1. Foot peels are not necessary. The skin on the feet is meant to exfoliate naturally and peels may actually make the skin on the feet grow back thicker and faster; they may even peel off too many layers of skin and cause a sore. If the skin is coarse and dry and does not exfoliate enough on its own, determine the cause of the dry skin and prevent it from forming in the first place.
2. Foot soaks should be avoided at all costs. Although they may feel good when feet are tired and achy, soaking feet in water for extended periods of time can actually break down the skin and leave the feet dry and exposed to infections. Instead, have clients apply a warm or cool towel to their feet and elevate them for 10 minutes.
3. Feet also need a special cleanser. As skin care professionals would not suggest that clients use body wash
on their face, the same care should be taken with the feet. Just like facial skin, skin on the bottom of the feet is completely different than the rest of the body and benefits from products designed specifically for it. If clients are having problems with their feet, suggest that they add a foot cleanser to their daily shower routine to help with odor, bacteria, and fungus.
4. Smelly, sweaty feet can be alleviated with deodorant. If clients have smelly feet or feet that sweat more than normal, let clients know that they can apply antiperspirant to their feet. The active ingredient will work the same for the sweat glands on the feet as it does for the underarms! .
5. Sunscreen is always a must. Remind clients to apply sunscreen to the tops of their feet, especially if they are barefoot outside. The skin on the feet is susceptible to sunburn and skin cancers, especially since they are protected from the sun for most of the winter months.
6. Advise clients to take precautions before they get a pedicure. Clients should apply an antifungal serum to
their feet before they receive a pedicure to prevent picking up any fungus from the treatment. They should also refrain from shaving their legs immediately before the visit as open hair follicles are a great place for bacteria to enter the skin.
7. Flat shoes can make foot pain worse. For most people, flat shoes do not give their arches enough support and may actually be making their foot pain worse. Instead, clients should opt for a supportive shoe with a sturdy arch and small heel.
8. Thick, yellow toenails might not be fungus. As people age, toenails naturally thicken and may even discolor. If there is subungual debris along with the discoloration and increased thickness, however, clients should consider the possibility of a fungal infection.
9. Using a serum daily is beneficial for the feet. Since serums are able to penetrate the thick layer of skin on the feet, using a foot serum on a daily basis is a great way to hydrate and detoxify the skin on the feet.
10. Using files to exfoliate the feet may be making them worse. When clients use a file to mechanically debride dead skin, they may be creating small cuts in their skin that could be making dry skin worse!
Dana Canuso, D.P.M. is a podiatric surgeon and the founder of Dr. Canuso Skincare for Feet. She was recently given the title of one of "America's Best Podiatrists" and is a member of Mensa. Graduated from Fordham University in New York City with a degree in chemistry and a minor in history, she went on to Podiatric Medical School at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is considered an expert in her field and has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows.