Let's face it: Along with summer's heat, humidity, and other sweat-inducing qualities comes a ton of gross beauty problems. From dry, cracked feet to ingrown hairs and chafing, there's a lot that can hold you back from living the confident poolside life you're destined to lead. But don't worry—we're talking to experts about how to fix them. Welcome to Ew! Beauty.
Whether you're surrounded by people with foot fetishes or people who couldn't care enough to look toward the ground, it's totally normal to feel conscious about the state of your feet. And while it seems like a pretty superficial thing to worry about, it's important to feel self-assured and confident in every possible way. After all, you don't want to worry about burying your feet in the sand or throwing on a pair of sneakers as soon as you get out of the pool.
Since the winter can leave your feet feeling and looking dry and cracked, it's important to take care of yourself and give your feet a little TLC. We spoke to Samantha Wright, a senior esthetician at Dangene, about the best skin treatments for your feet—both professional and at-home.
Pay attention to your skin type
Your heritage and skin type have a massive effect on how your skin reacts to exfoliation. If you have fair skin, it's typically safe to lightly exfoliate every day. But if you have darker skin, or have ancestors with darker skin, the body's response to trauma (which can be induced by exfoliation, heat, abrasion, or aggression) is to produce pigment. In other words, those with darker skin types have to be more careful about how they exfoliate. They shouldn't use a scrubber, salt scrubs, or walnut scrubs and should consult with a professional about what treatments are right for them. "A perfect protocol goes with your skin type—it’s not like a blanket across the board thing," Wright says. "Once you scrub, it’s very hard to go backwards, especially on your feet."
Treat your feet like your skin
Just like the skin on your face, it's important to keep your feet clean and hydrated. "Basically, you can use anything you want as long as it’s suitable for your skin type, not too aggressive, and as long as you don’t, like, type-A scrub your feet like crazy. Though, you can be a little bit more aggressive on your heels and on your calluses than you can anywhere else." Wright says. "Treatments for heels and calluses are automatically going to be more emollient and probably stronger in its percentage of exfoliant because the skin on your feet is much tougher."
If you can, get a microdermabrasion treatment on your feet
If you have the luxury of going to a dermatologist or skin institute like Dangene, opt to get regular (or even seasonal) treatments on your feet. Dangene's approach is to start with a diamond tip microdermabrasion treatment to remove dead skin cells. They then follow up with a hydra facial, which further exfoliates and adds moisture back into the skin. Then, for those who have lighter skin and aren't prone to hyper-pigmentation, they finish with a chemical exfoliant, restore pH balance in the skin, and apply a moisturizer with alpha hydroxy acids, which continues the exfoliating process as users go through their day. If you have calluses or very cracked heels, they also apply a mask that eats away at dead skin cells.
Get pedicures regularly
Take care of your feet every few weeks by getting a professional pedicure.
Carry around a spray bottle
If you walk around the city streets in sandals, your feet get pretty gross and dry in a short amount of time. "Carry a little bottle of Evian spray in your bag, and midway through your day, take your sandals off, spray your feet, let the water soak in, and wipe off the excess liquid," Wright recommends. "It will make your feet look like you just stepped out of the shower."
Use the age-old pumice stone
If you're targeting calluses and hard heels, very gently rub a pumice stone on your feet in the shower or after soaking your feet.
Use a serum
Like we said before, you should be treating the skin on your feet just like you treat the skin on your face. Wright recommends spraying Dangene's #2 serum—part of its three-step skincare program—on feet before you go to bed, as it eats away at dead skin cells overnight.
If you have athlete's foot...
If you're active and constantly in closed-toe shoes, you've probably had a nasty case of athlete's foot at some point in your life. It's important to treat athlete's foot before getting a microdermabrasion treatment or exfoliating feet, as the fungal infection can spread and transplant into another part of the skin, and irritate the skin more. Spray treatment, like Tinactin, on your feet, and let it air dry. Wear as many open-toed shoes as possible, and if you sweat in a pair of shoes, make sure to wash your feet and dry them as soon as possible.