Show off your feet with confidence this sunny season! Here are tips to keep your heels and toes healthy and happy.

It’s *officially* summer, which means that we are all showing more skin. One area of the body that spends plenty of time exposed during the warmer months are our feet.

While summer brings with it sun and fun, it also brings with it some pesky skin concerns. These range from bug bites to sunburns. Another part of the body that can suffer are our feet. Being more exposed due to the warmer weather, they are confronted with the elements and the outdoors. This can lead to skin that is dry, cracked and compromised – which doesn’t pair well with open shoes or sandals!

Be mindful of your footwear

When the weather is hot, you want to keep your feet as cool as possible. But some popular summer footwear could lead to nasty infections. Flip flops tested after being worn for four days presented over 18 000 strains of bacteria, including the ones that cause MRSA, athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Hot weather and closed shoes can also lead to fungal infections. Wear lightweight socks that wick away moisture to keep you comfortable.

Give your toes, and shoes, some air

Feet feeling clammy after being trapped in shoes on a warm day? This can put you at an increased risk of developing a fungal growth or skin infection.  It’s for this reason that it’s recommended that you let your toes breathe when in a hygienic setting. Shoes should also be left to air dry to minimize bacteria growth.

Feet should also be left to dry thoroughly after bathing or showering. This is because a warm, moist environment makes for an ideal breeding ground for infection-causing fungus.

Exfoliate and moisturize – regularly!

Being more exposed to the earth and the elements in summer can take its toll on our feet. Over time, the fat pads at our heels become thinner and less resilient. The skin also becomes thinner and can start to crack.

This is where a dedicated foot-care routine comes in. Make sure that you are exfoliating at least once a week using a pumice stone. Moisturize them daily using an occlusive cream to keep your heels and toes soft and supple.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen

Did you remember to put SPF on your feet this morning? This is one of the most neglected places but it is crucial to remember during your application process to avoid developing melanoma.

The sun, wind and sand can also dry out your cuticles, which are responsible for healthy nail growth. Keep them in tip-top condition by not only keeping them moisturized but also protected from UV rays by applying sunscreen when your toes will be exposed.