Most of us have experienced the phenomenon of stinky feet at some time of the other, either personally or with an acquaintance. Contrary to what many people believe, foot odor is not always a result of poor sanitation. Even the most hygienic, sweet-smelling people can sometimes clear out the room when they take off their feet. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent foot odor by following a few simple steps.
What Causes Bad Foot Odor?
At times, your feet may have a stronger scent as compared to the rest of you. It is quite natural to notice an unpleasant smell emanating from your feet if you’ve worn your shoes for several hours.
- Bacteria: Around 10% to 15% of the people, especially kids, endure foot odor because the micrococcus sedentarius bacteria are present in their shoes. These microorganisms get attracted to the moist environment of sweaty socks and shoes. They produce organic acids as well as sulfuric compounds, which smell like eggs and cause the feet to stink.
- Fungal infection: The presence of fungi on the feet lead to not only smelly feet, but also scaling and peeling skin between the toes. This is a common condition known as Tinea Pedis or Athlete’s Foot, which can spread from one person to the other, through damp environments.
- Hyperhidrosis: Certain factors could cause the sweat glands in your feet to work overtime, thereby resulting in a smelly situation. Hyperhidrosis is a condition that is characterized by an abnormal increase of perspiration. It can occur due to factors like use of specific medicines, overactive thyroid glands, menopause and low blood sugar, to name a few.
While the causes of smelly feet are not life-threatening, it is best to get this problem checked and treated by a doctor.
Natural Ways To Prevent Bad Odor From Feet
There are several simple self-care steps and home remedies that can help reduce the unpleasant, not to mention embarrassing, smell from your feet. Given below are a few tips on how to prevent bad odor from feet –
- Washing thoroughly: Just running some soap and water on your feet is not going to keep the odor away. You need to get rid of the bacteria as well as the dead skin cells on your feet. While washing your feet, use a brush, washcloth or scraper to exfoliate the surface of your feet. Make sure that you scrub the area between your toes too.
- Drying the feet: Any kind of moisture is ideal breeding ground for bacteria, be it water or sweat. Make sure that you keep drying your feet with a clean cloth at regular intervals. Don’t forget to dry the area between your toes.
- Sanitizing: Most of us use a sanitizer on our palms and hands to get rid of any germs. Strange though this may sound, you could also inhibit bacterial growth by rubbing a few drops of sanitizer on the feet.
- Using a deodorant: All of us apply some deodorant or antiperspirant under the armpits to make them smell good. You could apply the same substance to your feet, to reduce the bad odor.
- Letting your feet breathe: Closed shoes cause your feet to produce more sweat, which could worsen the odor. Open shoes allow the sweat to evaporate faster, thereby reducing the smell. You should also let your shoes breathe, by airing them out regularly. Avoid wearing the same shoe two days in a row.
- Relax: Stress and anxiety increase the production of sweat all over the body, including the feet. Practice some stress relieving techniques, like yoga, meditation and massage therapy.
While these techniques are quite safe if practiced correctly, it is best to check with a doctor before trying any of them. In case the problem of foot odor does not decrease in spite of trying these home remedies, it is best to check with a doctor.