One of the best parts of a spa pedicure is the foot treatment. Sure, we love freshly lacquered toes. But the feeling of soft, supple tootsies is pretty hard to beat.
Of course, there are many ways to add treatments to your routine at the salon, but what about DIY remedies? We asked the experts—board-certified dermatologists Rina Allawh, MD, FAAD, and Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD—to share recipes that can help you replicate a spa pedi at home without compromising the health of your skin. Read on for what they shared with us.
Meet the Expert
- Rina Allawh, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
- Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist at The Dermatology and Laser Group.
For Dry, Irritated Skin: Hydrating Egg, Banana, Milk, Honey, and Olive Oil Foot Mask
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 mashed banana
- 3-4 tablespoons of milk
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
"At-home foot masks may be helpful," Allawh tells us, but she emphasizes avoiding irritating ingredients. This mask includes a gentle chemical exfoliator, lactic acid, via milk. "Lactic acid is a gentle acid derived from milk with added humectant properties," she shares. "It's an effective skin exfoliant that hydrates skin [and] is ideal for dry, sensitive skin.
Allawh says to whip this mix into a homogenous texture. Then you're ready for some TLC. "Apply a thin layer to the feet and leave it on for 40 minutes," she advises. "Then wash off with a gentle cleanser such as the CeraVe's Hydrating Cleanser ($15)." Because this mask is full of hydrating yet slick ingredients, this is a mask you'll want to use right after soaking your feet, so your skin can absorb all the goodness. And just like you experience at the nail salon, use a warm towel to remove the mixture.
For Dry Skin: Lemon Juice, Turmeric, and Coffee Ground Peel
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of coffee grounds
"If you want to exfoliate dead skin, I recommend adding natural skin exfoliants," says Allawh. And this recipe is super simple. "Natural skin exfoliants that you can add in small amounts are turmeric and coffee grounds," she continues. "Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties." To mix these ingredients, start as you would in baking by pouring your dry ingredients into a bowl—the turmeric and coffee grounds—then add your lemon juice and mix until the texture is to your liking. Before slathering on this peel, soak your feet in warm water for up to 10 minutes to soften dead skin.
For Moisture and Exfoliation: Sugar, Olive Oil, Honey, and Lavender Scrub
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/8 cup of honey
- 3-5 drops of lavender essential oils
"At-home ingredients such as granulated sugar or Epsom salt can make a great DIY foot exfoliant," Akhavan shares. "These can be mixed with olive oil, honey, or essential oils to make your own scrub," As with the recipe above, start your scrub mix with your dry ingredients (the sugar). Then fold in your honey, olive oil, and essential oils. Before using this simple, hydrating scrub, soak your feet in warm for up to 10 minutes.
What to Consider When Making a Foot Mask
- Avoid harsh exfoliants: Allawh advises avoiding harsh exfoliating ingredients, such as certain crushed nuts and baking soda. "[They] may, in fact, create small cuts within the skin, negatively altering or disrupting the healthy pH level," she says. "Even though the skin on the palms and soles are very thick, the soles of our feet are very sensitive."
- Steer clear of drying ingredients: Akhavan says to avoid alcohol as it can be drying. Instead, opt for ingredients such as glycerin, ceramides, vitamin E, lavender oil, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil. These "help seal in moisture while also removing dead skin when mixed with a physical exfoliator to help smooth out the rough texture that many may experience on their feet," he says.
- Skip the harsher chemical exfoliants: One more piece of advice: Stay away from the harsher chemical exfoliants or acids to avoid burning or irritation when exfoliating your feet. It may be tempting to recreate those dead skin-lifting peels floating around on the internet, but they can do more harm than good. "Chemical exfoliants such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and enzymes may be too harsh on the skin" on your feet, Akhavan says.