Tips To Prevent Smelly & Sweaty Feet
They call it bromodosis and plantar hyperhidrosis. These are more sophisticated ways to name two of the most common conditions that can affect almost any type of feet. We’re talking about stinky and sweaty feet, of course. There is nothing more offensive than emitting a distinct foul odor from the feet and shoes that people within a 20-foot radius will smell. It’s like farting in public but without the characteristic “noise”. Having sweaty feet is not that comfortable either. You feel like your feet are slipping and sliding right in your shoes. What’s worse, sweaty feet can make you more vulnerable to blisters and secondary infections. You do not have to suffer from sweaty and stinky feet or subject others to such a “smelly” circumstance. We have here 10 different ways to help you reduce, if not eliminate, smelly and sweaty feet.
1. Wash And Dry Your Feet Every Day
The main cause of stinky feet is the presence of microorganisms on the skin’s surface. These germs do not cause disease because they are part of the skin’s natural “ecosystem”. However, when these microorganisms interact with moisture and heat, they can speed up their metabolic processes. As we all know, increased metabolism also leads to increased elimination. The waste materials that these germs produce can then interact with the molecules in sweat. What you now have is that characteristic odor we all associate with stinky feet.
Hence, washing the feet every day can help reduce the incidence of bromodosis or smelly feet. It reduces one of the factors that contribute to the production of foul odor – the presence of germs.
When washing the feet, it is best to use an appropriate antibacterial soap. There are also soaps that come with antifungal properties. You should know that fungi and bacteria are two different germs. Fungi are sturdier and more resilient than bacteria. As such, they may need a stronger formulation of antimicrobial soap.
Whenever you wash your feet, make sure to dry them very well. It’s one thing to remove some of the germs on the skin’s surface; it’s another matter to keep them off it. Moisture such as sweat facilitates the growth of bacteria. Hence, it is best to towel dry the feet right after washing. Make sure to dry the spaces in between the toes as moisture can accumulate in these parts.
2. Wear The Right Shoes
It makes perfect sense that individuals with a predisposition to stinky and smelly feet should also consider the type of footwear they use. As a general rule, the more “breathable” the shoe is, the better it is in terms of preventing smelly feet. Having said that, it is important to keep an eye on the different materials used in the construction of any given footwear.
For example, leather shoes and footwear made of plastics are not “breathable”. The materials on these types of footwear are non-porous. It means small air molecules cannot pass through these layers. Unfortunately, if air cannot pass through, then the interior of the footwear can “warm up”. This stimulates the sweat glands of the skin to start producing and releasing copious amounts of sweat. It does this to help “cool down” the rising temperature on the surface of the skin
We now know that an increase in moisture begets an increase in bacterial or microbial activity. Hence, choosing a pair of shoes that allows your feet to “breathe” is crucial in the reduction of stinky and sweaty feet.
However, in cases where leather shoes are a must, then you will have to find other ways to minimize the incidence of plantar hyperhidrosis and bromodosis.
3. Invest In Moisture-Wicking Socks
Since one of the culprits of smelly feet is moisture, it’s best to wear something that can draw wetness away from the skin. While moisture-wicking socks will not eliminate sweaty feet, they can help reduce the foul odor that results from the interaction between germs and sweat. As the name implies, these types of socks draw water molecules away from the surface of the skin. This minimizes one of the factors that germs can interact with.
Most of us know moisture-wicking socks as “breathable” socks. They contain very small holes upon which sweat can get out and air to get in. Many of these socks feature high-tech synthetic polyester materials. They are very different from cotton socks in that they only absorb about 0.4 percent of their weight in water. By contrast, cotton can absorb as much as 7 percent of the sock’s weight in water.
If you don’t mind wearing “wood” for socks, then you might want to get bamboo socks. These socks come with natural bamboo fibers that are well-known for their soft, moisture-wicking, and breathable properties. There are also substances in bamboo that can repel odor as well as fight bacteria. You can go high-tech, too, by choosing Gore-Tex socks and other highly-advanced socks.
4. Dry Your Footwear Right After Use
Wearing your shoes every day can promote the more rapid growth of bacteria and other germs. Throughout the day, your feet produce sweat in small amounts. And if you happen to have sweaty feet, this means you will have more of this moisture adhering to the walls of the insides of your shoes.
If you want to reduce the risk of having stinky feet, then you have to alternate your shoes. You got that right. You’ll need at least two pairs of shoes so that one will be resting or drying when the other one is in use. For instance, you can wear Shoe A today and Shoe B tomorrow.
The point here is to allow the shoes to dry very well in between wearings. If it is okay for you to hang the shoes on a clothesline to dry, then do it. Exposing the shoes to adequate sunlight and plenty of air will help reduce the bacteria that may already be present in the footwear.
