When guys free their feet from the shackles of socks and actual shoes, the results are rarely good. More often than not, it's gross. And when you compound some nasty toes with bad bro sandals, you wind up with a below-the-ankle mess that torpedoes any outfit. When it comes to feet, a little effort can go a long way in getting yours ready to be seen by other humans.
And so, we’ve compiled simple solutions to a few of summer’s common foot care complaints, so you can close out this summer season with your best feet forward:
1.) How to de-green your nasty nails
So you’ve spent every minute since Memorial Day walking around sans socks, and now you’ve started to notice that your nails have taken on a nasty hue. Makes sense, really. You see, socks tend to absorb sweat, keeping your shoes fungus free; stop wearing them, and your kicks can turn into a swampy mess right quick. Luckily, it’s not particularly hard to turn your toes back to their regular color. Your best foot care weapon: tea tree oil. Naturally antiseptic, fungicidal and antibacterial, it’ll easily help clear up any infection when applied twice daily to the affected nail. Soaking the nail in apple cider vinegar can also help. Neither of those work? Then go full force with a targeted antifungal treatment. Or see a doctor. They tend to know what to do.
2.) How to soften cracked, callused heels
You know that layer of thick, hardened underfoot skin that’s developed over the course of the season? Well, it has a purpose and that’s to protect your soles from things like rocks, dirt and broken glass that might slice a less sturdy pelt. The trouble is, though, that it’s not at all pleasant to look at, and how often do you plan on walking on dangerous terrain, anyway? Plus, it’s more prone to dryness and cracking, which can lead to a lot of pain down the road. To get your callused heels in the best shape possible, there are two things you need: a pumice stone and a heavy-duty moisturizer. Use the former regularly, rubbing the harder parts of your skin to keep calluses at bay. Make sure to always follow that up with the latter, to keep newly exposed skin healthy and moisture-rich going forward. Trust us, your heels will thank you.
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3.) What to do about ingrown toe nails
If you’ve never had an ingrown nail, be thankful because these nasty bastards can seriously hurt like hell. They happen when the corner of your nail starts to grow down instead of out, either due to an improper toenail cutting job or wearing shoes that are simply a bit too small. The trouble then arises as the nail starts to cut into the cuticle— especially during the summer months when the wound is exposed to the elements, making it prone to infection.
So, the first thing you need to do is stop the nail from cutting deeper into the skin. You can do this by pulling the nail away from the skin, using a file or other blunt object, and wedging a bit of cotton in between the two. Warning: This will hurt, a lot, and if there’s swelling, it may not be possible. To reduce that swelling and soften the nail, soak the affected toe in a saltwater bath for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand (this will also help with pain and any potential infection). Once you’ve got the cotton in there, put a bandage on the toe to give it a little padding, and apply a touch of antibiotic ointment. If, after all that and you’ve then given the toe some time to heal, you still don’t have relief, go see a professional.
4.) How to treat stinky feet
Got some unholy odor wafting up from between your toes? Well, as we’ve mentioned, a number of things could be to blame, especially if you’ve been going sockless for a while. Good news is, we’ve already assembled a full guide on how to fix that, depending on how bad the stink is. Read up, and act accordingly.