Transform toe-curling summer feet overnight: By celebrity podiatrist MARGARET DABBS
- UK-based Margaret’s tips include using a stainless steel file to remove dead skin
- She also recommends using lemon juice to make nails look more healthy
- Margaret says to soak feet in tepid water containing a handful of mint leaves
Summer is truly here — and with it the nerve-shredding fear of baring all in sandals. Because if there’s one part of our bodies many of us prefer to hide, it’s our feet.
Bunions. Cracked heels. Calluses. You name it, as a top podiatrist, I’ve seen it all. And I can promise you that — whatever your private dread — getting your feet prepped for their moment in the sun is much easier and quicker than you would ever imagine. With the right products and a bit of know-how, you can transform them from eyesore to elegant within just 24 hours.
Here are my tips for toes to be proud of . . .
With the right products and a bit of know-how, celebrity podiatrist Margaret Dabbs says you can transform them from eyesore to elegant within just 24 hours (stock image)
ONCE-A-WEEK ROUTINE TO REMOVE HARD SKIN
Calluses are formed by standing and walking on hard surfaces.
Repeated friction and rubbing causes cells to multiply, forming layers of hard skin. The harder the skin, the more the cells increase. It’s tempting to attack the problem by slathering on loads of cream.
But for it to penetrate, you need to remove the hard skin first. Buy a stainless steel file like my Professional Foot File (£26).
Avoid cheaper versions — specially those that look like a cheese grater. They tend to shave skin off unevenly so it grows back in fish scale-like layers.
Use your file once a week on dry skin. Bathing the feet first will mask the areas of dead hard skin, the foot file will not work and you risk opening cracks in the skin!
Concentrate on the outer edge of your big toes, which are most prone to hard skin because of regular friction from shoes.
Work away from you and towards the underside and middle of the foot to reduce the chance of unsightly ridges.
You need only spend a few minutes a week doing this and I promise that you will see your feet transformed.
MOISTURISE EVERY DAY
Sunshine, sand and seawater wreak havoc on skin. If you’re sunbathing or in and out of the water, your feet can become badly dehydrated.
Because the skin on the soles of our feet is 12 times thicker than on the rest of our body, you need a specially formulated foot cream to top up moisture levels at least once a day. Normal body cream just won’t cut it.
And don’t forget to apply sun cream on your feet when sunbathing — both on the tops and the soles.
Once hard skin has been filed off, apply a moisturiser like Margaret’s Pure Cracked Heel Treatment Balm (£18). It will prevent infection and swelling and remove dead skin cells
SMOOTH AWAY THOSE CRACKED HEELS
As we age, our skin thins — on our feet, too, and can lead to cracked heels, which can become infected.
Hot weather makes our feet sweat and swell, worsening the problem.
Once hard skin has been filed off, apply a moisturiser like my Pure Cracked Heel Treatment Balm (£18).
It will prevent infection and swelling and remove dead skin cells.
THE LEMON JUICE CURE
You don’t have to polish nails to make them look attractive — a spot of lemon juice can work wonders, too. Just like teeth, ageing toenails can develop a yellow tinge as increasing levels of keratin (which nails are made of) builds up.
If you’re a fan of blood red nail varnishes you will also be leaving a residue which can be hard to shift. Think of spilling blackcurrant juice on a white top.
A little lemon juice squeezed onto a cotton pad or old toothbrush and worked into the nails will help lighten the colour.
But your very best friend is a crystal nail file. It’s much gentler than a metal file. Try the Leighton Denny Small Crystal Nail File (£13) and use it to carefully file the top layer of your nails.
Big and little toes are particularly prone to having thick, horn-like nails where they have been squashed into shoes.
Aim for a straight shape, rather than a rounded one.
The effect is rejuvenating and there’s less risk of ingrowing toenails.
Refresh your feet by soaking them in tepid water containing a handful of cooling, fresh mint leaves, Margaret says (stock image)
DISGUISE TRICKY BUNIONS
Sadly, even I can’t promise to cure bunions. But you can reduce their appearance with clever camouflage.
Bunions develop when the big toe deviates towards the other toes.
Make the toe look straighter by shaping the nail so that it is higher on the side heading out of line.
The simple optical illusion will ‘magically’ give the illusion of a normal toe.
COOLING MINT WILL REFRESH YOUR TOES
Sweaty feet aren’t just smelly, they also produce moisture that makes our shoes rub and can lead to painful blisters.
Refresh your feet by soaking them in tepid water containing a handful of cooling, fresh mint leaves.
I also recommend sprinkling foot powder on your feet before leaving the house to control sweating and make your feet smell nicer.
If a blister does develop, use Compeed plasters (£6.49 for five).
They are deep-cushioned as well as breathable.