Feet odour can be very unpleasant and outright embarrassing. It happens when sweat mixes with bacteria from your skin. Sweat on it’s own is odourless. Feet odour mostly affects men and while some people will tell you it is okay for a man to have smelly feet, nothing could be further from the truth. Here are tips on how to keep your feet stink-free.

Wash your feet correctly: Scented feet must start with proper washing techniques. While washing your feet, make sure you scrub them well using an antibacterial soap and cloth to remove dead skin. Pay attention between the toes since that’s where most moisture collects. The bacteria that live on your feet multiply and start producing unpleasant smell when there is plenty of sweat.

Dry your feet: After you have washed them, now dry them thoroughly. Moisture, whether water or sweat, offers the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and we now know what happens when sweat and bacteria mix.

Make sure you invest in good socks and shoes: To prevent your feet from smelling, make sure you purchase socks and shoes made of breathable materials. Natural materials (cotton and wool) generally provide more ventilation and therefore may limit the growth of bacteria. Wear shoes that are made of materials like canvas and leather. While at home try and wear open shoes such as sandals as much as possible.

Wash and regulary change shoes and socks: You need to change your socks everyday to prevent the build up of moisture and dead skin. Sometimes you may be forced to change it twice if you are sweaty or if it’s extremely hot. It is also important to have at least two pairs of shoes so that you can keep exchanging them. At the same time, make sure you regularly change your insoles.

Use powder: You can use baby powder to absorb moisture from your feet. Powder helps to keep your feet dry. You can apply the powder on your feet or in your shoes or both. You could also apply antifungal powder available from pharmacies.

Keep your toenails short: Always make sure your toenails are short and clean and remove any hard skin with a foot file. Hard skin can become soggy when damp, which provides an ideal home for bacteria.

Wear open shoes: Wearing open shoes allows airflow around your feet, keeping them cool and preventing you from producing too much sweat.

Remove your shoes often: Whenever you can, take a break and remove your shoes and socks to give your feet breathing space. This helps your shoes and feet to stay dry.

Don’t wear shoes without socks: Wearing shoes without socks make your feet sweat faster and more. At the same time, it is advisable to wear shoes that fit you. When your shoes don’t fit properly, your feet could sweat more than usual. So always get fitted before purchasing shoes.

Change your diet: The foods and drinks you consume can contribute to body odour. If you have a problem with foot odour, it is likely that eliminating certain foods and drinks from your diet can reduce the problem. Some of the food and drinks thought to be contributing to foot odour include strong smelling spices, red meat and alcohol.

See a doctor: Smelly feet are a harmless problem that can clear up if you follow the tips given here. However, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Your doctor can offer you a prescription antiperspirant such as aluminum chloride hexahydrate that will reduce sweating, or a treatment regimen, for instance, to combat excessive sweating.

Published April 2016