How to treat your feet in lockdown

Despite the hardships, there have been lots of positives in lockdown, especially if you’ve been working from home.

No longer sitting for hours in traffic jams on the daily commute (not to mention all the money we’ve saved not needing to buy as much gas).

Spending quality time with our loved ones and (mostly) falling in love with them all over again.

Discovering new hobbies and exploring our creative sides (banana bread, anyone?).

Finding new places to exercise and walk that we never knew existed near our own backyards.

And watching as many binge-worthy dramas on Netflix as we possibly can.

Looking after your feet in lockdown

Another upside is that because we don’t see our co-workers every day (except on Zoom!), we don’t have to wear heels all the time or paint our toenails if we don’t want to. 

Best of all, they don’t know about the true state of our feet. It can be a real shock when your feet come out of hibernation from thick socks and winter boots. 

We’ve talked before about how to get your feet sandal-ready for spring by giving yourself a super-relaxing DIY pedicure. But some people’s feet may need a bit more attention than this. 

Months of neglect can lead to toenail fungal infections, unsightly hard skin and cracked heels – without you even realising it. 

But if you’re still in lockdown, it’s the perfect opportunity to treat your feet and sort out any pesky problems well ahead of sandal season. And it can all be done in the privacy of your own home!

Banish rough skin with a foot peel

The first thing to say about foot peels is that they’re very effective at getting rid of dead skin. But the process is pretty gross to say the least! 

Of course, none of that matters if you’re still in lockdown. No-one’s going to see how bad it looks apart from your nearest and dearest. 

A foot peel uses chemicals to break down your rough and hard skin until it peels off by itself. It’s quite extreme and a bit messy, but it certainly gets results.

The foot peel’s active ingredients are inside the lining of some plastic exfoliating socks. All you need to do is wear the socks for about an hour. That’s the easy bit. 

Then you have to wait until the peeling begins. This could take several days but once it starts, be aware there will be skin peel everywhere: in your socks, on your floors and in your bed. Yuck!

It can take up to 10 days to complete the process, depending on how bad your hard skin is. But when the peeling has finished, the soles of your feet will be silky-smooth.

Please note: not everyone can use a chemical foot peel. If you’re pregnant, or you have diabetes, sensitive skin or any other condition, check with your doctor first.

Sort out toenail fungal infections

Although toenail fungal infections look and feel awful, they’re not usually serious. They’re also really common so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

But you do have to be patient to deal with them – they won’t disappear overnight!

The infection usually starts at the edges of the toenail. If it hasn’t spread to the middle of the nail or to other toenails, it will be quicker to treat. 

There are a few home remedies you could try, none of which are guaranteed to work but are all applied directly to the nail.

Some people swear by tea tree oil, an essential oil with antifungal and antiseptic properties; snakeroot extract, an antifungal in the sunflower family; or amber-colored Listerine (yes, really!). 

For faster and more reliable results, buy some anti-fungal nail cream from your local drugstore.

Never try to hide the infection with nail varnish. It’s best to give your toenails a complete rest from polish and allow them time to breathe. Working from home is the perfect opportunity to do this.

Unfortunately, if the infection has spread, the toenail may become really discolored and extremely brittle. 

If this happens, you should seek help from a podiatrist, especially if your feet become very painful.

Deal with dry, cracked heels

Want to wear sexy slingbacks this summer? You’ll need to make sure your heels are in tiptop condition. 

Self-care really is the best thing for your feet in lockdown so make it a regular part of your beauty routine. Before you get started, put on your fave summer music to get into a positive mood.

If your heels are really dry and cracked, you’ll need to get to work with some serious moisturizing to hydrate and restore them. This could take several weeks but the results will be worth it!

Look for a very thick moisturizer, preferably something that contains urea or salicylic acid. Moisturize your heels twice a day, taking the time to really rub in the cream. 

At night-time, before you go to bed, apply an oil-based cream such as Vaseline to your heels. Then cover your feet with cotton socks overnight. 

Your heels, and your feet generally, will also benefit from a 10-minute soak in warm water, followed by a gentle rub with a foot file.

If you follow this regime for a few weeks, you should notice a real difference in the way your heels look and feel. 

So, when lockdown eases in the spring or summer, you’ll be ready to bare all in pretty sandals to show off your perfect feet!

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