Our feet have it tough: All winter they're stuffed into socks and shoes,
sweating and generally being neglected. Come spring, we take them out of those suffocating shoes and strap them into sandals
and heels, all the while expecting them to look and feel great. The problem? All that neglect over the winter months can cause
our feet to become dry, cracked and generally uncomfortable.
To get your super-dry feet in shape for warmer weather,
try these tricks:
Slough Off Dead Skin
When dead skin cells build up on the soles of our feet, they form
calluses. And during winter, those calluses can dry out; when they become severely dry -- a common problem -- the skin can
literally crack and bleed.
Start your pretty-foot regimen by getting rid of those dead skin cells. In the shower,
use a pumice stone or foot file to slough away calluses. Do this daily until feet are smooth; then cut down to two or three
times a week.
Chances are, you moisturize other parts of your body -- your face, your hands,
your legs. But if you're like most women, you probably forget about your feet. The problem is, skipping moisturizer on this
often-dry area can exacerbate problems.
After every shower, slather on a thick foot cream to lock in moisture and
prevent dryness and cracking. Tip: Buy a pair of terrycloth slippers or thongs to wear as your after-moisturizer shoes. After
applying cream, put on these slippers so you don't slide across your bathroom floor. The cream will be absorbed in a few minutes,
leaving you with soft-but-not-slippery soles.
Step Up Treatment at Night
When you hit the sack, you can
do a lot for your feet! Splurge on a foot cream containing a high percentage of AHAs, which chemically slough off dead cells.
Apply cream to feet and slip on socks; as you sleep, those AHAs will work their magic, and you'll awake to smoother heels
If your feet or toes are cracked, skip the AHAs and handle with extreme care. Cracks
can bleed and become infected, so you want to keep them as clean as possible. Fresh out of the shower, apply a liquid bandage
specifically made for cracked skin. This type of solution acts like superglue, "gluing" the crack together until it heals
from the inside.
See a Professional
For feet that are simply rough and neglected, a pedicurist is the person to see.
She can give your feet the TLC they need -- including scrubs, sloughing and nail-polishing -- to make them sandal-ready.
you're suffering from painful cracks, head to the dermatologist first. She can ensure your cracks are not infected and prescribe