The weather’s glorious, you’ve dug out your bikini and you’re ready to hit the beach in your flip-flops – or are you? If you’ve not checked out your feet lately, then they’re probably not looking too hot right now; try some of the following tips for fabulous summer feet.
Get cracking on those calloused heels by raiding your kitchen for fresh lemons and extra virgin olive oil. Evening time is best, as your heels will have several hours to absorb the oil overnight.
Start by soaking your feet for 10–20 minutes in fresh lemon juice and warm water (the lemon juice is mildly acidic and will help soften the dry skin), then give your heels a good scrub with pumice stone. Dry your feet thoroughly, apply a liberal amount of the olive oil then put Saran wrap around them, which will help seal the moisture in. Keep your bedsheets clean by slipping on a pair of cotton socks that are comfortable enough to sleep in.
Don’t panic if you’ve just used the last of the olive oil on your pasta! Coconut oil or ordinary vegetable oil are equally good substitutes.
Fungal nail infections
I’m sure that anyone who’s suffered with fungal nail infections will attest that they’re unsightly and embarrassing (and that’s putting it politely). Severe cases may require prescribed medication, but you might want to try organic apple cider vinegar first.
Using a Q-tip, apply the vinegar directly onto the base of the infected toenail (where it touches the cuticle) twice a day, or soak your feet in an equal-part mixture of apple cider vinegar and water for 30 minutes once or twice daily (this seems to provide the highest success rate). The acidity of the vinegar is thought to create an inhospitable environment for the fungus, preventing it from surviving.
Hang in there with this process, as the infected nail will have to grow out first, which can take several weeks or months.
If smelly feet are making you feel like a social pariah, then you may want to try this unusual but popular home remedy – steeped black tea.
Black tea apparently helps to diminish fungal skin infections and neutralize odors as tea tannins can inhibit bacteria growth and are natural astringents, helping to reduce sweating by shrinking sweat glands. Using a footbath, simply steep 5 tea bags in 5 cups of boiling water and leave to cool before immersing your feet in for 10-15 minutes. Don’t forget to clean them thoroughly afterward, as the tea will stain.
Similarly, the apple cider vinegar soak can also be used for this problem.
Swollen feet and ankles
Revitalize those tired tootsies with an herbal footbath followed by a chilly dip. Firstly, soak your feet in warm water infused with fresh mint or peppermint oil (you could also use ginger or mustard oil), and then dunk them straight into a bowl of ice-cold water for 1-2 minutes. Once you’ve dried them, massage them with the oil.
Alternatively, slip tubular bandages over your ankles and feet, slide cucumber slices underneath the bandages and elevate your legs for 15-30 minutes. Along with their natural cooling properties, cucumbers can be helpful in absorbing surplus fluids, and the tubular bandages will assist in swelling reduction. For optimum results, try keeping the bandages in a zip-lock bag in the freezer (I prefer this method as the cold bandages feel blissful on hot and aching feet).
Puffy feet and ankles are often more common in summer as the heat causes dilated blood vessels and, if you’re not drinking enough water, fluid retention, so upping your water intake should also help.
Neglected feet aren’t pleasant to look at, so don’t be caught out this summer; get your feet in tiptop condition before the sun start’s shining, and bare those dashing digits with pride!
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