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Emollients & moisturising your feet

Why would you need to moisturise your feet? Which types are best? Are there any risks?

Emollient for feet

With age your skin begins to lose elasticity, flexibility, thickness, and it’s ability to retain moisture. It’s not just age, but also if you

smoke, drink alcohol, eat a poor diet, and spend too much time in the sun. These are all factors that will increase the damage to the skin, and/or hasten the effects. This leaves your skin more prone to cuts, scrapes, flaky skin etc. and reduces ability of the skin to heal, resulting in ulcers and infection.

Why should you worry about dry skin?

Dry skin has very thin tissue layers within it and therefore will provide less padding for shock absorption and insulation. This loss of protection results in an increased risk of skin breakdown. In addition the skin may be less sensitive to pain. The slower inflammatory response and reduced blood supply to dry skin means less oxygen and nutrients for the tissues and decreases the ability of the skin to heal. This then impacts on the skins’ ability to deal with bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The regular (and frequent) use of an emollient or moisturiser has shown to reduce the risk of tears/scratches in the skin, so less likelihood of an infection.

Dry Skin

Emollients (also known as moisturisers)

These work by filling up spaces in your skin and producing a layer on the surface of the skin that traps water underneath. This stops water loss and keeps the skin supple and soft. They can also stimulate the skin’s own moisturizing cells, improve anti-microbial protection against fungi, bacteria and viruses and relieve itching. They come in a variety of forms (creams, sprays, oils, lotions), ingredients (e.g. paraffin, urea, fragrances), costs, and consistencies. Different people will prefer different emollients.

How can you improve your skin health?

Some simple lifestyle changes will help:

  • Drink more water – hydrate your skin from the inside.

  • Reduce or stop smoking

  • Reduce/stop drinking alcohol – alcohol will dehydrate you

  • Turn the temperature down on your bath/shower

  • Use shower gels and other detergent soaps sparingly.

  • Use an emollient on your skin

How to use an emollient?

  1. Daily, as frequently as required (1-4 times daily)

  2. Best applied after washing, after patting dry

  3. Smooth it on in direction of hair - Don’t rub or massage

  4. Not between toes

  5. If in a tub, use a clean spoon each time.

  6. Leave 30min before applying another skin treatment

  7. Use liberally, you can’t overuse them

  8. Follow any specific instructions on the label

Risks of emollients?

  1. Fire – some emollients are flammable, so no naked flames or smoking after application.

  2. Slips – when first put on, emollients can be slippery – no bare feet once emollient applied.

  3. Irritants – there may be an ingredient your skin doesn’t like – try another brand.

Add it to your daily routine.

So along with brushing your teeth every day, why not moisturise your feet before you go to bed. You'll be helping to ensure that they stay healthy and young for longer!

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