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Ladies often pay a lot of attention to exfoliating their face and legs, but they tend to leave their feet without much-needed TLC. The importance of exfoliating your feet for fashion and beauty becomes obvious, however, when you think about how many cute shoes leave your heels, toes or top of your foot bare for all to see. Exfoliating the skin and cuticles of your feet is no more difficult than exfoliating other areas of your body, although you might be able to use exfoliators that have a little more oomph because of the skin's thickness.
One of the most important steps to take if you want to exfoliate the skin and cuticles of your feet is to soak your feet first. At the very least, you should take a 10- to 15-minute shower first. Doing this is awesome for exfoliating because it helps soften the dead skin and residue on your feet. It also helps open up your pores so you really can clean them out. A simple soak can be just warm milk. Milk contains lactic acid, a natural, mild exfoliating agent. You also can try a mix of soap-free body wash or shampoo -- these might not lather very well, but they're less drying than other cleansers -- and natural oils such as avocado oil or melted shea butter. Once you have soaked your tootsies, pat them with a towel but leave them damp.
After your soak, the next step is to go at the dead skin and residue on your feet a little more aggressively with a manual exfoliator. These usually are simple scrubs you can make at home. For instance, you can use some Epsom salts or sugar mixed with just a touch of water. These are abrasive but not so harsh that they'll totally tear up your skin. Rub these onto your skin in a circular motion, being more gentle around the sensitive cuticles of the toes. Don't forget the webbing between your toes! If you need something a little more heavy-duty, especially on your heel, reach for a natural loofah sponge or a pumice stone. A fine nail file can work, too. Use as light of a touch as possible to avoid taking off too much skin at a time, especially with the harder exfoliators.
Exfoliating your feet -- or any other beautiful part of your body -- is a great way to get your skin to glow and get some softness. The trouble is, exfoliating naturally takes off some of the skin and oil that acts as a barrier to potentially harsh products or elements in the environment. You have to give your feet a helping hand and put some protection back on your skin once you're done scrubbing. The simplest way to do this is to apply a good moisturizing lotion. Ones with aloe are especially good because they're so soothing and contain substances such as vitamin E that can help your skin heal. Go for a light initial layer, wait for it to soak in, and then add another layer if you have to. Another trick is to put on some socks that are soaked on the inside with the lotion you like for a few hours or as you sleep. This is kind of like giving your feet a bandage. By adding lotion to the sock, you keep the fabric from absorbing water and oil from your skin, so your skin won't dry out. Some stores and websites sell socks already infused with aloe.
Great, smooth feet usually don't happen overnight, especially if you're like most ladies and put your feet through the rigors of heels and endless running for work, errands or family. Exfoliating can provide results quickly, but it might take a few weeks before you really get rid of any calluses and really get your feet back in shape. It's always better to take the time to repeat the exfoliation process once or twice a week than it is to dig so deeply into your skin all at once that you irritate it.