No one wants to have to deal with stinky feet every day. For those troubled by smelly feet, this question arises at some point: What exactly is causing my feet to smell?
While we have all suffered from foot perspiration and odor at some point in our lives, for some, sweaty and stinky feet can be a relentless problem that causes much discomfort. This condition can affect the daily lives of individuals, destroying social life, especially if it’s related to being at the gym, being outdoors in the heat of the summer, or in a situation where shoes must be removed, such as crowded airports.
A study that was conducted at the Skin and Care Foundation in Australia found that sweaty feet commonly come with an offensive odor, known as bromhidrosis. This condition usually begins in childhood or adolescence and can have a real negative impact on education, social development, and career choices.
However, for those who suffer from this problem, the good news is that with a daily hygiene routine, you can get rid of your stinky feet and any embarrassment that they may cause. Below are 6 things you can do at home that may bring you much relief.
Getting rid of foot odor could be as simple as following a daily foot hygiene routine.
It’s very important to wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. When you’re drying your feet after a shower or bath, dab between your toes with some cotton wool that has been dipped in apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. Sweaty feet can be treated with some antibacterial foot scrub, but avoid using scrubs if you have eczema or broken skin.
Keeping your toenails clean and trimmed will also help to prevent toenail fungus. Furthermore, it’s best to remove any hard skin with a foot file. When hard, skin becomes soggy from the dampness, it provides a great home for bacteria.
Once you’ve cleaned and dried your feet, you can apply powders such as baking soda or cornstarch as these can absorb extra moisture. Antifungal foot powders are great and they can even be made right at home with just a few ingredients. One such recipe can be seen below:
• 1 ½ tablespoons of bentonite clay
• ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
• 2 drops cinnamon essential oil
• 2 drops clove essential oil
• 2 drops frankincense essential oil
• A shaker bottle or glass jar
1. In a small bowl, combine the bentonite clay and cayenne powder.
2. Add the essential oils and blend well.
3. Place the concoction in your container.
You can apply this mixture twice a day for two weeks. You can even sleep with it on, but make sure you wear socks to prevent it from soiling your bed sheets.
You can try home remedies such as salt baths or apple cider vinegar or tea soaks. With proper hygiene and rotation of shoes, your foot odor should be eliminated.
For temporary relief, consider an apple cider vinegar bath using one part vinegar and two parts water to reduce the levels of bacteria that can cause odor.
In addition to this, tea soaks are also an effective home remedy. Simply add four to five tea bags to a quart of water. You can use regular or mint tea bags. Make the tea as you normally would, then allow it to cool before soaking your feet in it for 20 minutes a day.
Another option is a salt bath. To do this, pour half a cup of Epsom salt into four cups water and soak your feet in it for 10-15 minutes. Salt baths help to improve skin health and kill fungi, which is why they can help prevent skin disease and smelly feet.
Wearing different footwear each day can help you avoid shoe odor and smelly feet. Rotate two to three pairs of shoes so you can give them a chance to dry out before wearing them again. You should also consider well-fitting shoes made of leather, as they will allow your feet to breathe, and typically do not soak up as much sweat as cloth shoes. Wear open-toed sandals or flip-flops when possible as well.
Wearing cotton or wool socks that absorb moisture is also a great way to avoid smelly feet. These types of socks are much better than nylon. You could also consider buying some sport socks as these often have ventilating holes to keep your feet dry.
Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld, founder of the Institute for Integrative Podiatric Medicine, states that “for those patients who are willing to be more proactive, changes in lifestyle and diet can be very helpful in controlling foot odor. Diets high in refined carbohydrates will often serve as food for bacteria and fungus in the body, giving rise to discharge phenomenon. One such discharge is to expel these bacteria and fungus into the skin to slough off with dying skin cells.”
Dr. Kornfeld explains that when this bacteria gathers on the foot through perspiration and is then enclosed in a shoe, the odor can be unbearable. However, there are many things that can be done through our diet to reduce inflammation such as eliminating refined carbohydrates and balancing healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein by eating anti-inflammatory foods such as bok choy, green leafy vegetables, beets, broccoli, blueberries, and pineapple.
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