Smelly feet, medically termed 'Bromhidrosis', is an embarrassing problem, especially in a social setting.Smelly feet are a main source of shame for many people throughout the world. The main cause is sweaty feet combined with wearing the same shoes every day. Learn how to treat your feet with respect and cure those smelly sweaty feet.
Why our feet sweat?
There are more sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in the body.
Anyone can get sweaty feet, regardless of the temperature or time of year. But teenagers and pregnant women are especially prone because their hormonal ups-and-downs make them sweat more.
You’re also more prone to foot perspiration if you’re on your feet all day, if you’re under a lot of stress or you have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which makes you sweat more than usual. Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, can also lead to bad foot odour.
According to chiropodist and spokeswoman for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Lorraine Jones, feet become smelly if sweat soaks into shoes and they don't dry before you wear them again.
Bacteria on the skin breaks down sweat as it comes from the pores. A cheesy odour is released as the sweat decomposes.
“Your feet sweat into your shoes all day so they get damp and bacteria starts to grow. The bacteria continue to breed once you’ve taken your shoes off, especially if you put them in a dark cupboard. Then, when you put your shoes back on the next day, even if you’ve just had a shower, putting your feet into still damp shoes creates the perfect conditions for the bacteria to thrive – warm, dark and moist.
How To Prevent smelly feet
According to Jones, keeping feet fresh and sweet-smelling is all down to good personal hygiene and changing your shoes regularly.
“The key is never to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row," Jones says. "Instead, wear different shoes on successive days so they have a minimum of 24 hours to dry out. And make sure teenage boys have two pairs of trainers so that they don’t have to wear the same pair for two or more consecutive days!”
Jones says that it’s also important to wash and dry your feet every day and to change your socks (ideally wool or cotton, not nylon) at least once a day.
If you’re particularly susceptible to sweaty feet, Jones suggests that you could also:
- dab between your toes with cotton wool dipped in surgical spirit after a shower or bath.Surgical spirit is antiseptic, astringent and dehydrating so it helps dry out the skin between the toes really well, in addition to drying with a towel
- use a spray deodorant or antiperspirant on your feet. A normal underarm deodorant or antiperspirant works just as well as a specialist foot product and will cost you less
- put medicated insoles, which have a deodorising effect, in your shoes
- try feet-fresh socks. Some sports socks have ventilation panels to keep feet dry, and antibacterial socks are impregnated with chemicals to discourage the odour-producing bacteria that feed on sweat
- wear leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike plastic ones
- wear open-toes sandals in summer and go barefoot at home in the evenings
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