How to Get Your Feet in Check for Sandal Season

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When it’s the middle of winter and your feet are routinely covered in inch-thick socks and snow boots, pedicures tend to drop a bit on the priority list. We get it, but when the weather is warmer and you find yourself reaching for sandals, the result of that neglect—unkept toenails and dry, cracked heels—is an unsightly mess. With open-toe shoes on the brain, we reached out to Bliss South Beach spa director Shane Upson and lead nail technician at Bliss Soho, Dulsi Nunez, for their top foot care tips. Here’s what they shared.   

What beauty product ingredients are best for dry and cracked feet? 
Dulsi Nunez: You want to look for ingredients that are going to exfoliate and moisturize. Anything with alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid and/or lactic acid will exfoliate the skin and minimize cracks on your heels. Shea butter, oils such as coconut, jojoba, and grape seed, and antioxidants like vitamin E are all great for dryness.

What are Bliss’s got-to foot care products?
Dulsi Nunez: Bliss Softening Socks
 ($52, blissworld.com). They have a polymer gel lining that’s infused with oils and antioxidants to deeply moisturize. You can leave them on over night for a deep conditioning treatment, or wear them for 20 minutes for a quick fix.
Shane Upson: Our Bliss Foot Patrol Cream ($18, blissworld.com) has alpha hydroxy and salicylic acids to slough away dead skin, whole leaf aloe to soften the feet and clear away cuticles, and cooling peppermint that refreshes the toes.

Any tips for preventing dead skin build up?
Dulsi Nunez:
Using a proper foot tool. Pumice stones aren’t very effective and they store bacteria as they sit in your shower day after day; razors and rasp files often cause more cracks and deep cuts. The Diamancel Diamond Foot Buffer ($49, sephora.com) is a safe file that gets rid of callous, corns, and thick dry skin on the heels.

What about maintaining healthy toenails?
Shane Upson:
One bit of advice is to not leave polish on them for too long. Polish can dehydrate your nail beds leaving them thin and brittle, so it’s important to remove it within three weeks of application and take periodic polish breaks. Also, dark and bright colors tend to dehydrate your nails more than sheer colors; opting for the latter will help keep your nails healthy.

What’s a good spa treatment for dry feet?
Shane Upson:
 I often recommend paraffin. The feet are submerged into a warm mixture of paraffin wax and mineral oil and left to rest until the mixture hardens. The wax opens up the pores allowing the oils to penetrate deep into the skin. It softens the feet and also soothes aching joints and improves circulation.

What’s a good at-home foot soak?
Dulsi Nunez: 
Warm whole milk. It has lactic acid which acts as an exfoliant, and vitamins that nourish the skin.

When should people see a podiatrist or dermatologist instead of going to the spa?
Dulsi Nunez: If you have painful callouses or corns, deeply-cracked heels that are prone to bleeding, a fungus or ingrown toenails, you should visit a doctor to get it treated. Sometimes the causes of those issues are internal.

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