8 Ways to Care for Your Feet Naturally
Ok, let’s face it. It’s not easy to talk about feet. Sometimes they hurt. Sometimes they feel rough. Sometimes they smell malodorous. The older you
become, the further away they seem from the rest of your body and yet the more important they are to overall health and mobility.
Try bringing up feet as a conversation topic and watch people become uncomfortable and squeamish, often because they hate their own feet. But having feet in good condition is extremely important to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Do not ignore your feet! Feet do so much work for us, so let’s treat them right and keep them healthy.
These are 8 tips that our thousands of customers report work to keep their feet soft, smooth and pleasant-smelling.
1. Wash your feet well every day and dry them completely.
It sounds so commonsensical to wash and dry your feet every day. However, when you are tired in the morning or after a long day, it may be tempting to skip this step in the shower or bath. Like any other part of the body, good skin health on feet starts with washing thoroughly with a gentle sudsy bar or liquid soap. Use a washcloth or a loofah to really get a good scrub, and make sure you get between the toes where bacteria and fungi can hide.
Rinse the soap suds completely from your feet with clean running water. After the shower or bath, make sure to dry the feet thoroughly with a clean towel. Ensure your feet are totally dry before putting on socks and shoes. If feet are left damp, it creates the perfect moist environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive. These microbes can lead to infections and odor.
Soaps with chemical ingredients such as sulfates can dry out the skin on your feet, leaving them more susceptible to skin thickening and calluses. Mother Nature’s Beauty recommends any of our soaps, all of which contain glycerin. Glycerin is a clear, sticky fluid similar to honey and works as a natural humectant in the soap. The humectant property of glycerin works to keep skin soft and healthy - and that is just what our soaps do for your feet.
2. Use a thick emollient moisturizer at bedtime.
My Grandmother used to slather Vaseline petroleum jelly on her feet at night, pull on a pair of cotton socks and jump into bed. She was definitely onto something!
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends this very method to prevent and treat thick calloused skin and cracked heels.
A pleasant non-petroleum alternative to Vaseline is Mother Nature’s Beauty skin cream. It contains only shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, almond oil and beeswax. This thick buttery cream works wonders to keep skin soft, pliable and less prone to cracking. Use it just as my Grandma did - slather it on the soles of your feet at bedtime, and put on socks to prevent making an oily mess of the bedding or slipping on the floor. Peel off the socks in the morning and admire your moisturized and healthy feet!
3. Don’t use the same socks 2 days in a row and sanitize your shoes.
It is important to keep your feet as clean and dry as possible. Even though you might not notice it, your feet perspire throughout the day. This perspiration makes your socks and shoes damp. It is this damp, dark environment that encourages microbial growth. Feet become smelly when bacteria on the skin breaks down the sweat, resulting in a funky cheese-like odor.
Fungi especially thrive in dark, moist conditions - just think about the mushrooms that pop up on the lawn when there have been a few consecutive days of rain.
Don’t let your feet be like the mushroom lawn!
An easy step to prevent fungal infection is to make sure you put your socks in the laundry hamper at the end of the day. Make sure you have enough pairs of comfortable socks in your rotation so that you are not tempted to simply put the same ones on tomorrow.
To thoroughly disinfect your shoes between uses, consider a UV shoe sanitizer.
The American Podiatric Medical Association approves of SteriShoe products. Simply insert one in each shoe, plug the device in and wait 45 minutes for it to turn off automatically. These UV shoe sanitizers cost around $50 on Amazon. Not cheap, but better than having to throw out your favorite shoes because they got funky.
Another way to cut down on microbial growth is to sprinkle your shoes inside with baking soda and spray with white vinegar diluted 1:1 with water. The combination of baking soda and vinegar reduces the activity of fungal spores and helps eliminate odor. Leave the baking soda and vinegar in the shoes for 12 hours and then wipe the resulting dry powder away before wearing again.
Mother Nature’s Beauty tip for keeping shoes sanitary is to spray them thoroughly with our Tea Tree Sanitizer, included in our Full Foot Care Package. Simply spray the insides of your shoes thoroughly with this alcohol-based sanitizer. It will kill bacteria, fungi and viruses and will leave your shoes smelling pleasantly of all natural tea tree essential oil. Just be sure to let your shoes thoroughly dry 12 hours before wearing them after applying the sanitizer.
4. Get a pedicure monthly. (bring your own tools)
A professional pedicure is a great way to exfoliate away excess dead skin and to keep your toenails nicely trimmed. Be sure to ask the pedicurist to clip your nails short, and not to skimp on the exfoliating process. Consider offering an extra tip for extra exfoliation and callus removal.
Because nail salons are shared with other customers who may have fungal infections, please take the following precautions:
Only go to salons that use disposable plastic liners in their foot baths.
Bring your own tools! Ask in advance what tools will be needed, such as:
Besides removing dead skin and cutting the toenails, pedicures can be a great way to relax, unwind and enjoy a little foot and leg massage. To add some colorful glamor, a little bright nail polish will make you want to show off your clean, healthy, well-cared for feet! Men, do not be shy - and note that nail polish is not a necessary part of a pedicure. Many men get polish-free pedicures regularly at local salons and enjoy well-cared for feet as a benefit.
5. Find a fun way to exfoliate your feet daily.
It is crazy how feet can build up calluses and excess skin so quickly! Thick skin on feet is nature’s way of protecting us from cuts and infections caused by walking barefoot over debris, like our ancient ancestors surely did. Thick skin develops on the soles when we stand, walk, run or engage in any activity that puts extra weight on feet.
