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Other than neglected hairy legs, one of the worst things about winter is having to put up with this frustrating and embarrassing problem of dry and cracked feet!
You know that feeling; the scratchy, itchy one. Just thinking about them sends a chill up my spine! I’m here to tell you that you needn’t put up with this nightmare of a thought come winter or any more winters to come! Time to breathe a sigh of relief.
We all know that the winter air can be very drying for our skin, especially if you live in a drier region with low humidity or use indoor heating. Our poor feet often get neglected during these colder months. Whether you wear inappropriate footwear or rough it barefoot frequently; if you are someone who’s particularly active on your feet, overweight or pregnant; you are at particular risk of wearing down your soles if you don’t give them the appropriate TLC. When the sole loses its suppleness and elasticity, calluses may build up which can result in painful cracking and even bleeding.
Not to overlook the fact that in some cases, dry skin and cracking heels may be a sign of a zinc, vitamin or mineral deficiency. Most certainly, eating a healthy, whole foods diet will help significantly. It’s also important to nourish your body with lots of healthy fats which are vital for helping the body absorb the skin loving vitamins A, E and D and also for repairing and renewing skin cells. Ghee, coconut oil, butter, avocado and olive oil (to name a few of my favorites) are also great for promoting hormonal homeostasis and regulating your core body temperature. Be gone cold hands and feet!
Whilst nourishing the skin starts from the inside, it’s certainly nice to be able to moisturize your legs and feet after a warm shower (or shave!) when your skin is especially susceptible to being left dry and stripped of its natural oils. After all, you also want to be able show your pins without feeling embarrassed that you’re putting on a scaly reptile show for the public.
Now before you go out and stack your shopping basket with off-the-shelf commercial lines of moisturizers and serums, take a second look at what’s on their ingredient labels. It’s a complex list of synthetic chemicals that even the smartest fifth grader spelling bee champ can’t pronounce or spell. A large percentage of them are neither good for your skin, your body or the environment because remember, what doesn’t get absorbed by your own body will simply get washed down the drain.
Reading labels is a great place to start. If you are unsure of an ingredient, question it! Go look it up. We have free access to this information at the tip of our fingers. A simple Google search could save you a heartache of skin problems down the road.
It doesn’t need to be complicated! In fact, natural beauty is one of the simplest things going around and will leave your skin finally able to live out the natural beauty it was born to be.
Four Simple Ways to Maintain Gorgeous, Smooth, Scale-Free Legs and Feet this Winter:
1. Dry brushing your legs
A dry brush is simply a natural bristled brush that you use to exfoliate your skin with by brushing in large circular motions. It’s effective in stimulating blood flow, removing dead skin cells and encouraging skin cell regeneration. Use this on your legs and the tops of your feet before a shower. Bonus – you save water in the process!
2. Foot Soak
Avoid soaking your feet in warm water for prolonged periods of time as this can have the adverse effect of further drying your skin. What you can do though, is pour ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a small tub of lukewarm water that you can soak your feet in for 10 minutes. Do this no more than 3 times a week. The ACV will help to soften the skin, preparing it for the next step.
3. Pumice stone
This is a must-have for removing the thicker layers of built up dry skin that sometimes accumulates on hard working feet. A pumice stone is simply natural volcanic rock that works away at smoothing calluses and hard, dry skin. Only do this when your feet are wet! If you’re attacking a particularly difficult build up of skin on your feet, a daily habit of using a pumice stone when you shower will drastically help to smooth down your soles. Otherwise, you may only wish to use it once a week or when you feel a particular need to. If you have severely cracked feet that are bleeding, this step may be quite painful and you may need to consult a podiatrist. You can come back to this step after allowing the cracks to heal for a couple weeks if you’re using the below natural moisturizer recipe.
3. Natural moisturizer
This simple 2 ingredient recipe for a leg and foot moisturizer is something you can massage onto your skin and the soles of your feet at night, and wake up feeling soft and smooth. I like to apply it after a shower and then pop a pair of socks on, snuggle up on the couch with a book and let the oils do their magic.
Coconut Shea Butter Recipe:
Shea Butter: It’s a creamy-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees in Africa that contains high levels of Vitamin A, E and a host of antioxidants and essential fats.
Coconut Oil: We’ve heard it being touted from the roof tops; coconut oil really is great. It’s a saturated fat that’s made up of medium chain triglycerides which nourish and moisturize the skin when applied topically and it even has antibacterial qualities!
*You may wish to adjust the measurements depending on how liquefied your coconut oil is. It solidifies at cooler temperatures and is liquid at higher temperatures. You can add a few drops of a natural essential oil such as lavender, rosehip or lemon, if they take your fancy.
Now those dry and cracked feet will have no part to play in your winter plans.
About Emily Uebergang
Emily is an urban hippie who’s on a mission to help city dwellers design more sustainable lifestyles. Sharing her love for mother nature, real food and sustainability, she writes like she’s out to try and save the world or something. She blogs at The Urban Ecolife. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+.