Everyone knows summer brings warm weather, lazy afternoons, and bare feet. Whether you’re curled up by the pool with a good book or hitting the water park, your feet need a bit of maintenance before you shed those big winter shoes and dig your toes into the sand.
Treat yourself to a professional pedicure
Before you bare your feet at the beach, get a pedicure. Even though the name implies that it’s for your feet, most aestheticians prepare you for bare leg season up to your knees with a scrub, mask, and hot stone massage.
You can do most of these treatments at home, but there’s no substitute for the pampering you’ll get under an expert’s care. Start with a long soak in warm water to loosen dead skin and soften your cuticles. Pat them dry gently and trim your nails with angled toenail clippers to keep ingrown nails from occurring. Nail technicians are experts at painting even, consistent strokes and designs, but you can leave your toes unpainted and buff them to impart a clear shine.
If you indulge in a spa pedicure, consider maintaining it by slathering on foot cream and wearing aloe-infused socks overnight for a few weeks to keep your feet moisturized and soft.
Take care of any unsightly conditions
Before you dip your toes in the pool, address any health conditions that you could pass on to others. In the right conditions, toenail fungus and plantar warts are both transferable. Fungi and viruses enter the skin or nail through tiny cuts or when the nail bed is separated from the toe.
Feet are especially prone to these types of unsightly conditions because shoes are warm and damp. Beware of going barefoot in wet areas where you can pick up athlete’s foot, warts, or other skin conditions. You should always wear flip flops or rubber shoes to protect your feet in public areas like the gym or shower.
The most common fungi for toenails are caused by dermatophytes, the same type that causes ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch. Plantar warts are caused by HPV and usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet.
Both plantar warts and toenail fungus develop over time rather than appearing overnight. If you notice dulling or yellowing of the natural nail color, be on the lookout for further symptoms of toenail fungus. Warts make themselves known with pain or tenderness, followed by the appearance of black pinpoints, called wart seeds.
The earlier you treat them, the less they take hold. See a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Plantar warts are a common virus and may not need treatment if not causing discomfort. Consult a comprehensive treatment guide to identify what type of toenail fungus you have and consider treatment options.
Don’t wander into public without prepping your toes for sandal season this summer. A good scrub brush and proper toenail trim can go a long way to making your feet presentable. Wear shoes in public pool and gym areas to keep from picking up unappealing health conditions from others. If you see changes to your nails or experience foot pain, see your doctor as soon as possible for treatment. Healthy, well-maintained feet are the bare minimum for summer.