What lies beneath your socks may not be pretty, so Penny Fray’s here to help
Picture the scene – the weather is on the right side of warm and the siren sands of Qurum beach beckon. Everyone’s baring their pretty painted toes between the golden grains except me. The mere thought of ditching my hide-all tights and exposing my elephantine feet to the world – or rather Muscat – makes me feel more queasy than a twirling child.
Despite their usefulness in keeping me upright and mobile, I really hate the blighters. The heels are cracked and the nails are thick and crumbly. Expose them to a little heat and they swell up like a couple of balloons.
But I’m not alone. According to a new survey by a well-known chemist store, more than one in 10 of us don’t care to bare our feet thanks to corns, calluses, fungal infections and other nasties.
I know, I know, this little beauty article may put you off your morning cornflakes, but feet that can’t be flaunted are a real problem at this time of year – especially when those pretty Prada sandals are imprisoned in the cupboard and crying out to be worn.
My particular problem, and I only reveal this as a philanthropic gesture, is an infected toenail. Now, before you make a face, it turns out that three per cent of us are affected by what looks like nail rot. The number one cause? Athlete’s foot. According to my podiatrist, this condition can be unbearably itchy but easily rectified with anti-fungal spray or powder available from all good pharmacies. Infected nails should be cut short and painted with an anti-fungal lacquer rather than your usual designer polish. And then it’s a matter of waiting up to 12 months to have lovely looking nails again. Yes, really!
So the moral of this sorry tale is that prevention is better than cure, so wash you feet often, keep away from infected communal areas without protection and don’t be tempted to put on socks until your tootsies are completely dry. Use talc if need be. Also, alternate your shoes every couple of days so they can dry out and not breed bacteria.
When it comes to corns and calluses, usually caused by too much rubbing, relief comes through cushioning. An insole or pad should ease the pressure but if the pain persists, see a doctor. Meanwhile, dry or cracked heels can be smoothed with daily pumicing and hydration.
For baby-soft tootsies, try exfoliating socks followed by a petroleum jelly-based product like Vaseline. Before you know it, your feet will look fabulous enough to flaunt.
* If you suffer from diabetes, poor circulation or any other condition, consult a doctor or pharmacist before embarking on treatment.
OPI’s Cajun Shrimp Nail Lacquer, from RO5
Treat your tootsies to an injection of colour with this on-trend red with a hint of coral.
Burt’s Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion, from RO9
This natural product provides a triple treat against dry, overworked feet. A botanical blend of oils and extracts made from witch hazel, tea tree, parsley, rosemary and sodium bicarbonate help to neutralise mild foot odour. Peppermint oil and menthol invigorate tired feet while sunflower, wheat germ and coconut oils nourish and moisturise rough, calloused feet and heels. The final benefit – beeswax – seals in the goodness for a complete pampered experience. Heaven.
Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi, from RO20
Get skin that looks great and feels super smooth without any hassle. This cult product buffs away hard skin in minutes, leaving you with fabulous feet that you’ll want to show off.