Summer Strategies for Your Beauty Routine
Why they’re stressed-out: Not only are sandal-clad feet exposed to the elements—wind, sun, and sand—which can be drying, but the repetitive pounding of your heels on pavement (in flip-flops or bare feet) can also cause calluses to form, which may lead to painful cracked skin. Worse, those refreshing sprays and lotions meant to deodorize feet can cause bacterial and fungal infections between the toes if used too often: Bacteria thrive in moist areas, says podiatrist Eric Reynolds, a foot and ankle surgeon in Jersey City.
What you can skip: Ditch the spritzes and sprays. When possible, give the flip-flops a break in favor of breathable high-tech socks or cotton socks and sneakers. And resist the temptation to have a salon technician take a razor to your callused heels. The treatment may feel satisfying, but it’s frowned upon by doctors, since micro-tears in the skin are the perfect breeding ground for infections. Instead, exfoliate in the shower with a gentle foot file, such as the Tweezerman Glide Away Foot File ($10, drugstore.com).
Spa treat: For a refreshing foot bath, soak your feet in brewed and cooled black tea for 30 minutes to minimize perspiration and odor. Tea contains tannins, plant polyphenols that can act as an astringent and help reduce sweating, says Graf. The tannins in tea may also reduce odor.