Putting your best foot forward

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

It's summertime! It's sandal time. It is time to take care of our feet, which we often expose to keep cool amid hot weather.

According to Tjanese Dingiswayo of Pabala Beauty House at the Brightwater Commons, it is important to get your feet well prepared for summer and sandals.

Dingiswayo says well-pedicured feet are a sign that a person is both health and fashion conscious.

"It is time to either go and get a pedicure from a beauty house or give yourself an at-home pedicure. You scrub off the dead, dry skin to reveal your sandal-ready feet. Nothing is worse than seeing dull, dry feet inside cute sandals."

She says taking care of your feet doesn't have to be a big ordeal.

Dingiswayo says with these few tips you can take care of your toes this summer:

1 Eat fish and nuts

You are what you eat.

"The nutrients you take in with your food decide how your hair, skin and nails will turn out, and nuts and seeds contain omega oils which are necessary for radiant skin, healthy hair and nails," says Dingiswayo.

2 Exfoliate your feet

"Scrub your feet with a foot scrub, a body scrub or use an exfoliating wash to get rid of dry, peeling skin and allow younger, healthier skin to surface."

Dingiswayo advises people to exfoliate their feet daily. "Pay attention to the rough patches and to your heels," she says.

3 Moisturise your feet

"You moisturise your face, your hands and legs. Why not your feet?" asks Dingiswayo.

She adds that, in fact, feet respond even better to a massage after a good moisturising clean.

"Do moisturise your feet immediately after washing them thoroughly and drying them with a towel."

4 Groom your feet

"Take special care of toenails, which are especially vulnerable around damp areas.

"Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to infection, so see your podiatrist at the first sign of discoloration or infection," says Dingiswayo.

She suggests that toenails should be cut straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. She adds that feet need to be prettied up by painting the nails with a good nail polish.

She advises people to buy a bold new polish for their toes. Toe-nails can be painted a much bolder colour than you would usually put on your fingernails. Pick out something that screams summer.

"Polish tends to stay on your toes much longer than your hands because you don't abuse your toenails like you do your fingernails. Apply a clear base coat, two applications of colour and a clear top coat for protection.

"Go barefoot or put on your flip-flops for at least a couple hours to make sure your polish won't dent," suggests Dingiswayo.

5 Prevent fungal infections

Dingiswayo advises people to soak their feet in a foot bath that has a few drops of tea tree oil added to clean warm water once a week.

"Examine your feet daily for injury blisters, cracks, scratches. Pay particular attention to the areas between the toes."

6. Don't wear the same shoes every day.

Shoes need about 24 hours to completely dry out from the last time they were worn.

Other Don'ts

l Avoid walking barefoot even inside the house.

l Do not wear ill-fitting shoes or thongs.

l Do not wear wet footwear - it can be a source of infection like athlete's foot.

l Do not remove corns and calluses by yourself.

l Do not apply plasters or corn removers or any type of adhesive tape.

l Do not use a hot water bottle or heating pads on your feet.

l Avoid smoking. Smoking reduces blood circulation to the legs leading to loss of limbs.

l Never use scissors, a blade, nail cutter or knife to cut the nails. Using a nail filer is safe.