Our feet are so far from our faces and hands that sometimes we forget to take care of them. But a bit of attention isn't the only thing that will give us pillowy soft soles. It turns out they need a very particular type of nurturing, too. “Feet don’t have as many oil glands as the rest of your body so they’re more susceptible to dryness,” explains dermatologist Howard Sobel. Here are six ways to get them baby smooth stat.
Soft Soles Step #1: Exfoliate the rough.
When skin is damp—like right after a shower—give heels a rubdown with a pumice stone or foot exfoliator. “This will get rid of the dry, dead skin,” says dermatologist Marina Peredo. Gentle scrubbing can also help calluses disappear. Try:The Body Shop No More Rough Stuff Pumice.
Soft Soles Step #2: Wrap them in moisture.
Post-pumice, slather feet with a thick, hydrating moisturizer. “To get soft, our feet require an emollient and a keratolytic [that helps to dissolve the outer layer of skin], like urea, lactic acid or allantoin,” says podiatrist Johanna Youner. Try: Kerasal One Step Exfoliating Foot Moisturizer Therapy, which contains urea to help retain moisture and salicylic acid to slough off dead, dry skin.
Make sure to lotion up in the morning and at night. “Calluses occur when the skin is extra dry so moisturization is key,” Peredo says.
One cautionary note: severely cracked heels can get infected so see your doctor if your TLC doesn’t heal them.
Soft Soles Step #3: Slip on socks.
Classic cotton socks will do, but you can also try The Body Shop Moisture Socks to coddle feet. “This will make the moisturizer you apply work better,” Peredo says. If you want to go that extra mile to banish rough skin, try this tip: Apply a thick, greasy product, like Vaseline or Aquaphor, all over your feet. Then cover them in plastic wrap, put on a pair of socks and drift off to sleep. After a few nights, you will have amazingly dreamy soles.
Soft Soles Step #4: Don’t go commando.
Kicking off your heels at the end of a long day is such a relief. But instead of going barefoot, slide into some socks or slippers. “Going barefoot will make the skin on your feet dry faster,” Sobel says.
Soft Soles Step #5: Wear the right shoes.
“In shoes that are too small, your foot isn’t settling properly, which not only causes discomfort, but makes you more prone to calluses because it takes away the cushioning that our feet need,” Peredo says. Our heels also have an extra layer of skin that, when exposed to air and friction, can cause calluses. This means stashing backless shoes and opting for those that cover your heel area for the most gorgeous feet.
Soft Soles Step #6: Prep your feet to sweat.
You wear the right workout gear to protect the rest of your body, but what about your feet? Sweaty feet not only smell, but they up your chance of getting blisters and calluses. Rolling deodorant on your soles pre-workout can help reduce sweat and friction. (Yes, the same stuff you put under your arms.) Or try a product, like Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain “Dry Run” Foot Cream, which is made to keep feet sweat- and irritation-free.