moisturize. This condition is generally not painful, so if you do experience pain, it may be due to infection like athlete’s foot, or a skin condition such as eczema. Either way, talk to your health professional about treatment, and avoid home remedies without medical approval.
To reduce dead skin cell build-up, steer clear of using lotions that contain alcohol, as they may actually dry your skin out even more; always shower, bath and rinse with warm water, as hot temperatures can dry your skin out by causing you to sweat, even though you are wet!
While you can take measure to reduce dead skin build up, it is a natural process, and will occur whether you like it or not; here are some mask, scrub and soak ‘recipes’ for efficient exfoliation, to help you remove dead skin cells easily, and make way for healthy new skin growth:
Banana & Honey Foot Mask
Mash 2 extra-ripe bananas with 2 tablespoons of honey, cover your feet completely, and gently ease on a pair of loose socks to keep the mixture in place. Keep your feet up for at least 20 to 30 minutes, then wipe off everything off, gently scrub with a brush and rinse well with warm water, before moisturizing.
Beauty tip: rub the stringy side of your banana peels on your feet, you’ll be amazed how soft and moisturized they will feel if you do this often enough!
Sea Salt, Baby Oil & Lemon Juice Scrub
Dilute 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt with equal amounts of lemon juice and baby oil, and rub gently all over your foot with you palm, a sponge or a foot brush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water afterwards, dry and moisturize.
Oatmeal & Rosewater Scrub
Make your rosewater by removing red or pink rose petals from stems, run them under lukewarm water to remove impurities, put them in a pot and add just enough distilled water to cover them. Heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes, or until the petals have lost their color. Leave it to cool, remove petals and mix a cup of your rosewater with an equal part of oatmeal, spread all over your feet and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Use a brush to exfoliate, then rinse with cold water, let your feet dry naturally, and moisturize
Epsom Salt & Olive Oil Scrub
Combine these ingredients to create a creamy exfoliant that can soften, sooth and smooth dry heels and elbows.
Mix 1 part white (or apple cider) vinegar to 2 parts cool water in a bowl, making enough liquid to cover your feet. Soak for 5 – 10 minutes to start and build up over time. Let your feet dry naturally and apply petroleum jelly coconut oil or your favored foot cream, before putting on socks to seal in moisture overnight.
Baking Soda Soak
Many people swear by this treatment for dead skin removal, but some dermatologists warn that it may disrupt the skin’s pH balance, so if you have skin sensitivities or allergies, don’t try this one at home! Use only 2 – 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a full footbath of warm water, and soak your feet for 10 – 20 minutes, removing them instantly if there is any redness or discomfort. Use a pumice stone of brush to gently exfoliate afterwards and moisturize generously.
Again, lemon juice may interfere with your skin’s pH balance, avoid it if you have any cuts or open sores on your feet, have sensitive skin or experience redness or irritation – and discuss any concerns you have with your health professional before use. To create, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a footbath full of warm water, leave the peel in and soak for up to 15 minutes. Use a foot brush to scrub off loose dead skin, then wash and dry your feet completely, and follow with your foot moisturizer or coconut oil.
We hope you find this blog a ‘step in the right direction’ when it comes putting your feet first. Here at VOOMA, our aim is to constantly find practical, cost-effective ways to help you keep the years at bay, with useful information – and most importantly, a wide range of products coming soon, to make these challenging years of menopause easier on you – so keep visiting us for more!