I was late to the pedicure game. I used to avoid the pampering practice like the plague because I was embarrassed of my feet—not only because I don’t think they’re attractive, but also because due to my hardcore bootcamps, my heels always have calluses on them. I got over it and now get pedicures pretty regularly, but as I talked with fellow editors about their feet (as one casually does) I realized that our feet insecurities run deep, though the things we call out are all pretty much the same.
It’s no wonder: After all, your feet work hard, getting you all over the place and through your workouts as well, and that effort can show. So, I reached out to nail pro Shelly Hill of Los Angeles-based Base Coat salon to ask her the most common things that she sees on people’s feet and how to treat them. Here, she shares her intel, plus how to deal and still give your feet the TLC they need.
Keep scrolling to find out the most common foot issues and how to treat them.
Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost: There actually are reasons you should skip the pedicure chair. If you have blisters or cuts on your feet that could get infected, by all means cancel your appointment. However, if you’re worried about calluses, Hill says to stop—so many people have them. “Everyday walking and running can wreak havoc on your feet,” says Hill. “Over time your body naturally builds up calluses (AKA thicker skin) on the areas that you put the most pressure on.” If you wear heels on the reg, you’re even more prone to getting them, she adds.
Resist the temptation to go hard at them with a callus remover, because Hill says scrubbing too hard can trick your body into thinking that you need to protect the area that was broken down. This can make your calluses grow back much thicker, which isn’t exactly what you want. Instead, “let the professionals do this for you,” she says. Or better yet: Live in peace with your calluses and stop filing them all together.
Dry, cracked heels
If your heels resemble the floor of the desert, fear not: “Dry and cracked heels are very common,” notes Hill. “As time goes on, there are a lot of elements that contribute to this—going barefoot, the hot weather, not moisturizing, and even scrubbing too hard.” To smooth things over, she recommends using a deep moisturizer, rich in ceramides on the area before bedtime. This should help prevent water loss as well as replenish the area with the skin-loving ingredients that it needs. To help speed up the process and your progress, wear a pair of socks overnight, and Hill says you should “see a big difference in about a week.”
Ingrown toenails are super painful, but apparently they can happen pretty easily (and yes, while you’re dealing with the situation, skip the pedi). “These can be caused by not filing or clipping the nails properly,” Hill explains. The secret is all in how you shape your toenails (yes, really). “Always file or cut in a straight line—AKA a square shape,” she says. “Never round your toenails because eventually it’ll cause the skin to harden, and when the nail grows out it’ll dig into the hardened skin and be very painful.” Noted.
In other foot news, *this* is why your pedicure lasts much longer than your mani. And to keep things healthy, these are the top 23 nail polishes that are at least 5-free.
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