For many people, the cold days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. We’re constantly talking about how to keep your face radiant and hands moisturized, but what about your feet? Just because they’re hidden in thick socks and your favorite boots doesn’t mean you should ignore them.  Think of the major disservice you are doing to yourself: months of neglect in winter will only mean more effort will be needed to get your feet sandal ready in the summer!

Believe it or not, your feet have a blood supply that is affected by climate. When your feet are cold, the blood supply to the top layers of the skin has been reduced to preserve heat. Your feet can become as dry as chapped lips without even being exposed to the elements.  Think of winter pedicures as a way to care for and pamper your feet, keeping cracked heels at bay and ready for warmer weather shoes.

Here are some of our best tips for taking care of your feet in the cold winter months:

  • Hook Up the Humidifier.  Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home to help disperse the moisture more evenly.
  • Moisturize More.  You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer. But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine. Find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based for the winter months. The oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.
  • Exfoliate.  Use an exfoliating cleanser to get the dead skin off and reduce calluses. This helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.  You can even make your own exfoliator! Combine sea salt, an oil (peppermint and lavender are great options) and a touch of water, then massage all over your feet. You can use brown sugar and oats in the scrub as well.
  • Use a Pumice Stone. After rinsing away your scrub, follow it by gently exfoliating your soles with a pumice stone for rough calluses. For extra stubborn calluses you can shave them off gently with a callus shaver.  Be aware, though – over-filing your feet can lead to an overgrowth of hard skin, which will create callouses.
  • Ban Superhot Baths.  Soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture.  Restore heat in cold feet by applying foot cream in circular motions from the heel up to the toe. This will not only warm your feet, but also moisturize them at the same time.

Hiding your feet away in socks and boots during winter is not an excuse to neglect them.  Follow the simple tips above to make sure your feet are well taken care of and ready for sandals when warmer weather returns.