Years of wear and tear can be hard on the skin of the feet, as it is the continuous point of contact between human mass and the earth’s surface. This part of the body is frequently neglected while small, progressive and imperceptive damage accumulates in its structure. The consumer typically does nothing about foot damage until there is evidence and a cosmetic, and in some cases medical, need.
Many dermatological diseases such as athlete’s foot occur because the feet spend long spans of time in a warm, dark and humid environment, i.e., the shoe, which is ideal for the formation of the fungus. Fungal and bacterial proliferation can cause dry skin, redness, blisters, itching and peeling to occur. While there are several foot diseases related to diabetes, including gout, poor blood circulation or improperly trimmed toenails, this column will focus on the development of foot care formulae designed for cosmetic treatments.
Skin of the Feet
The skin of the feet has a structure and function similar to skin in other body areas, with some important differences. The skin on the foot is thicker than on the rest of the body; as it adsorbs the stress and strain of an upright stance, the most external layer of the epidermis on the sole hardens early in life and may reach 5 mm in thickness, which is 20 times thicker than in most other areas on the body. With this type of heavily compressed structure, it is evident that the skin of the feet, specifically the sole, requires targeted products with higher concentrations of water binders in comparison to other cosmetics.