“Ok, first things first, you must make the distinction between THICK skin and DRY skin.
THICK skin is typically found on weight-bearing or high pressure areas, such as the heel, ball of foot, side of big toe/little toe, and tops of toes. It’s thick, a yellow colour and is typically referred to as callous.
Callous is caused by pressure – the skin thickens as a protective mechanism in response to excessive pressure and friction. If it didn’t thicken the skin would break down and be a bloody (literally) mess!!
Please don’t go mad with scrapers or sharp implements when you have thickened skin. Remember that the skin has thickened as a protective mechanism, so if you take it all away you are removing your protection.
The point is that it is better to leave a small layer behind, unless you have the necessary shock absorption to relieve the pressure.
So how do you treat thickened skin? You need to look at PRESSURE relief, think about shock absorbing, you want something to absorb the excessive pressure instead of the skin, for example, gel insoles, heel cups, cushioned soled shoes.
Alternatively you may need a biomechanical assessment with a podiatrist to look at the mechanics of the foot and leg, because in a normally functioning foot you should not be getting high pressure areas!!
If you do have THICK skin I would always recommend getting it removed initially by a podiatrist, THEN to keep on top of it do the following:
1. Moisten the skin with a baby wipe. The point is that the skin should not be bone dry or wet.
2. Using a foot file with a fine grit (the sand paper type ones) NOT METAL!!!!!!! Apply very firm pressure and file vigorously – the skin will just roll off and look like the bits of rubber that you would get if you rubbed out pencil on paper.
3. Apply a moisturiser that contains a minimum of 10% urea. Urea is found naturally in the skin, it is basically a magnet for moisture and increases the water content in the skin. Ureka do a good one. Apply daily.
Remember that thickened skin does not respond to moisturiser alone, this is because it is the result of pressure.
OK, now DRY skin….
DRY skin is skin that is, well..dry! This means that it lacks moisture. Dry skin can appear anywhere on the foot and has more of a white colour as opposed to yellow.
Good news is that Dry skin is really easy to treat!! Just do the following:
1. First you have to remove all the dry skin, because if you rely on moisturiser alone it ain’t ging to work. Why? Because it’s bloody difficult to rehydrate dead skin!
The point is to remove the old skin and maintain and hydrate the new!
I recommend filing the skin with a basic foot file With a fine grit (NOT METAL!!) you can do this dry, but I prefer to do this with a baby wipe to slightly moisten the skin ( also stops dust flying everywhere). It’s important to apply FIRM Pressure. Don’t be afraid to be firm and vigorous! You can do this with a fine grit file. It should not be sore.
2. This is the most important part when dealing with dry skin- you need to apply moisturiser EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Why? Because skin cell turnover ( this is when the Los skin cells are shed and the new skin cells come through) is ONCE every 30 days.Therefore, if you only apply moisturiser once a week that is the equivalent of 4 times a month. No wonder it ain’t working!!
If you suffer from dry skin apply a moisturiser that contains 10% urea every day. Apply the cream everywhere EXCEPT in between the toes. NEVER apply moisturiser between the toes. If you do apply moisturiser between the toes you are increasing your risk of fungal infection (athletes foot!), think about mushrooms( they’re a fungus) what is their perfect environment in which to thrive?? DARK, WARM and MOIST. Hence between the toes is perfect if you want to grow your own fungus!! So dry them thoroughly and DON’t apply moisturiser there!!
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