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Putting your best foot forward

From four-mile runs to four-inch stilettos, pounding the pavement every day can wreak havoc on your feet.

Foot fads have come and gone over the years (Anyone remember the PedEgg?). We scoured the latest and greatest as well as tried-and-true methods (so you don’t have to!) for the top five remedies to ease all your foot woes and keep those tootsies in tip-top shape.

The latest obsession is the Baby Foot Peel. You may have heard or read about this foot treatment with a cult following. It’s been described in various beauty articles as both “gross” and “intensely satisfying.”

It’s a chemical peel for your feet that comes in the form of gel-lined booties. Although this Japanese treatment has been around since the late ’90s, it has recently gone viral. Users have been simultaneously amazed and horrified by the strips of dead skin that peel off their feet after use, revealing much softer skin underneath.

Here’s how it works: After soaking your feet, you wear the booties for an hour, letting the natural extracts and fruit acids soak in. About one to two weeks later, many report that the dead skin starts peeling off in sheets, revealing softer, smoother, “baby-like” feet.

How does this peel produce such dramatic and intense outcomes? The 17 plant extracts in the peel are rich in alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, and citric acid. These acids work to penetrate the many layers of dead skin on the feet, breaking up the cells and allowing them to peel away. This is the treatment for you if you’re looking to shed the dead to make way for the new.

Regularly exfoliating and applying moisturizing foot cream can help treat and prevent flaky, itchy, dry feet. Many experts recommend first soaking your feet in warm water to soften the skin, then using an exfoliating scrub to gently remove dead skin.

To treat dry, rough, or cracked heels, follow up with a moisturizer such as Gold Bond Triple-Action Foot Cream or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Foot Magic with vitamin E, peppermint oil, and mango butter.

Nothing beats a good old fashioned pumice stone to remove dry, dead skin and calluses. This lightweight piece of volcanic rock has a rough, porous texture that is perfect for sloughing off dead skin. Use it in the shower or after a bath a few times a week, rubbing the rougher areas of the feet to exfoliate. Follow up with moisturizer to seal the deal.

Think a mask for your feet! These fuzzy socks have lotion built in to ensure a mega dose of moisture. Some are infused with aloe and a plethora of vitamins and nutrients that soak into feet overnight so that you’ll have softer, hydrated skin in the morning.

If you’re looking for something even quicker to sooth sore, tired soles, try a one-time use “foot mask” like this one from Sephora, which contains lavender and almond extract to target dry feet. Simply leave this disposable pair of socks on for 20 minutes to feel its effects.

If you want a fancy but quicker at-home treatment, consider the Amopé Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry Electronic Foot File. This rechargeable gadget will help to buff away dead skin, thanks to its spinning roller head. It will smooth out cracked soles and peeling skin. As a bonus, this device can be used in the shower or out, so you can give your feet some TLC any time, anywhere.

See your doctor if you’re experiencing seriously inflamed, itchy skin on the soles of your feet. The following conditions can also cause peeling feet:

Your doctor can recommend a prescription treatment if at-home options aren’t working for you.

Experiment with different home remedies for peeling feet to find out what best works for you. If you’re not up for buying any gadgets at the moment, never underestimate how great a pedicure can make your feet feel!