Ever thought to wonder why your skin peels in the winter? While skin dries out because of lack of hydration and fewer oils, opportunists looking for food, have also come on board. These are opportunists are called dermatophytes. Dermatophytes eat dead skin (keratin to be exact) and winter is when we provide them with a bountiful crop of dead skin. Couple that with some sweat and dampness in our winter boots and fuzzy socks, and we create a wonderful environment for these fungi to grow. While your dermatophyte load may not flourish into full-blown tinea pedis, the chafed skin, cracked heels and closer inspection of the skin on the foot are often dead giveaways that the dermatophytes are affecting the integrity of the skin. This can be painful at the very least and at the worst can be an avoidable opportunity for infection.
Don’t fear. It is easy enough to address and prevent adverse outcomes with a little FootCare by Nurses knowhow.
- Keep your feet dry. – Wear wicking socks (merino wool works wonders)
- Keep your skin well oiled (oils like coconut and olive oil – think – if you would eat it then it’s probably good for your skin too). Oiled skin is good skin care. Use lotions with caution because they can cake or seal moisture in (read our blog about vaseline and petroleum products like mineral oil)
- Let your boots and shoes air out, give them a chance to dry. Change your shoe regularly. Fungi love moist places to live.
- Using vinegar (we recommend apple cider vinegar) as a foot soak, changes the pH of your skin. Inside and out, yeasts and fungi are sensitive to pH changes.
- This is about microbiology and enhancing the health of your skin, no matter what age you are. If you are not sure and need a little more instruction please reach out to us. We are happy to help and share our knowledge with you.
Thank you – Kate RN CFCN CFCS