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The exposure our feet get in summer means foot care is essential. Here’s a guide to what you need to do to keep your feet looking and feeling great. Photo: Shutterstock

Foot care: the products, kit and precautions to take in summer to keep your feet looking and feeling great

  • Summer is for sandals and open-toed shoes, but the exposure we get means foot care is important to keep feet healthy and avoid dry skin, calluses and sunburn
  • Exfoliation, moisturising and sun protection are key. Make a toolkit with nail clippers, a pumice stone, foot peel masks and oils – and avoid walking barefoot

Summer is synonymous with sandals, open-toed shoes and walks on the beach, but they expose our feet to high heat and hot surfaces. This can lead to dryness, rough patches, and various issues that will affect how your feet look and feel.

Experts recommend upping your foot care game during spring and summer to ensure they stay healthy all year long. If you are not sure how to do that at home, here are some tips and suggestions for products you can use to optimise your foot care routine.

1. Exfoliation is key

Exfoliating your feet once or twice every two weeks is a must to get rid of surface-level dry skin cells that may make your feet feel and look rough. Additionally, once you uncover the healthier skin layer that was hiding underneath, all the products you apply will be absorbed better and faster.

A good foot scrub will help keep your feet exfoliated and healthy. Photo: Skinn

There’s a wide variety of options when it comes to foot exfoliation. Sugar scrubs, for example, are great as a maintenance tool to keep flaky skin at bay.

However, if you’re dealing with dry skin or calluses, a pumice stone or a foot file may be a better option – just remember to apply less pressure when working over soft skin and more when dealing with calluses, so you don’t damage your skin.

A pumice stone is a great way to deal with calluses – just be careful to apply less pressure on softer skin.

Another great choice is a peeling pack: a set of bootee-like masks soaked in a solution that, once wrapped around your feet, will help soften calluses to induce natural skin peeling. The process lasts a couple of days, with the first signs of peeling showing up around day three and continuing for up to 10 days.

Multiple brands have versions of these packs, but the original Baby Foot pack has been a favourite since 1997. Formulated with citric and malic acids and 17 natural extracts, this mild peel not only exfoliates but also provides your feet with deep moisturising effects.

2. Deep moisturising

In summer we naturally tend to spend more time outdoors; that means our feet are more prone to overuse, which may cause them to become dry faster than usual. Our heels carry most of our weight, so the skin on them usually wears out the fastest.

That’s why moisturising your feet, especially your heels, should be a regular part of your routine and not something you do only when they feel dry or calluses form.

Also, to retain the moisture of lotions, masks and oils, make sure to apply them right after you shower, as the skin absorbs ingredients best when it’s wet.

Heel Genius foot cream. Photo: Soap and Glory
Eucerin Complete Repair foot cream. Photo: Eucerin
An all-time bestseller is Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Foot Cream, a lotion formulated with ceramides for deep hydration and skin barrier protection and natural moisturising factors that help break down rough skin.

In addition it’s fragrance-free, which makes it a good choice for sensitive skin.

3. Sun protection

When applying sunscreen to our bodies, most of us forget about our feet, which is a significant mistake. When the UV index is high, a sunburn or dark spots can form on exposed skin within minutes.

Sun protection is not only about the skin. Your nails are made of protein compounds that need some extra protection, as they’re just as vulnerable to the damage from UV rays as your skin is.

“Cuticles serve a purpose,” Barbara Hershfelt, director of sales and marketing at nail care brand Cutex, explains. “They seal in moisture and protect new nail growth as it emerges from the base of the nail.”

Applying sunscreen to your feet is very important to protect them from the sun.

Unfortunately, when exposed to external factors such as sun, extremely dry air, high humidity, sand or salt water, your cuticles and the skin framing your nails are more susceptible to dryness, which will end up damaging your nails and overall foot health.

4. Avoid walking barefoot as far as possible

Walking around your house, the pool, or in the sand with no shoes on during summer sounds wonderful, but doing so can cause a lot of damage. When bare, your feet absorb surface heat faster, which can lead to sunburn and redness in a matter of seconds.

Walking barefoot on the sand can damage feet.

On top of that, your feet will most likely also be exposed to dozens of tiny hazardous particles your eye can’t catch, which can cause micro-tears or wounds that, even when not deep, will wreck the health of your feet.

As if that isn’t enough, walking barefoot exposes your feet to the risk of suffering plantar warts, ringworm, and athlete’s foot, as well as bacterial and viral infections.

Two exercises to improve health of our feet – most overlooked part of human body

5. Build a proper foot care toolkit

To properly take care of your feet at home, there are some tools you should keep handy. An essential kit could include items for maintenance such as toenail clippers, a pumice stone, gel plasters, a foot peel mask, a foot file, some Vaseline and cuticle oil.

Sundays foot care tool kit. Photo: Sundays

You can either purchase all these separately or search for a ready-made kit containing all the tools you may need, such as Sundays Pk. 01 – Pedicure Kit, a 12-piece set curated to accomplish a smooth full pedicure at home.

6. Keep feet dry

Our feet play a crucial role in regulating our body temperature. For that reason they tend to get sweaty and, while that’s completely normal, sweat can trigger a plethora of problems, from bacterial growth to calluses, odours and fungi.

If you’re wearing closed shoes, try to always wear socks with them so that they absorb some of the moisture. Foot powder can be of help if you prefer to ditch socks during the warm months.