THE BLOG

Feet: From "Barbed-Wire" to "Baby Soft"

02/25/2013 06:41 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2013
  • Dr. Susan Taylor Dermatologist, Clinical Researcher, and Expert on Treating Skin of Color

You may not realize it, but on March 20, 2013, a little less than one month from now, it will be the first day of spring. I would bet that you have not thought about your feet at all during the winter months. Or if you did, it was to notice that your feet were cold.

Your spouse or partner may have felt your "barbed-wire" feet brush up against their skin at night in bed. Not so nice.

Now that spring is about to spring, it's time to take a serious look at your feet and toes. There are a lot of beautiful sandals out there and I would bet that your toes and heals are not ready for prime time.

So, you have a month to get to work.

The first thing that you must realize is that you cannot get your feet in shape in one day or even one week. If you attempt to remove all of the dead skin by scraping it off all at once, your feet will become red and sore, and you might not be able to walk. You could even develop an infection.

I like the slow steady method. It's simple and all you need are my five tried and true items. I have tried many products for my feet over the years and I have gotten the best results using:

  • A Tweezerman Pedro Callus Stone
  • A Toenail Clipper
  • Curel Foot Therapy
  • A pair of white cotton socks
  • Saran wrap

Let's start with your toenails. Clipping them not only improves their appearance but it will give you clues as to whether they are healthy. Always clip your toenails horizontally across with your toenail clipper. Do not cut or file in an oval shape or you might develop an in-grown nail. If any nail is extremely hard or difficult to cut, this may be a sign of a toenail fungus and you will need to see your dermatologist. Once the nail is cut, take a peek beneath the toenail and if you see debris under the nail this may also be a sign of a toenail fungus (but don't dig it out). Again, it is important to see your dermatologist.

Next, it is time to remove the rough skin and calluses and the best stone that I have found is the Tweezerman Pedro Callus Stone. I first saw and bought it in Paris. (I know, I know...what a strange thing to buy in Paris, but I'm a skin care and product junky.) It took over a year for me to find it in the United States.

Why do I love this stone? There are several reasons. First, it has two sides, one that has a rougher ceramic stone than the other side and removes thicker calluses from your toes and heels. It also has a fine, slightly smoother side for removing dry, rough, dead skin on the bottoms of your feet. I really like the handle, which makes it easy to hold and maneuver and you also have more control. The stone is almost indestructible (unless dropped) and it lasts for a long time.

Keep the Tweezerman Pedro Callus Stone in your shower. Each day gently rub the fine side against the bottom of your feet, gently. No rubbing or scrubbing. The same goes for the rough side of the stone, which you will use on your calluses. Everyday a small amount of dead skin will come off. After a month or so, the dead skin will be gone and your feet will feel smooth (and all without the pain that occurs when you try to aggressively scrape all of the dead skin off in one day).

After you get out of the shower, slather on your foot cream. I really like Curel Foot Therapy. Although it smoothes dry, cracked feet in just two nights, I want you to apply it for the entire month, both morning and night. I think it's the ceramides, shea butter, coconut milk and vitamin E that do the magic.

In fact, my personal trick is to apply Curel Foot Therapy at night, wrap Saran wrap around your feet and then put on a pair of thick white socks. If you do that for several nights, your feet will feel "baby's butt" soft the next morning. Throughout the year, I like to continue to use the foot cream as maintenance therapy.

After a month, you will have your sandal ready Spring feet. Now it's time to get a pedicure. There are five pedicure rules that I urge you to follow.

• Do not shave your legs for several days before getting a pedicure because there have been cases of women developing a severe infections (a form of tuberculosis) from the whirlpool foot soaks.

• To avoid bacterial infections, do not allow the manicurist to cut your cuticles or use a razor blade to cut dead skin from your feet.

• Only allow your toenails to be cut across in a horizontal direction to avoid in-grown nails.

• Make sure that the salon is clean and all of the instruments sterilized after each client.

• Avoid ultraviolet light to dry, cure or harden the nail polish (to avoid the possibility of skin cancer)

If you follow these simple tips, your "barbed-wire" feet will be gone by Spring.

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