Keep feet healthy and pretty, even in winter

January 19, 2009 10:01:44 AM PST
Like many women, Pari Patel of Northeast Philadelphia doesn't usually pay much attention to her feet in winter.

She says, "Once mid-Fall hits, I just put on my boots and socks and I don't see them again until the Spring."

Dr. Sara Bouraee, a Center City podiatrist, says ignoring your feet in winter can cause problems.

She say, "Women are wearing socks and closed shoes, and their feet become very sweaty. And then they dry up, which makes the skin even thicker. "

"Come April and May, when people are trying to prepare for sandal season, they come in and they say, 'I have this thick, cracked skin. I don't know what to do about it. It won't come off.' The best answer is maintain your feet on a monthly basis."

In her office (225 South 17th Street, Ste. 300), Dr. Bouraee performs a procedure that some doctors call a "foot facial." This multi-step procedure takes about a half-hour and costs $100.

But Dr. Bouraee says a do-it-yourself version can provide similar results, for a lot less money.

Dr. Bouraee starts by soaking Patel's feet in warm, sterile saline and bath salts with moisturizing oils.

At home, you can use warm water and epsom salts. She then evaluates Patel's feet for things like bunions and callouses.

Next, Dr. Bouraee uses a surgical knife to cut away Pari's dry skin and callouses. This is NOT something you should do at home. Instead, move onto the next step -- exfoliation.

The doctor uses a scrub made of aluminum oxide, acetic acid and eucalyptus oil.

She suggests you use apricot scrub on a pumice stone.

Next, she uses warm, wet towels to open the pores.

And finally, she moisturizes with a lotion containing oils, alpha-hydroxy acids and phytol.

For this step of the at-home treatment, she suggests using a thick moisturizing cream, mixed with a little bit of petroleum jelly.

After her treatment, Patel said her feet felt great and that she would definitely try to replicate the results at home.

Here's a list of what you'll need to perform a "foot facial" at home: Warm Water
Epsom salt
Apricot scrub
Pumice stone
Thick moisturizer
Petroleum jelly

1. Soak your feet in warm water and epsom salt for about five minutes
2. Exfoliate with the apricot scrub on a pumice stone. Concentrate on cuticles, heels, and ankles.
3. Cover feet with wet washcloths that have been microwaved for less than one minute.
4. Massage moisturizer mixed with petroleum jelly into feet, especially cuticles.

For Dr. Sara Bouraee's website, click here.

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