You can dress them up with nail polish, scrape off calluses and smooth heels, but what about that stench? Summer is the time to show off your feet, but embarrassing foot odour may make you bury your hoofs in the sand.
“The average person has 120,000 sweat glands per foot,” says podiatrist Joseph Stern. Excess perspiration causes bacteria (which feed off dead skin cells) to be released into the air; producing an unpleasant aroma. Control foot odour with these five steps:
1. Wear breathable cotton socks and dust feet with talcum powder before putting on shoes to soak up excess sweat and keep feet dry.
2. Spray shoes with a deodorizer or if they’re washable, use hot water to kill odour-causing bacteria. Naturopathic Doctor Meghan Walker recommends adding a sachet of lavender or cedar chips at night to add a pleasant aroma.
3. “Baking soda is really effective @ absorbing scent and odours,” says Walker. Sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda in each shoe or use odour-control pads such as Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X which use a mixture of charcoal and baking soda to neutralize odor and keep feet dry.
4. Wash feet regularly with warm water and antibacterial soap and give your feet an Epsom salt bath two or three times a week, adding two cups of salts to a tub of water and soaking feet for 10 to 20 minutes. “Epsom salts act as an astringent [to control sweating],” says Walker. Add a few drops of antimicrobial oils tea tree or thyme to kill bacteria.
5. Cure perspiration with a tea bath. “The tannins in black tea are effective in helping to close up some of the pores in the feet,” says Walker. Add brewed tea to a basin of cold water and soak your feet for 20 minutes for five consecutive days. Stern says spraying feet with an antiperspirant can also control perspiration.