Many people sport unsightly spots on their feet. These spots can range in color from yellow and pink, to brown and red. If the skin is rough, raised or inflamed they can be uncomfortable, too. The first step towards ridding oneself of the spots is to find their underlying cause. The patches may be harmless; the possible result of layers of dead skin built up from walking too long in uncomfortable shoes, but they could be indicative of a more serious medical condition.
First Stop: the Doctor
Dark spots on the feet can indicate a range of conditions from internal bleeding, to diabetes or the onset of athletes’ foot. Plantar warts, noncancerous growths on the skin, appear as brown spots. Many older people sport yellowish-brown or “liver” spots on the upper foot, the result of overexposure to the sun or even hormonal changes. Whatever your symptoms, it is important to find out what is going on. When the doctor has cleared you of all serious illness, you are ready to explore the various cosmetic treatments available for discolored skin. However, scars on the skin should not be tampered with. These will fade away in time and tampering will only make them worse. Conditions that respond best to treatment are areas of discolored hard skin and patches of hyperpigmented skin or liver spots.
The Hard Treatment
Do not try to rid your feet of hard skin in one treatment. Remember that it built up over time and must go that way, too. The hard skin may be “dead” but there is living tissue and blood vessels underneath so do the treatments easily and gently. Every day for at least ten days, soak your feet in warm water for ten minutes. If you take a daily bath, you are halfway there. Next, take a piece of pumice stone or foot sponge and rub gently away at patches of hard, dead skin. When you have dried your feet, massage them with a good foot lotion. You can buy all these items at any drugstore. Over time, the dark patches will soften and lighten. Repeat the treatment at least one a week to keep feet soft.
The Spot Treatment
Experts believe that the acid in fruit juices like orange and lime are able to break down melanin, the dark stuff that pigments skin. Whatever the explanation, fruit juice is an age-old cure for pigment spots. One popular treatment is a paste made from oatmeal and lime juice rubbed on the afflicted areas and left for ten minutes. After only three of these treatments, the skin shows results. While undergoing this treatment, cease all exposure to the sun. If you must go barefoot on the beach, keep the upper part of your feet well covered in a good sunscreen.
Best Foot Forward
At the end of the day, prevention is better than cure. Comfortable, well-fitting shoes play a huge role in keeping feet free from hard and darkened patches of skin.