Dry, peeling skin. Cracked heels. Calluses. After keeping your feet confined in shoes all day long, it’s no wonder the skin on your feet needs exfoliating. Your feet work hard, and they need relief. Depending on your skin type, you have many options for what to soak feet in to remove dead skin!
Read on to learn the steps for an effective exfoliation. If you’re big on DIY, you can also read on how to make your own foot soak.
How to Perform a DIY Foot Exfoliation
The key to healthy skin on your feet lies in exfoliation. For best results, soak your feet in warm water first to loosen calluses and dead skin cells. You can also add healthy ingredients, like baking soda and essential oils, to your water. Then, exfoliate and follow up with a moisturizer.
1. Soak Your Feet
There’s nothing like dipping your feet in a soothing tub of warm, sudsy water. Aaaahhh! But soaking your feet isn’t just relaxing. It also has health benefits for your feet.
- Your feet are stressed after carrying your body weight every time you stand or walk. This stress can thicken your foot skin, causing calluses to form. A foot soak helps soften calluses, so you can scrub them off.
- Hot water can dry out or irritate your skin. And nobody wants to dip their feet in cold water. Try lukewarm water soak instead. Limit your time in the soak to 15 minutes at the most.
- Soaps can also dry out your skin. It’s good to wash your feet, but find other, soothing ingredients to include in your soak instead of soap.1
Once you’ve softened your foot skin in warm water, the next step is to exfoliate those dead skin cells away!
A foot soak can be incredibly soothing, but it’s just the first step of a healthy foot care routine.
2. DIY Exfoliation
Soaking your feet will help loosen your corn or callus. Then a loofah or washcloth can wash away rough skin.3 Foot scrubs allow you to give yourself a foot rub while scrubbing away dead skin cells.
After you use the scrub, gently massage your soles and the tops of your feet as you rinse. Finally, be gentle when you dry your feet.
3. Foot Skin Peels
If soaking and exfoliating doesn’t remove all your rough skin, you can take things a step further with a foot peel. These products are a more intense way to exfoliate away skin.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, are powerful exfoliants. They help your body shed that rough, outer layer of skin. They may also help make wrinkles and other imperfections on the skin less noticeable. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid are common kinds of AHAs.4-6
- Some foot peels come in plastic booties you put on your feet. Others can just be spread on your feet directly. And some foot peels should only be applied by a professional.7
- Speak to a dermatologist before you use any peeling product. Peels are powerful, so they might cause dryness or irritation. If you experience a burning sensation or discomfort after applying a peel, rinse it off immediately.8
Mechanical tools and exfoliating foot chemical peels are two effective ways to remove dead skin cells and calluses. Whichever product you use, always follow up with a good moisturizer. More on this in a moment.
What to Include In your Foot Soak
Now, there is no universal recipe for the perfect foot soak. The key is to find the right soak for your foot skin. Experiment a little, and find what you like!
- Epsom salts are high in magnesium. Dissolve these salts into your water to soothe your skin and help your body relax.9
- Baking soda can soothe irritated or dry skin. Its antifungal properties make it ideal as a foot soak ingredient.10
- Lavender oil can help you feel relaxed and might help you sleep. Put a few drops of this, or another favorite essential oil, in your foot tub and enjoy the aromatherapy benefits!11
- A vinegar foot soak may help protect your feet from bacteria and fungi that can lead to foot odor.12
- Tea tree oil has aromatherapeutic benefits. Plus, it can soothe irritation.13
Can Aspirin Help Remove Dead Skin?
Aspirin is a form of salicylic acid. And salicylic acids can help loosen skin, encouraging exfoliation. Crush five or six aspirin pills and mix with lemon juice. This will make a paste that will work wonders at loosening and exfoliating your skin.14
NOTE: Speak to a doctor before applying aspirin to your skin. It can cause burns.
How to Choose a Homemade Moisturizer
After your soak is over, you need to protect your fresh, newly exposed foot skin with extra moisture! That’s where moisturizing comes in.
- If you’ve ever applied aloe vera gel to sunburned skin, you know how powerful its soothing properties can be. Well, aloe vera can also soothe your tired, dry feet. It’s a great choice if you have sensitive skin.15
- Coconut oil is another soothing natural moisturizer for dry skin. It’s high in healthy fatty acids that help nourish your skin. This oil may help your skin retain water so it doesn’t dry out.16
- Honey moisturizes and softens your skin. You don’t want to rub raw honey all over your feet because it’s sticky, but you can dab a bit of honey just onto irritated areas of your skin.17
Tip: Rub on a moisturizer right after exfoliating to help lock in moisture for the smoothest feet in town! Moisturizers applied to fully dry feet may not work as effectively.
How to Practice Good Foot Hygiene
Soaking, removing rough skin and calluses, and moisturizing can really help boost foot health. But they’re just one part of the puzzle. Pair your soaks with these practices to keep your feet in tip-top condition!
- Wear clean socks and comfortable shoes. Your footwear should fit well, and you should wear socks every day.18 Stay away from cotton socks, which can trap bacteria that causes odor on your feet.19
- Wash your feet every day with soap and water. Scrub them on the top, bottom, and between the toes, where bacteria can flourish.20
- If you have foot odor, rub baking soda or cornstarch on your feet. You can also sprinkle it inside your shoes.21
- Nail polish may look pretty, but it can hide the signs of some foot problems. Periodically remove your toenail polish with nail polish remover to check your nail health.22
Good foot hygiene can help keep dry skin and cracked heels at bay. Make foot soaks a part of your foot health routine.
Unwind With a Relaxing Foot Soak
You know how relaxing it feels to sink into a bubble bath. Your feet need that kind of relaxation and pampering as much as you do. Soaking your feet and exfoliating them can help them retain moisture, boosting your skin’s health. So, break out the foot tub, and enjoy a good soak today!
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