The best foot cream
The thickest skin on your body is located on your feet, and that skin is prone to cracking, drying, calluses, and fungal infections. If you've ever tried applying a regular lotion to your feet, you may have noticed it just doesn't cut it. Foot creams are designed for the feet and are typically thicker than regular lotions. Plus, there are foot creams formulated to target circulation issues, pain, and common fungal infections like athlete's foot.
If you have any of these issues, or are simply looking to pamper your feet, read this shopping guide on foot creams. We've also included our top recommendations at the end of this article, like the Real Time Pain Relief Foot Cream, which helps alleviate inflammation and nerve-related pain.
Considerations when choosing foot creams
There are several different categories of foot creams targeting specific conditions. Consider your primary reason for using a foot cream and select an appropriate formula.
Soften and repair: This is the most popular reason people use a foot cream: to soften dry hard skin. A foot cream that's highly moisturizing will help soften calluses formed from dry skin and repair itchy cracked skin caused by dryness.
Protective: All foot creams moisturize, but some also create a protective barrier to keep moisture locked in. Look for a foot cream containing the ingredient paraffin.
Antifungal: Feet that are exposed to locker rooms or communal showers can easily pick up athlete's foot, a common fungal infection that thrives in warm moist environments. While there are plenty of sprays and creams to treat the condition directly, regularly applying a foot cream containing chemicals or natural tea tree oil may help clear it up.
Pain relief: People experience foot pain for a variety of reasons. Some foot creams contain ingredients, like menthol, to temporarily relieve pain. Select a cream that's formulated to treat the type of pain or inflammation you're dealing with, and it's always a good idea to check with your doctor.
Aids circulation: If you have poor circulation due to diabetes or other conditions, there are medicated foot creams that contain L-arginine, an amino acid that has been shown to increase blood flow by as much as 35%.
Non-greasy: Because foot creams are thick, they don't always absorb quickly. Look for a non-greasy formula that won't leave a residue on the skin and will also penetrate the skin for fast-acting treatment.
Scented: Foot creams tend to carry strong scents to mask bad foot odor. If you have a sensitive nose, opt for a cream containing essential oils, like peppermint oil, instead of chemical fragrances. Medicated foot creams often carry a strong medicinal smell, so keep that in mind when making a purchase.
Organic: An increasing amount of beauty products contain organic and natural ingredients. For a "green" less-toxic foot cream, select one that contains organic plant-based ingredients. Tea tree oil is a popular natural alternative that provides powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Foot cream prices
Foot creams come in tubes or tubs, which offer quantities of just a few ounces to double-digit ounces. Expect to pay between $1 for a tube to upward of $6 per ounce.
Q. Should I exfoliate before using a foot cream?
A. Foot creams will penetrate your skin easier if you exfoliate your feet first. This is because the dead skin cells on your feet build up and prevent the moisturizing elements of a foot cream from penetrating your skin. Exfoliating first will remove this buildup and allow your foot cream to be much more effective.
Q. Can I use my foot cream on other parts of my body?
A. We'd like to dissuade you from using foot creams on your face because some ingredients, like menthol and peppermint, can be irritating to the delicate skin there. Never apply a medicated foot cream to other parts of your body. If you have cracked elbows or knees, a repairing foot cream may help those areas.
Foot creams we recommend
Best of the best: Real Time Pain Relief Foot Cream
Our take: A pain-relieving foot cream containing menthol and natural ingredients.
What we like: Reduces inflammation and nerve-related pain. Moisturizing for dry feet. Contains eucalyptus, tea tree oil, aloe vera, and other natural ingredients.
What we dislike: Pain relief may only last a few hours.
Best bang for your buck: O'Keeffe's Healthy Feet Cream
Our take: A popular foot cream with a cult following for extremely dry feet.
What we like: Fast absorption and non-greasy. Heals severely cracked feet. Impressive results.
What we dislike: Balm-like texture isn't for everyone.
Choice 3: AmLactin Foot Repair Therapy
Our take: Two-in-one foot cream that exfoliates dead skin and moisturizes, too.
What we like: Contains alpha-hydroxy acids to slough off dead skin. Plumps and hydrates skin with humectants. Fragrance-free and non-greasy.
What we dislike: Lactic acid may cause skin irritation and increase sun sensitivity.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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