Express news service
How often do you worry about taking your toes and heels off your shoes, feel aware of cracks, dryness, and peeling? There are things our feet tell us, through their skin tone, and we have to choose to listen.
Our feet carry the full weight of our body, especially when the job requires standing for hours. Foot problems set in with age, hormonal twists, those unwanted pounds, long periods in air-conditioned environments, etc. So what do you do when the skin gets dry? Explains Dr Nandini Gupta, Consulting Dermatologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai, “Dry feet and cracked soles are more common than dry skin in other parts of our body because the feet lack sebaceous glands, especially the soles. The feet, on the contrary, depend on the sweat glands to stay hydrated. Often, rough, hard, dry skin forms on the pressure points of the feet, causing dry skin. This accompanied by calluses is usually an indicator of hypothyroidism.
Dry feet could also be an indicator of long-term psoriasis and eczema. Moisture and heat suck moisture from the skin, often resulting in cracked and dry areas on the feet. “The lack of vitamins and minerals like zinc can make your heels dry and eventually start to crack. Obesity increases the pressure on the fat under the heel, causing it to expand sideways and pressurize the feet. This leads to cracks. Like going barefoot for a long time, frequently, especially in the bathroom. Water can rob the skin of natural oils, leaving it rough and dry, ”says Dr Stuti Khare Shukla, dermatologist, Mumbai.
Using chemical-free soaps and moisturizing your feet daily is a good start. Avoid detergents. Remove dead skin from your toes and heels with a homemade salt and coconut oil scrub. “Soak your feet in lukewarm water for 15 to 20 minutes every day. Apply coconut oil on your feet and keep it overnight for best results, ”suggests Dr. Stuti. “Aloe vera gel is a savior because it provides vitamins A, E, C and antioxidants which work well to heal dryness. Bananas are also helpful. Mash a banana and add a tablespoon of honey. Apply this mixture to your feet and rinse off after 20 minutes. Repeat twice daily for three days for encouraging results.
It is important to invest in a cream that is rich in nutrients. What ingredients to look for on labels? “Compositions of bornyl acetate, lactic acid, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, dimethicone, urea, acetyl alcohol, peppermint, ginger help hydrate the feet, ”advises Dr. Nandini. “Even lemon oil foot cream, tea tree foot cream, milk and honey foot cream soothe cracked feet. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can also prevent dry skin on the feet, ”she adds.
Supplement your diet with foods rich in zinc like oysters, chicken, crab, kidney beans, yogurt, and brown rice.
Provide beta-carotene and vitamin C in oranges, strawberries, avocados, flax seeds, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers to keep the skin supple and smooth.