Irish Examiner - Feelgood

Happy feet

Sandal season is here and it’s time to get those tootsies ready, says Katie Wright

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DITCHING the tights, popping on some flip-flops, and feeling the sunshine on your skin is one of the joys of summer — or is it?

If the thought of baring your sun-deprived soles in a pair of sandals brings you out in a cold sweat, chances are you’re not a regular in the pedicure chair.

“Cracked heels are very common, as hard-working feet take a lot of the strain when walking, exercising, and generally being active,” says Kate Taylor, Lloyds Pharmacy pharmacist. “So it’s no surprise that the skin on the soles of your feet can become dry and cracked.”

But that doesn’t mean you need to hot-foot it to a salon immediatel­y — there are lots of at-home options to tackle dehydrated heels and overgrown toenails.

1. Scrub up

“For the ultimate baby soft feet, use a foot polish followed by a heel balm and butter to keep feet moisturise­d, preventing hard skin build-up — especially in summer,” recommends Joanna Rind, senior product manager, Sanctuary Spa. “For an extra treat, soak feet in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes before using the foot polish.”

Sanctuary Spa Foot Polish, €8.50, Boots; Weleda Birch Body Scrub, €11.95

2. File your feet

“Our feet are extremely hard-working, which, when combined with a lack of TLC can cause build-up of dry, hard skin and even cracked heels,” says podiatrist Dr Bharti Rajput. “Therefore, just like the rest of the body, treat your feet to a light exfoliatio­n once a week, to help get rid of any dry skin, and refresh and rejuvenate skin cells. Always use a safe foot file which resembles ‘sandpaper on a stick’ instead of a metal one which resembles a cheese grater!”

Sol de Janeiro Samba Foot Fetish Care Smoothing Board and Cream, €30, Feelunique; School Velvet Smooth Pedi, €44.99

3. Try glycolic

“There is a reason that NeoStrata PDS Cream is known by so many as a ‘pedicure in a jar’,” says Lorna McDonnell Bowes, director of AestheticS­ource, of the exfoliatin­g cream which contains 20% glycolic acid.

“Its ability to smooth away dry, cracked skin and leave feet baby soft in just a couple of weeks is a dream. Personally, I never travel without it — it lives by my bed. Its unique, active in- gredients help soften the most course, dry feet.”

Neostrata Problem Dry Skin Cream, €23.91, Zest beauty

4. Moisturise daily

“Regular moisturisi­ng will keep your feet looking and feeling amazing, so use a urea-based cream night and morning,” says Julian Ball from DLT Podiatry.

“Urea is a natural, moisturisi­ng substance, available in two strengths: 10% urea for keeping the skin soft and supple or 25% for when the skin has cracked and needs help healing.” Ureka 10% Urea Foot Care Cream, €8.95, fruugo.ie

5. Trim your toenails

“Trim your nails after a bath or shower with a good quality nail clipper, cutting straight along the top,” advises Ball. “Leave about 1mm of white tip and do not cut down the sides, as this can cause ingrowing nails. Smooth off with an emery board.” Masqd The Nail Set, €23.99, Boots

6. Pick a polish

“Add a pop of colour to your nails with a non-toxic nail polish, such as Dr’s Remedy,” says Ball. “This vitamin-enriched nail polish is infused with a special blend of ingredient­s, including organic tea tree oil, wheat protein, garlic bulb extract and lavender. It minimises the appearance of dry, brittle nails, hydrates nail cuticles and improves the wear-time of your nail colour, providing a high shine.”

Dr’s Remedy Peaceful Pink Coral, €13.60, FeetLife

7. Use balm

Finish your DIY pedi with a generous slathering of nourishing foot balm, then put on a pair of clean socks to help lock in moisture overnight.

Natural Spa Factory Sole Food Foot Nutrition balm,€20.50 for two Ameliorate Intensive Foot Treatment, €16.95, Victoria Health

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