What's lurking in your UGGs?
UGG boots and other sheepskin footwear are comfy and warm, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria.
According to Manhattan podiatrist Dr. Oliver Zong, "fungus breeds in dark, wet environments -- conditions that are usually seen inside of trendy sheepskin boots." Foot fungus produces dry, itchy skin and can turn toenails thick and yellow.
Dr. Zong explains, "It's hard to get rid of a fungal infection once it has spread to your nails. For foot fungus there are over the counter treatments, but if you have a nail fungus make an appointment with your podiatrist for an oral prescription."
Get fungus-free feet
- Keep your feet dry and clean.
- Apply a topical anti-fungal medication on any cracking or peeling areas of the skin.
- Wear socks that are made of an acrylic fiber, not cotton (acrylic wicks moisture away from the feet), and change your socks at least once a day.
- Cover your feet with antiperspirant. The active ingredient, aluminum hydroxide, keeps your feet from sweating.
- Don't wear the same shoes every day. Shoes need about 24 hours to completely dry out from the last time they were worn.
Sheepskin boots can also leave your feet smelly and sweaty.
Dr. Zong says "The first step to take in preventing foot odor is to keep your feet dry and sweat free. This is especially difficult in the winter because most people wear extra clothing like heavy socks, panty hose and boots to provide extra warmth and heat, which promotes sweating and odor. It's important to try to keep feet dry because aside from odor, sweaty feet can also cause athletes foot."
Eliminate foot odor
There are several steps one can take with simple at home remedies to help relieve foot odor:
Put powder in your socks and make sure you wear clean cotton socks. Dr. Zong says, "Stay away from socks that contain nylon and polyester. These materials do not allow feet to breather properly, thus promoting sweat and odor."
Tea is also a great home remedy for relieving foot odor. "I recommend to patients to emerge three to five bags of your favorite tea into a quart and a half of water. Bring the water to a boil. When the tea is steeping rapidly turn down the flame and add two cups of cool water to lower temperature. Now transfer the water into a more suited dish for your feet and begin soaking," says Dr, Zong. "Tannin, active ingredient in tea, works wonders to dry skin and alleviate odor. Tea is an antioxidant that will help to revitalize feet, thus leaving feet feeling fresh and smelling great."
Use an antiperspirant to reduce foot odor, specifically brands that offer roll-on or spray antiperspirant are easiest to use on feet.
"If the sweating and odor persist I recommend seeing a podiatrist and getting a prescription antiperspirant, like Drysol," says Dr. Zong.