4 Tips to Take Better Care of Your Skin and Nails this Fall and Winter
Footwear choices aren’t the only change you make with the season; your skin and toenail care routine should change as well.
Taking care of your skin and nails over the autumn and winter is not just a cosmetic pursuit, either. While a great routine can certainly help your feet look better, it can also help protect them against painful cracking and infections.
The following tips can help the colder months take less of a toll on your skin and nails.
Develop a Moisturizing Habit
As we slide into winter, the climate tends to become much colder, and can turn our feet drier and rougher as well.
Why do feet tend to be more susceptible to dryness like this? Feet lack as many oil glands as other areas of your skin have to help lock in moisture. Our feet are better at giving out moisture than keeping it in!
Providing extra assistance with moisturizer can be so beneficial during drier months. You don’t have to break the bank on high-end products to get good results, either. It can be helpful for some patients to avoid fragrances and additives that might irritate their feet.
Specific beneficial ingredients include:
- Exfoliants such as salicylic acid and urea, which can help break up and remove dry, dead skin cells.
- Humectants such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and urea (again), which do the heavy lifting of adding moisture to the skin.
- Occlusives such as shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, and petrolatum, which help seal moisture into the skin.
While some of these ingredients might sound synthetic, they are not. They are all naturally occurring and many – such as urea and hyaluronic acid – are produced by the body.
The best time to moisturize is following a shower or a foot soak, after patting the feet dry. Moisturize well but be careful not to let lotion or cream accumulate between the toes. That can weaken the skin over time and cause problems, especially if you have diabetes.
And while we’ve mentioned shower time…
Break Away from Long, Steaming Showers
We understand that few things can feel better than living in a hot shower for a while on a cold day. However, hot, steaming water can draw moisture from your feet instead of adding to it. The longer and hotter the shower, the more moisture can be stripped away.
This does not mean you have to learn to live with cold showers. Keep the water temperature comfortable but just a bit cooler, and try to limit how much time you spend in there. Your feet will thank you for it.
Keep Your Toes Warm
Did you know that cold temperatures can contribute to dry and brittle nails? Dry, cold environments constrict circulation, leading to less blood flow and access to the nutrients needed to keep your cells healthy. This decreases nail growth and older cells languish longer, becoming brittle and more vulnerable to infections such as toenail fungus.
Keeping your feet warm can help counter some of those ill effects on your nails. Thick, warm socks can help when appropriate. Seek out materials such as wool, fleece, and certain synthetics that are made to help keep moisture from being held in a sock that happens to get wet from puddles or sweat. Cotton is not a good material for this purpose, so try to avoid it. That’s a type of moisture you don’t want, as it can lead to skin degradation and provide a more welcoming environment for fungus.
Check Your Winter Footwear
If your boots or other winter shoes are items you only see a few months a year, it can be easy to overlook whether they have become too small or worn down.
Even footwear that doesn’t see a ton of use can still break down naturally on its own. As it does, it can lose the cushioning and support that your feet need, increasing the chances that areas will rub against your skin and lead to further dryness, calluses, or even corns.
Inspect your seasonal footwear before you start using it again. If it doesn’t feel comfortable or just looks worse for wear, it’s likely time to get new shoes.
Seasons Change; Great Skin and Nail Care Does Not
Good skin and nail care is not just a seasonal pursuit. Being mindful of your foot health throughout the year can help save you plenty of potential discomfort and trouble in the future.
If you do happen to run into a problem that doesn’t seem to be responding to your methods or have one right now, do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment. The sooner a developing skin or nail problem is properly treated, the better!
Schedule an appointment by calling our Commerce Township office or by filling out our online contact form.
It's Time To Leave Foot & Ankle Pain Behind!
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