You can also stuff your shoes with desiccant packets. These little teabag-sized packs draw moisture from almost anything. It can help in drying your shoes before you wear them again. Packing dry paper towels in your shoes can also help.
5. Apply Medicated Foot Powder
In some cases, it is wise to apply medicated powder onto your feet. Many of these foot care products contain substances that act in different ways. There are those that help absorb moisture on the feet while others possess antibacterial properties.
Medicated foot powders that have antibacterial action work best in eliminating nasty odor from the feet. These work by neutralizing the very microorganisms that are causing the stink. Killing bacteria on the skin can help reduce the source of bad odor.
Those foot powders that have moisture-absorbing properties are great for keeping the feet dry. As you already know, the combination of bacteria and moisture never brings anything good to this part of the body.
6. Disinfect Your Footwear
If you are washing your feet everyday with an antibacterial soap, it also makes sense to wash and disinfect your footwear on a regular basis. In most cases, washing your shoes or sandals once a week should give it a nice and refreshing smell. However, not all shoes are washable. So it is best to check your shoe manufacturer for any recommendations.
Most folks will wash their shoes with cool water. They will also wash it by hand, instead of running it in the washing machine. Adding a few drops of Lysol or any other disinfectant in the wash can help get rid of bacteria and other germs. If you’re tossing it into your washing machine, remember to remove the laces. It is also best to run it on a gentle cycle.
Washing your shoes should always include a very thorough drying. It is no use if you are not going to dry it very well. Moisture that is present in the shoe can still invite microorganisms to grow and multiply, defeating the purpose of washing.
If you’re not able to wash your footwear, try getting a spray-on disinfectant. Choose a product that is specific to the type of material found in your shoes. Spray generous amounts of the disinfectant to kill the germs that give you nasty-smelling feet.
7. Use Alcohol, Baking Soda, Or Cornstarch
Almost every household has rubbing alcohol, cornstarch, or baking soda in their kitchen. And if these household items are not available, you can purchase them from your neighborhood grocery store.
Alcohol has this uncanny ability to constrict or close the pores of the skin. When you do this, you do not sweat that much. It is also a good liquid to dry up the skin. As such, rubbing alcohol onto your feet prior to wearing socks and shoes should help minimize sweaty feet.
On the other hand, cornstarch is like talcum powder when it comes to absorbing sweat. This will keep your feet as dry as possible. It can also cool your feet. After rubbing your feet with alcohol and letting it dry, dust a generous amount of cornstarch onto the feet.
Dust your shoes with baking soda while waiting for the cornstarch to begin its moisture-absorbing properties. This will also draw moisture away from the surface of your shoes. You can then wear your socks and shoes and enjoy a day without stinky feet.
8. Apply Antiperspirant Or Deodorant
These are two different products that people often use interchangeably. An antiperspirant contains chemicals that block the sweat ducts. These are very small tubes where sweat from the sweat glands pass. Some antiperspirants work by inhibiting the action of certain nerves that control the production of sweat.
The most common ingredient in these products is aluminum salts like Aluminum Chloride and Aluminum Zirconium. The latter is known for producing less skin irritation. Both of these substances plug the skin pores, nonetheless. On the other hand, antiperspirants that contain DiphemanilMethylsulfate prevents the production of sweat.
Before applying any of these products, make sure to check them on a different part of your body first. These contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.
Deodorants do not address sweating. What it does is that it only masks the nasty smell from your feet. Some antiperspirants already have deodorants in their formulation so it’s best to check the product you’re buying.
9. Soak Feet In Homemade Solutions
Bacteria feed on organic matter. This means that the more dead skin cells you have on your feet, the greater is the risk of growing colonies of bacteria. Hence, one good way to manage stinky feet is by exfoliation or the removal of dead skin cells.
You can go to a foot spa or you can make simple foot soak solutions right at home. If you can get your hands on Epsom salts, it’s best to create a solution of this salt. Fill a large basin with warm water; as hot as you can tolerate. Dissolve about half a cup of Epsom salt and immerse your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes.
A good alternative is to mix 1 part of white or apple cider vinegar with 2 parts of warm water. Pour this solution in your bathtub quarter-filled with warm water and soak the feet for at least 15 minutes. Keep in mind that if you have any cuts, scratches, sores, or blisters on your feet, you can forget about soaking it in vinegar solution.
10. Clean And/Or Replace The Insoles
There’s this part of the shoe that takes the most abuse: the insoles. The good thing about this part of the footwear is that you can replace it with something that is washable. There are also insoles that come with antibacterial or odor-reducing properties. Every week, you can remove the insole and wash it very well. You can also add disinfectant in your washing solution.
A more important activity will be to air-dry the insoles before you put them back into the shoes. This can help reduce the number of bacteria that cause bad odor in the feet.
Reducing stinky and sweaty feet entails the more efficient management of moisture. Removing bacteria and protecting the feet against future colonization also help.
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