Only three weeks ago I was beginning to think that Spring would never arrive, but fortunately I was wrong! The sky is blue, I can hear the birds singing once again, the leaves are on the trees and flowers everywhere. What a long time we’ve had to wait for it though… The first thing I did last weekend, was get out my sandals and flip fops and blow the dust off them. Sadly my enthusiasm was dampened by the image looking back at me in the mirror; the sandals were still looking good but the legs above could have done with a makeover. Not to mention my feet… Because I am definitely not the only woman in Holland who has neglected her legs and feet over the last few months, I have a few tips here on how to get them glowing again…
Away with hard skin
Make the hard skin on your feet soft by having a foot bath with oil added. If you don’t have the time for that ( I know I don’t ) then apply a thick layer of vaseline, lanette cream, shea butter or jojoba oil onto the hard skin. Preferably when the skin on your feet is still damp. When the hard skin becomes softer, it is easier to remove with a pumice stone or a special file. After filing you can treat your feet with a mild scrub, allowing fresh feet to re- emerge from under the layer of dead skin. Daily application of an Exfoliant onto the areas of dry skin is better still. A product with a sufficiently high concentration Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, or a Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) such as Lactobionic Acid does wonders. You can apply a more oily cream or cream with a high concentration of urea onto your feet at night. If your hard skin still doesn’t go away it may be that you are suffering from a fungal infection. Your Doctor can prescribe an anti-fungal cream for you.
Because the skin on your legs has relatively few sebaceous glands, they are often very dry. Water dries your skin out super fast: if you are having a bath then always add bath oil and wash your legs with a soap which produces hardly any foam. As well as this, make it your daily routine to apply an un-perfumed more oily cream onto your legs. Such a product doesn’t have to cost very much, as higher concentrations of active ingredients are never actually added to body products anyway. They mainly contain substances that keep the skin hydrated and restore the skin barrier. If, despite this, you still have flaky skin, then apply the exfoliant, which you use on your face, onto your legs. It works really well! You could also use a mild scrub, but make sure you grease up your legs straight afterwards.
Many women suffer from unsightly veins on their legs/ankles. You can do something about that too. Visible veins such as these are easy to treat with the help of lasers. You need to have a little patience as it takes around 6 weeks before the veins are removed. As a rule, more treatments are necessary. If you have a number of veins on your legs, it could be that you have varicose veins. This is easy to find out with the help of an echo scan. Always go to a reputable clinic, they can find out the underlying problem and so limit the chances of unpleasant complications.
I like to have my legs waxed in the summer, it saves a lot of hassle. If you prefer to shave your legs with a shaver or razor I still have a few tips for you. To make the hair removal easier, the hair needs to be in contact with water for a minimum of 2 minutes. It will help then if you have a shower or bath first.
• Sebum, dirt and dead skin flakes which build up around the hair follicles, cause the hairs to lie diagonally so that the razor glides less easily over the location of the hair. This can be avoided by washing the legs with a mild soap before shaving. An even better idea is to exfoliate regularly. Furthermore, using an exfoliant prevents ingrowing hairs.
• A good shaving product consists of surfactants, water and polymers. These will make the hairs softer and the razor will glide smoothly over the skin. To avoid irritation it is better to use an un-perfumed product. If you do have sensitive skin then it may be wise to use a mild wash off facial Cleanser, with added oil, instead of shaving foam. A conditioner (yes, the product that you use on your hair, to make it easy to comb through…) also works well. A product which foams a lot can actually irritate your skin.
• Directly after shaving apply a good cream.
You may prefer to have your leg hair removed with a laser. Keep in mind though that this route takes weeks and you always need more treatments. Probably better to do this in the autumn. The paler the skin and the darker the hairs the greater the chance is of success!
A file, nail clippers and varnish can make all the difference, unless your toe nails are full of dents, grooves, bumps and discolouring. If your nails have crumbling edges then there is a good chance that you have a problem with calcium or fungus. The Doctor may prescribe Terbinafine or Itraconazole. If your nails break easily, Biotine (Vitamin B complex) will make your nails stronger again.
Away with those white legs
Yes I know: My entire blog is full of the damaging effects of the sun, but I’m still not happy about my white legs under that summer dress! Seeing as the sun bed or sunbathing is a “no go” for me, I use a self tanner. It is so difficult to find good un-perfumed self tanners, so if you know of any then please let me know! And in the meantime, I’m busy trying to develop a good self tanner myself… I’ll keep you updated!
(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can also read the blogs:
‘Help with Choosing an Exfoliant’,
‘Body Care and What You Should Know!’,
‘Dehydrated Skin (and Hydrating Substances)’,
‘Self Confidence through the Sun (and Skin Cancer)’,
‘Protect Yourself from the Sun, Apply Properly!’ and