How to Keep Your Feet Healthy & Keep Them From Peeling

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Your feet often take a thankless supporting role in life. They're subjected to daily abuse like unsupportive footwear, bacteria, fungus, and daily wear and tear. It's no wonder peeling and flaky skin sometimes afflict your feet. Pampering your feet and toes and resting them from harsh use helps to smooth out bumps, calluses and other issues that cause foot ailments including ingrown toenails and various infections.

Soak your feet in warm water for five to 10 minutes, and then use a pumice stone to gently buff away loose and peeling skin. A pumice stone is highly abrasive, so adjust the scrub's intensity through the pressure you apply the stone. Concentrate on areas prone to peeling, including the heels, sides and balls of your feet. Rinse your feet to remove excess skin.

Cover your feet in a rich, emollient foot cream containing vitamin E, shea butter and mineral oil, and then slip on a pair of socks until the moisturizer absorbs into the skin. While they're sometimes forgotten, feet need moisture just like the rest of your skin. Using socks after applying lotion insulates and warms the moisture for better penetration and softer, smoother feet.

Clip your toenails properly to avoid the pain of ingrown toenails and promote healthier feet. Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail grows into the skin along the side of the nail. clipping toenails too short, allowing them to grow too long or clipping them in a rounded shape increases your risk for ingrown toenails. Instead, cut straight across, keeping even with the tips of your toes.

Wear shoes with supportive sides to avoid cracking and peeling from exposure to the elements. Flip-flops and flimsy sandals may be fashionable, but they don't provide the protection your feet need to stay healthy and smooth. Seek shoes with high sides that cover the entire foot, and wear revealing shoes infrequently.

Indulge in the occasional pedicure, but avoid practices that put you at risk for spa infections. Bacteria -- whether from foot baths or unsanitary tools -- can infiltrate skin, resulting in fungal infections like athlete's foot. Ask a spa worker how often the foot baths are emptied and maintained, and choose only a spa that empties and disinfects the spas after each use.