People suffering from hard skin on their feet are often athletes, those who stand for long periods of time, and older people who tend to have dry skin in general. Jobs that require standing for hours on end, or having your feet rub against ill-fitting shoes, or repeated heavy pressure on feet such as running and other sports activities can lead to thick skin and calluses.
You might be thinking “So what? Nature intends for some of us to have thick skin on the bottom of our feet. What’s wrong with that?” The problem with thick skin on feet is that the skin will reach a density where it will eventually lose its elasticity. With a loss of elasticity comes the risk of cracked heels, also known as fissures. Left untreated, these fissures can become painful, bloody and infected. If you have painful cracks in your feet, consult a podiatrist immediately.
The condition of cracked heels is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To prevent developing unsightly and potentially painful cracked heels, be sure to exfoliate your feet daily. The key here is to find a pleasant and fun method of exfoliation that will make you look forward to this part of your daily routine.
Mother Nature’s Beauty has specially formulated the ultimate foot exfoliation product - SAND SOAP. These heavy duty bars contain 50% natural sand and 50% moisturizing glycerin soap. Simply scrub your feet every day with sand soap to remove excess dead skin. Because these soaps are exfoliant in the extreme, most people find them too abrasive and painful to use on non-callused skin. But they are so useful for exfoliating feet that it is worth having the extra bar of sand soap in the shower in addition to your normal body soap.
Our most popular sand soaps are Eucalyptus Sand which is fragranced with natural eucalyptus essential oil, and Ocean Sand which contains a great-smelling artificial fragrance that will linger on the skin. They both smell great and you have the option to choose the all-natural Eucalyptus Sand or artificially fragranced Ocean Sand. Either way, using sand soap will become a fun and welcome addition to your daily foot care routine.
6. Try at-home foot peel treatments.
Foot peels are a form of chemical exfoliation that works through a one-time application of a jelly-like mixture of alpha-hydroxy compounds found in fruit acids. One of the easiest ways to treat feet with these acids is to use sock-type foot peel masks.
These masks are typically used in the form of disposable plastic booties that you slip onto your feet. The booties contain the fruit acid jelly mixture and can be secured on the feet with a bit of tape around the ankles. The acid encourages healthy new skin growth while loosening the old, dead skin.
To use, wash and dry your feet first. Then slip on the booties, secure with the tape closure and sit and relax for 45 minutes while the fruit acids do their work. After 45 minutes, remove and discard the booties. Wash the remaining jelly off your feet with soap and water and wait several days for the magic to happen. Within a few days, your old dead skin will be dissolved and will shed to reveal the new skin underneath.
The peeling process will happen naturally. Do not try to rush it by manually peeling or using a pumice on your feet. Instead, let the skin shed of its own accord. Most people prefer to wear socks during the shedding period to contain the mess and not leave a trail when walking around.
7. Discover neem oil.
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the tree Azadirachta indica. References to the medicinal benefits of neem can be found in ancient Sanskrit writing. Neem has been used for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and remains popular today all over the world.
There is evidence to support that neem works against certain fungi that infect the human body. Such fungi have been difficult to treat with synthetic fungicides. Long term use of these synthetic medicines can result in the rise of fungicide-resistant strains. Side effects of common synthetic fungicides include skin irritation, burning and swelling.
Neem provides a natural option for addressing foot fungus. Under a doctor’s advice, simply rub it directly on areas infected with athlete’s foot or nail fungus.
Mother Nature’s Beauty also offers Neem Soaps which help keep feet clean and healthy. Neem has a strong earthy odor that many people dislike. To make the soap smell pleasant we add Tea Tree Essential Oil to our Neem Soaps. We offer the Neem and Tea Tree Soaps in 2 options - with or without activated charcoal. The activated charcoal in the soap makes it black and slightly gritty in texture.
There is evidence to support that activated charcoal helps eliminate foot odor.
In fact NASA published an article about using activated charcoal products on the International Space Station to help eliminate odors onboard.
8. Don’t walk barefoot in public spaces.
To reduce the chance of contracting fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, the
CDC warns against walking barefoot in areas like locker rooms or public showers. Fungal infections are highly contagious and easily spread in environments where infected individuals could be walking around barefoot.
Instead, be sure to bring shower shoes with you to the gym, public pool or other
areas where people commonly walk around with no shoes on. Make sure to choose shower shoes that are slip resistant and waterproof. Popular options are flip-flops, Crocs, slides and ventilated shower shoes. These shoes will protect your feet from germs and will prevent that heebie jeebie feeling that comes with sharing a damp floor with strangers.
Daily washing, exfoliation, thorough drying and intense night time moisturizing are key to maintaining good foot health. Supplement this daily routine with monthly foot peels, safe monthly professional pedicures and (under a doctor’s advice) spot treating with natural neem oil to minimize the effects of fungal infection. Your feet will thank you and will reward you with being clean, smooth, soft and worthy of admiration.
Our small family-owned business has been hand-making natural foot care products for 10 years. We have listened to customers and have worked with them to create superlative foot care products for their needs. We’d love to have the opportunity to help you achieve your best, most gorgeous, healthiest feet.
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Khan, M. and Wassilew, S.W. (1987) In: Schmutterer, H. and Asher, K.R.S., Eds., Natural Pesticides from the Neem Tree and Other Tropical Plants, GTZ, Eschborn, 645-650.
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Stojković, Dejan, et al. “Synthetic and Natural Antifungals-Desirable and Hazardous Effects.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 25 Aug. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9456082/.