How to Exfoliate Your Feet with the ViaBuff!

On the ViaBuff Blog we typically focus on how to best exfoliate your face and body – but  did you know that our puffs work well on dry, cracked feet as well? Our feet still need a regular and thorough exfoliation, even if they are hidden away by socks and heavy boots this winter. But what is the best way to exfoliate your feet?

Soak Your Feet

feet exfoliation

It is best to soak your feet in a warm bath for 20-25 minutes before you are ready to exfoliate. This step softens the skin so that your exfoliating puff can more easily scrape away dead and flaky skin. Dr. Mikhail Borakovskiy of the Integrative Foot and Ankle Centers of Washington notes that a nice foot soak will also open up the pores so that ingredients may more easily penetrate the skin.

Online you will find recipes for numerous DIY foot soaks, but  few of these are powerful enough to give your skin a thorough exfoliation (even though they may make dry, cracked heels feel smoother and more hydrated). For the best soaks, we recommend using warm water, as hot water can actually zap existing moisture from the skin. Want to learn more about DIY feet exfoliating treatments? Check back in the next few weeks when debunk some common myths and treatments!

Use an Exfoliating Serum and a ViaBuff Exfoliating Puff

While many DIY-ers rely on homemade concoctions, these seldom contain powerful exfoliating ingredients, or any exfoliating ingredients at that. For the best exfoliation, you should combine a serum or cream containing keratolytic ingredients (like salicylic acid or papain) with an abrasive yet gentle exfoliator like the ViaBuff Exfoliating Puff. Believed to be one of the best keratolytic agents, salicylic acid is a great exfoliating ingredient because it breaks down intercellular bonds between hardened skin cells that may be blocking topical treatments from penetrating deeply into the skin (Clinics in Dermatology, British  Journal of Dermatology). Papain, found in papayas, is also a great keratolytic agent that can loosen intercellular bonds so that dead skin cells can be more easily removed (Cosmetic Dermatology)

keratolytic agents

Why do you have to use the two in combination? Well, using only an exfoliating serum will break apart dead or hardened skin cells, but it won’t quite remove them; that’s why you need the ViaBuff Exfoliating Puff to whisk away those loosened skin cells that may still be loosely attached to the skin or which could clog pores. Similarly, while our puffs are great at removing dead and flaky skin, its efficacy improves exponentially when used with an exfoliating cream that can break apart particularly stubborn patches of hardened skin. For those with hardened heels, we suggest using the ViaBuff Level 3 or 4 Exfoliating Puffs, as these were designed specifically to exfoliate patches of dry skin.

If you have severely dried skin or large cracks and fissures, do not attempt to cure these at home; these require immediate medical attention. Attempting to treat these at home can lead to potential infection and injury (Dr. Chris Schach for OnlineDermClinic)

Use a Deeply-Penetrating Moisturizer

coconut oil

Freshly-exfoliated heels need to be moisturized and have their skin barrier fortified. To treat your heels, Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery suggests using a cream containing urea or glycolic acid worn under socks (to make ensure that the cream won’t wear off) (Popsugar).  Urea has been shown to inhibit epidermal hyperproliferation, which is partly responsible for the development of hardened and scaly patches of skin (Acta Dermato Venereologica). In addition, research suggests that urea can exhibit antimicrobial activity, hydrate skin, and even improve skin barrier functioning (Journal of Investigative Dermatology). Likewise, topically-applied glycolic acid exhibits photoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, which is a bonus for those of us who live in sandals or who have painfully-dry skin (Dermatologic Surgery). You should also consider using moisturizers that contain other super-hydrators such as coconut oil, shea butter, kukui oil and glycerin.

Bottom Line

viabuff split buff

Exfoliating your feet doesn’t have to be difficult, but be careful when you read online about DIY “treatments” for dry, cracked feet. It is important to soak your feet in warm water for 20-25 minutes before you plan to exfoliate, so as to open up your pores and slightly soften dry patches. Pair the ViaBuff Level 3 or 4 Exfoliating Puff with an exfoliating serum containing keratolytic (exfoliating) agents like papain and salicylic acid. Follow up with a soothing and moisturizing cream that contains ingredients like urea, glycolic acid, and hydrating oils.

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