Changes in our skin as we age are inevitable, including loss of moisture, changes in…
That time of year is upon us again. The daylight hours are growing shorter, the chill is creeping into the breeze with increasing persistence. Which means it’s time to dig out those winter wardrobes and shield against the cold, often harsh changes in conditions.
It’s no big secret that winter can be tough on your skin. As you begin to cover up, though, don’t think of it as an excuse to neglect your skincare; it’s easily done – out of sight, out of mind, after all.
There is one part of your body, more than the rest, that’s all too easy to overlook as winter arrives – and that’s your feet.
So, what can you do to keep your feet healthy and make sure they are ready to be on show again once the warmer weather comes back around? Here are 5 simple tips to keep your feet in great shape this winter.
1. Keep them clean
Although this may seem like an obvious task at any time of year, it’s more important in winter to give your feet a thorough clean at the end of each day.
The thicker socks and shoes you wear during winter are great at keeping your feet warm. But keep in mind, they can also cause them to sweat more.
Sweaty feet cause unwanted odours, you don’t need us to elaborate on that, we’re sure. But if you don’t clean them regularly, you could find yourself with a more serious issue like fungal nail infections.
What is the best way to clean your feet? A simple wash using soap and water will do the trick. Make sure you are cleaning them thoroughly and washing between each of your toes. If your feet are feeling cold, be sure to use warm water – plunging your feet into very hot water can cause them more harm than good.
2. Let your feet breathe
As your feet spend more time covered up, you should remember to give them some air and let them breathe. The best time to do this is after you’ve cleaned them, to ensure they are thoroughly dried. Pay particular attention to the gaps in-between your toes; this is where common fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can appear if not properly dried out.
It’s important not to cover your feet up straight after a wash. Doing so doesn’t give your skin the time it needs to dry out and recover. Consider it a fine opportunity to put your feet up and let them rest.
If you feel that you need to cover up your feet at night, you’re better off wearing cotton socks that allow them to breathe.
3. Keep them moisturised
One of the main problems that affect your skin in winter is the drop in humidity as the change in temperature and colder winds will dry it out.
Even when you’re cosy and warm indoors, heating doesn’t help the situation. In fact, it’s often another contributor to the lack of moisture in your skin. As with any part of your body, it is important to keep your feet moisturised so that they don’t become itchy and irritated.
Common issues that occur when your feet are too dry are eczema and fissures (also called cracked heels). Fissures are splits in the skin and normally form on the heel as a result of dryness. Both get more uncomfortable and painful if left untreated.
It’s a good idea to moisturise your feet daily, not just when you think they need it. The best time to do this is after you’ve washed them and allowed them to dry; this allows the moisturiser to soak into your skin better. Use some rich lotion or specialist foot cream and apply liberally all over.
4. Make sure you have the right footwear
Wearing the right kind of socks and shoes for the type of weather is always an important choice to make. Colder temperatures will intensify undesirable foot conditions which can cause your feet to become sore, swollen, and uncomfortable, including:
Your footwear should always be appropriate for the conditions you’re in – it’s a simple decision that makes a world of difference; set aside those summer slip-on shoes and choose something seasonally suitable.
A few key considerations include:
- Wear shoes that are a comfortable fit, not loose on your feet. A finger’s width at the heel should be the maximum space you need.
- Wearing thicker socks will provide a tighter fit than you’re used to. If your shoes are too tight, this will provide poorer blood flow and affect your ability to walk properly.
- Change out of damp footwear as soon as possible, and ensure your shoes are thoroughly dry before wearing them again.
One of the best ways to stop these issues from taking hold is to avoid warming your feet up too quickly after exposure to the cold. You shouldn’t place them straight on warm radiators or hot water bottles.
5. Don’t avoid getting them treated
As we have mentioned throughout the article, it is important to look after your feet. Particularly for those of you who suffer from any underlying health issues.
It’s all too easy to forget how important your feet are… until it’s too late. That is why it is essential to get them treated if you have any long-term issues or pain as it could be far worse if you fail to do so. Speak to a specialist who will be able to give you any further advice and treatments.