For as much as we put our feet through, we don't always give them the TLC that they deserve.
The skin on the bottoms of our feet tends to be one of the most overworked yet under-treated areas on our bodies, said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "It is constantly exposed to trauma from daily walking and friction from rubbing against our shoes."
And if we're not giving the area proper regular care, we can end up with dry, callused and cracked soles that, come sandal season, can put a huge damper on your beach day.
To help you give your tootsies the spa-worthy treatment they deserve, we rounded up some expert-approved and bestselling exfoliating products that you can use to tackle those rough areas and keep your feet feeling baby soft all season long.
Best foot exfoliators, according to experts
People tend to take an aggressive approach when using foot files, treating problem areas with a back-and-forth scrubbing motion. But according to Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a New York City-based podiatrist, this can actually make cracks and callouses worse. That's why she likes this electronic foot file, which spins in one direction. The powerful file works quickly, so you only need to run it over each area for a second or two to make a noticeable difference in the texture of your skin.
Sutera also loves this foot repair balm. "It's got a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), which means a lot to podiatrists," she said. "It is also paraben-free and works pretty quickly — you can start to see results after a few applications."
The formula includes a combination of moisturizing and exfoliating ingredients, to gently loosen and remove dry skin, while nourishing and hydrating the area at the same time.
This foot peel, recommended by Zeichner, has garnered a cult-like following on social media. It's in part thanks to the numerous gross yet satisfying before-and-after photos from users who transformed their feet from dry and cracked to baby soft with one application. To use, soak your feet in the "booties" for an hour, then rinse off any excess formula with soap and water. It can take up to two weeks to complete the peeling process, so you'll want to use it well ahead of your next beach vacation.
When you order this intensely moisturizing balm, you'll also get a pumice stone, which can be used to tackle any calluses and dry patches and create a fresh base for the hydrating formula to do its work. Made with extra-virgin olive oil, almond oil and lavender essential oil, the cream nourishes and moisturizes your feet, so you'll be left with silky soft soles. Plus, Sutera said it "smells amazing and is all-natural."
NYC-based podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal likes this exfoliating scrub for two reasons: it's easy to apply and gentle enough to be used every day. The formula combines exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids along with hydrating coconut oil, for an all-around soothing treatment. And the top doubles as an application brush, too, so your hands stay clean and your feet get a gentle massage as you slather it on.
Splichal often recommends for her patients to use a manual exfoliator, like a pumice stone or file, once a week. But anyone who has used these tools knows that you can end up in some pretty awkward positions. That's why she suggests using a pumice wand, to tackle those hard-to-reach areas. Her pick is almost out of stock, but we like this equally effective option, which makes the exfoliation process easier.
Bestselling foot exfoliators
Much like the viral Baby Foot mask, you may have to wait up to two weeks to see the final results of this peel. But according to many of the more than 16,000 people who have given the product a five-star rating, it's worth the wait. Made with malic, salicylic and citric acids, along with aloe vera and papaya extracts, the peel sloughs away dead skin cells to reveal softer, smoother feet.
While the idea of taking a grater to the bottom of your feet may not seem like the most appealing idea, sometimes stubborn skin requires a tougher approach. And in those situations, this file may do the trick. One Shop TODAY writer who put it to the test said that after a few minutes of using the file on her heels, "they were baby smooth, just like after a professional pedicure."
For more stories like this, check out:
- Say goodbye to dry, flaky feet with this $10 foot file
- Dealing with rough, bumpy skin? Dermatologists recommend these 10 products
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