Shed the Dead (Skin): Part One
When we were first dating, my husband said I worked the word exfoliation into almost every conversation. I was a new beauty editor at the time and obsessed with peels, scrubs, microdermabrasion, retinoids, derma-planing, you name it. Anything that cleared out clogs and sloughed off old skin. I believed it helped with breakouts, fine lines, sun spots, calluses, even just tired, hungover skin (this was my twenties, after all). And I still believe this—probably more so now that I’m nearly 46, and my skin cells aren’t turning over nearly as quickly or efficiently as they did twenty years ago. So, when I have a day off (rare; freelancing life means deadlines are always looming), I love nothing more than to do a head-to-toe deep exfoliation.
Thus, two weeks ago, when I had an unexpected Sunday afternoon free (my boys were gone to a lacrosse tournament ), I took advantage and went to work.
Note: I'm dividing my Sunday of sloughing into three posts. Today, I'll cover how I exfoliated my feet. Tomorrow, I'll move north.
I stripped dead skin from my soles That sounds painful. It wasn't. All the running I did this spring before the Shape Half Marathon did a number on my feet. They were callused and rough—especially around the tops of my toes, where my skin crashes against my shoe with each stride. So, I picked up a pair of Baby Foot Booties. These were all the rage when they first arrived in the U.S. from Japan about seven years ago. Or I thought they were the rage. Many of my Ann Arbor friends had never heard of them, so here’s the scoop, in case you missed the memo. Baby Foot booties are essentially large plastic socks coated on the inside with a medley of acids (lactic, glycolic, salicylic and more). You slip clean, dry feet into these socks, secure them with ties (provided) around your ankles, then sit tight for about an hour. This is a good time to catch up on emails, your latest Netflix obsession, or call your mom, as walking around in these booties is not advisable. They're slippery and sloshy. Once the hour is up, you remove the booties near a tub and rinse (really) well. Then you wait…and wait. For me, it took about four days for my skin to start peeling. And then whoa. You will feel like a molting snake. On day five post-bootie-wearing, I wore sandals out to dinner. When we left the restaurant, it looked like someone had shaved parmesan under the table. So gross. (And I’m so sorry to whoever at Real Seafood had to vacuum that up.)
But the peeling is also sooooo satisfying. You will shed like crazy for about a week (I wore socks at home to keep from molting all over the house). But once my skin stopped coming off like shredded coconut, my feet were incredibly soft—and my toes calluses were gone. The results really are pretty amazing.
My one caveat: Your feet will be so smooth and soft post-peeling that they can become vulnerable to blistering (rough skin does have an upside—it's protective). So walking around in a brand-new pair of strappy sandals all day is not advisable, unless you want the mother of all blisters. (I know, as this happened to me the first time I used Baby Foot.) So take it easy for a week or even two and wear only feet-friendly, broken-in shoes. After that, you should be safe to slip into out a sexy new pair—and show off your enviably-soft skin.