Don’t get me wrong: I’m always excited for summer, but when it comes time to peel my socks off… oh lawd. See, my socks cover up the fact that I’ve inherited every foot problem known to crop up in my family—no arches, stubby toes, chronic sweating, not to mention the whole flat feet thing makes you feel like you’re walking around with flippers on. All. The. Time. It’s not exactly the makings of the pretty summer feet we all crave.
I don’t hate my feet to the point of getting Cinderella surgery or anything, but I will wear close-toed sandals and pretend they’re nothing more than a fashion statement, or tuck them under my legs when I sit, or walk really really fast so no one can get a good look at them. Sigh. I know, I’m lame.
And to all the fellow foot haters out there, don’t fret. It might require a little elbow grease, but it is possible to score healthy and happy summer feet you can be proud of beyond painting your toenails:
1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
“Dry, scaly feet is a common problem from wearing socks and closed shoes everyday when the weather is cooler,” says David E. Bank, M.D., board-certified dermatologist. “I suggest using a glycolic foot cream under socks overnight so the ingredients have the greatest amount of time to penetrate the skin.” Since we all put our feet through a lot in the summer, make sure to moisturize them daily.
2. Don’t forget your cuticles
“Cuticle care is just as important to the nail beds on your feet as they are to the nail beds on your hands,” says Bank. “The cuticle’s sole purpose in life is to provide a barrier for that part of the toe from water and other bacteria.” For that professional pedi look, use a cuticle softener or moisturizing cream before pushing back your cuticles, using either an orangewood stick or the edge of a towel wrapped around your finger.
3. Clip your toenails properly
Clipping your toenails properly will help you avoid icky things like ingrown nails and infections. Guide the clippers straight across the nail—don’t cut nails into a curved shape, says Bank. Cut them when they’re dry to give yourself a clean, smooth cut, and don’t try to clip your toenail off in one shot: Make smaller cuts gradually across each nail, then lightly file them.
4. Go au naturale
According to the Cleveland Clinic, when you leave nail polish on your toes for too long, the pigment in the nail polish can soak into your nails and dry them out. Letting your nails breathe will help keep them healthy. Try to go one week out of every month polish free, and gently rub vitamin E oil on your nail bed (where your nail and skin meet).
5. Exfoliate once a week
Keep your summer feet looking and feeling smooth by exfoliating once a week. Plus, it’ll be much easier for your moisturizer to do its thing without a bunch of dead skin in the way. (Pssst… Try out this ah-mazing DIY foot scrub!)
6. Switch up your shoes
Blisters are the worst. Prevent them from creeping into your life by wearing shoes and sandals that fit well and allow your feet to breathe. One of the easiest ways to keep blisters from striking is alternating your footwear—especially when it comes to your sandals. That way, you’re not constantly irritating the same areas of your feet.
What are your fave summer feet tricks?
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Summer feet image via Shutterstock