In honor of women’s health week, I wanted to share with you an easy home pedicure process that can give you beautiful, healthy feet without exposing yourself to the potential risks associated with a salon-pedicure (which include infections, ingrown toenails, fungus and more.)
Follow these simple steps to get the healthy, beautiful feet we all want.
- Safely smooth skin—When your feet get smoothed out at a salon, you’re left at their mercy, hoping the water filters in their soaking spas are properly cleaned, not to mention the pumice used to exfoliate the foot. At home, soak your feet for about 15 minutes before using your own pumice stone to remove thick, dead skin. For antibacterial power, add black tea to the soaking water—it can help prevent fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
- Towel off—fungus flourishes in dark, damp spots, so make sure your feet are completely dry (especially between the toes) before going to the next step.
- Lock in moisture—Your whole foot needs to have moisture replenished, especially after a long soak, which can be drying, but your heels need extra attention. If your feet aren’t that dry, any moisturizer or foot cream will do; if you’re concerned about cracking, look for creams that contain petrolatum or lactic acid to draw moisture into the skin. If you have calluses that need softening, try a product with urea (I sell a few in my Houston podiatrist office.)
- Remember your nails—just like your feet, your toenails can lose moisture. To keep your nails hydrated, apply cuticle cream, vitamin E oil or Vaseline over your entire nail, then gently rub it in.
- Trim the right way—Contrary to what you might think, the way you cut your toenails does matter. Trim them too short, or in a haphazard way, and you put yourself at risk of hangnails or, worse, ingrown toenails. The safest way to cut? Use a nail scissor with a curved handle so you can follow your nails’ natural shape, and leave a little white visible. Leave your cuticles in place—you can gently push them down, but don’t remove them, since doing so leaves you vulnerable to infection.
- Choose your polish wisely—Some nail polishes can hurt your nails by hastening the drying out process that occurs naturally with age. Do yourself a favor and choose products that are free of formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. When it’s time to remove old polish and start this process all over again, choose a polish remover that is alcohol-free.