By LAURA STAMPLER
With warm weather finally on the horizon, it’s almost time to take your feet out of hiding and let them bask in the open-toe-sandal glory of spring. But now that they’re out and on display, it might be time to address a problem a lot of us suffer from: peeling skin.
“Peeling feet is definitely common, and there are various reasons why,” says Rebecca Pruthi, a doctor of podiatric medicine and owner of Foot Care of Manhattan. “We’re on our feet all the time and the constant pounding and walking can cause cracking and scaling of the skin,” she says.
But peeling feet can be about more than just pounding the pavement. Here are seven reasons why your feet might be peeling.
- Fungal Infections
According to Pruthi, the most common reason patients have peeling feet is a fungal infection (like athlete’s foot)—although they might not always realize it. “A lot of times it just presents itself as peeling skin and patients don’t have the itchiness, so they don’t know it’s a fungal infection,” Pruthi says. So if your skin starts mysteriously peeling all of a sudden, get it checked out sooner rather than later. Once you have a fungal infection on your skin, it can easily infect your toenail, which Pruthi warns can be very difficult to get rid of.
“What I find that happens is that the skin infects the nails, the nails re-infect the skin, back and forth, back and forth,” she says. “So whatever presents itself first, you want to knock it away.”
2. Sweaty Exercise Routines
Excess perspiration and moist environments often cause these foot infections, which lead to peeling. That might mean that your gym regimen, especially if there’s some hot yoga thrown in, can contribute to your peeling feet. Pruthi warns that “anything you’re doing barefoot, or if you’re sharing mats, or if you’re doing hot yoga in a moist environment” can lead to this bacterial or fungal infection. See a doc if you think you have it. (Dance your way fit with High-Intensity Dance Cardio, the first-ever socanomics DVD!)
3. Strappy Heels
Many women, including Pruthi, love to wear strappy shoes in the summer. But as anyone who hasn’t properly broken in her new heels knows, snug footwear can cause some serious friction. “Anything that causes friction can cause blisters, which can also result in scaling or peeling of the skin,” Pruthi says. “Don’t wear shoes for too long, wear natural materials that kind of mold to your feet, and as soon as you start to feel friction, change your shoes. Don’t allow too much of that to dig into your skin.” And you shouldn’t only focus on the impact of your heels. Flip flops are also a culprit of foot discomfort and peeling.
Nobody goes to the beach with the intentions of getting a beet-red, painful-to-touch sunburn. But while you might be good at remembering to lather sunscreen onto your face, back, and shoulders, Pruthi notices that “the feet always get the short end of the stick.” So when you just dip your feet in the ocean and assume your lotion has stayed on… maybe reapply. Sunburns lead to peeling and other scary things. Don’t let your feet be on the receiving end of dangerous UV rays unprotected!
“Eczema is a skin condition that manifests through scaling of the skin,” says Pruthi. It can cause peeling, itching, and dryness all over the body—including the soles of your feet. Although many have experienced eczema since childhood, people can also develop the skin condition as an adult. Luckily there are many topical remedies available through podiatrists and dermatologists.
Dehydration can make you tired, decrease your metabolism, contribute to breakouts, and… that’s right, cause your feet to peel, too! “If you’re not hydrated enough, your skin starts to flake off everywhere on our bodies,” Pruthi says. Remember: Water is your friend. (Just try not to go overboard.)
Although there can be some eyebrow-raising reasons why your feet are peeling, it’s not always a bad thing. “Naturally your body wants to slough off skin,” Pruthi says. “So I always tell patients to get a pumice stone and just kind of in the shower rub your feet and get dead skin cells off so that it regenerates new skin.” So show your feet a little love—and they’ll love you right back.
Source: Prevention.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide