July 8, 2002 -- Most people do not pay much attention to their feet until the summer, when open-toed sandals and slip-on mules suddenly thrust every callus, blister and untamed toenail into the spotlight.
To keep their feet looking attractive in summer sandals, celebrities and other spa-goers are spending as much as $225 for 90-minute "foot facials," a procedure that used to be reserved to the face.
Dr. Suzanne Levine, a podiatric surgeon at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, appeared on Good Morning America to demonstrate foot facials, and to explain how you can try some portions of the foot facial at home — specifically the exfoliation, and toenail bleaching portions — at a fraction of the cost.
In order to avoid one common foot problem — blisters — make sure your shoes fit properly, Levine said. It is best to try shoes on mid-afternoon at about 3 p.m. when feet are slightly swollen.
The Foot Facial
Step 1: Exfoliation
Exfoliation is used to remove calluses. First you would massage a special paste (see at-home recipe below) onto your foot. Leave on for 10 minutes. Then wash off and use a pumice stone to rub the callused area. Apply glycolic pad (use brands such as Stridex, which contain 20 percent to 30 percent glycolic acid) and leave on for a few minutes.
At-Home Method to Make Paste
• 1/2 cup kosher salt (very coarse) • 1 tablespoon Epsom salt • 1 tablespoon Tea tree oil • 2 tablespoons mineral oil • 1 tablespoon sodium bicarbonate
Store the mixture in a Tupperware container
Pumice stone and glycolic pads (i.e. Stridex) can be found in any store
Step 2: Microdermbrasion
At the spa, the second step would be to use microdermbrasion (a sandblasting machine that is used to blast off hard skin), which is also done in facials.
Step 3: Moisturize
This step, which you can do at home, is moisturizing the feet. (Copper-based cream promotes the growth of collagen, which fills in fissures in the skin, Levine says.)
Step 4: Foot Mask
This step involves applying a foot mask that you can apply and wash off after 5 minutes.
Step 5: Reflexology (optional)
This is a type of massage that is used to relax the foot.
Nail whitening: This procedure is similar to teeth-whitening, and involves bleaching and filing the toenails. It normally costs $75 at the salon. Salons use sodium hypo chloride, which is similar to Clorox bleach
At-Home Method: Mix one cap of bleach with one cup of water. Brush on to your nails with a toothbrush
Botox: It is normally associated with the face, but on the feet, botox is not used for wrinkles, but to combat odor and hyperhydrosis (severe foot sweat condition). Many men opt for this treatment. The results last up to a year, and do not hurt the feet.
Laser Procedures: Laser procedures are used to remove scars and marks, and to treat unsightly veins.
More information on these foot procedures can be found at www.institutebeaute.com