It is said that the feet mirror the overall health of the body. It is reported that as much as 75% of people will experience some kind of foot problem in their lifetime. In Canada roughly 5% of us experience toenail problems in a given year. Ill fitting shoes can be the cause of many foot problems. That said, it is not surprising that women have roughly four times more foot problems then men. The main culprit here being high heels. For some advice on how to avoid and stop some of the biggest foot skin care problems read some of the suggestions below.
Getting rid of and preventing athletes foot
One of the biggest and most common foot problems related to skin care is contracting athletes foot. Thankfully, preventing it as well as getting rid of it is fairly easy, as long as you are consistent with the treatments and preventions. There are many strains of fungus that the feet can absorb, while the rest of the human body only attracts one major fungus. The reason for this is that fungus can easily be carried by the feet, due to the fact that they sweat easily, go quickly from hot to cold and are often end up damp or wet. Although there a few foot funguses that are actually healthy, the majority are best to be avoided. Generally these funguses all get lumped under one common term “athletes foot”. Athletes foot causes itchiness in the skin of the feet, and can also cause the feet to look and feel scaly. In more extreme cases athletes foot also affects the toe nails, causing them to discolour and turn white, to yellow, to flaking and chipping nails. It is easiest to treat the condition earlier on before it really sets into the nails and skin. It is hardest to treat in older individuals when the circulation of the feet is not as good.
The best way to treat athletes foot is by giving your feet a series of foot soaks with some Epsom salts and some essential oils. Whether you soak your feet in the tub or a foot basin, is totally up to you. Add roughly 1 cup of Epsom salts to the bath or a basin of hot water. To this basin add several drops of the following oils: 6 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil, 5 drops of Eucaplyptus Essential oil, and another 4 drops of Sandalwood or Myrhh Essential oil. Soak your feet in the therapeutic water for at least 15 minutes at a time, at least 3 or 4 times a week. One or two foot baths is sometimes enough for individuals suffering from a new case of athletes foot. If you are finding the fungus is in your toe nails than you will have to continue on this treatment for a few more weeks to months, until you see your skin and toes improving. Then continue the foot soaks for at least another week or two.
There are many essential oils that are cleansing, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Tea Tree essential oil is by far the most powerful and widely used. Look for Tea Tree oil in other products as well such as foot and body lotions as well as soaps. Other essential oils that kill off fungus and viruses include: Eucalyptus, Birch, Lemongrass, Myhrr and pine.
If you need a quick and easy kitchen fix for the problem try a vinegar foot soak. The fungus hates acidic atmospheres, so vinegar will also fight and clean out the fungus. Add at least one to two cups of vinegar to a foot bath. Both vinegar and tea tree oil can be applied directly onto the toe fungus, but be aware that both are rather drying and harsh to the skin. I would personally rather use a simple massage oil blend on the feet that included some anti fungus essential oils( such as Tea Tree, Lemongrass and Eucalyptus) as well as several drops of moisturizing essential oils(Jasmine, Cedarwood, Rose and Sandalwood)all mixed into a moisturizing base oil of almond, grapeseed or coconut oil.
Preventing foot fungus is just as important as fighting it. Athlete’s foot is often picked up at the gym, particularly in the public showers and the change rooms. To avoid this always wear a pair of flip flops in the shower. Also wet, damp, sweaty feet are also more susceptible to getting Athlete’s foot, so always remember to keep your feet dry. Change your socks and even your shoes regularly. A little talcum powder or foot powder in your shoes does not hurt either.
Cure for dry cracked heels and calloused feet
Another problem you might find yourself facing when you try on your new summer sandals is that your heels are dry and even cracked or that your toes are dry and full of calluses. This usually happens from extreme weather conditions and water and cold air seeping into the shoes or boots. Over time, just by simply walking around having our feet carry all our weight, or by having our feet be overly exposed to the elements, are feet can become dried out, even sore and cracked. The best way to treat this is with a lot of love and care for your feet. Give your feet regular foot soaks with moisturizing essential oils such as; Cedarwood, Jasmine, Rose, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang. A few drops of several of these oils with some Epsom salts will help to soften that dry tough skin. You can also add a handful of some moisturizing rose petals to the foot bath, or even dried milk powder. Follow up with an exfoliation with a pumice stone or foot file. Regularly moisturize your feet after showering, after foot baths and before going to sleep. For an extra moisturizing foot treatment try J.R. Watkins Peppermint Foot Repair Salve. Massage the salve generously into the feet and then cover them up with a moisturizing lock sock for the night. J.R. Watkins Peppermint Foot Repair Salve is available in most pharmacies for $9.99, and Be Better Cotton Moisture Socks are available at Pharma Plus for $4.99.