You’re primed to debut that cute pair of flip-flops you bought on sale last fall, but your still winter-worn feet may not be. To the rescue: The pampering treatments that primp and pretty up feet — sans the cost of a pricey pedicure — so you can step beautifully into the season.
Soften Rough Heels
Cell turnover is slower on heel skin, making it prone to extreme dryness, thick layers and cracking. But it’s easy to remedy with a “chocolate milk” soak. “Milk’s lactic acid exfoliates the thick layers of skin to reduce cracks, while its lipids replenish moisture to heal them,” says New Jersey podiatrist Dana Canuso, D.P.M. “And cocoa powder’s flavonoids help promote new cell growth for softer, smoother skin.”
To do: Stir 2 Tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder into 2 cups of warm, full-fat milk. Pour into a large basin and soak feet for 10 minutes; rinse. Use a foot file to remove leftover dead skin.
To Whiten Nails
To blame for dark, discolored nails? Age, overuse of nail polish and daily rubbing of toes against the inside of shoes, says Dr. Canuso. The surprising throwaway that can help: lemon rind! “Its citric acid lifts away any yellow tinge on the surface of nails, while its vitamin C further brightens them,” says Dr. Canuso. In fact, the zest contains up to 10 times more brightening vitamins and enzymes than the fruit’s actual juice — making it both a free
and super-effective treatment!
To do: Rub a piece of lemon rind onto nails for 1 minute; rinse. Use every other day to see results in one week.
To Remove Calluses
Calluses are caused by an accumulation of keratin, a protein produced by skin to help protect it from friction. They often form on the bony areas of the foot, but can be found on the bottoms of toes too. To eradicate them, Dr. Canuso suggests this two-step approach: First, apply a salicylic acid–infused gel patch like Dr. Scholl’s Duragel Salicylic Acid Callus Remover Cushion ($4.47, Amazon) onto calluses.
“The gel draws hydration to skin’s surface to soften it, while salicylic acid loosens the bonds between hardened keratin cells so they can be easily removed.” Bonus: Wearing the patches at night while skin is in repair mode allows nutrients to penetrate
skin as you sleep, speeding healing.
Next, in the morning, remove the patches and lightly buff the skin with a vitamin E–infused foot sponge, like Spongeables Pedi-Scrub Sponge Foot Buffer ($5.21, Amazon). It hydrates the area as it sloughs away the calluses. Repeat every other day until calluses disappear and skin is silky-smooth.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.