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How To Treat Sweaty, Smelly Feet

Two dermatologists share why your feet are so gross during the summer and what you can do about it.

Summer often means sweaty feet and stinky feet. Sorry, but ’tis true.

With all the miles you’re going to put on this summer – mowing the lawn, playing freeze tag, chasing sugar-high toddlers around the house – your feet are going to get a workout. And, being feet, that means they’re going to sweat and smell, potentially embarrassing their owners in shoeless social situations and making the bathroom situation 20 percent worse.

The key to fighting sweaty feet (an estimated 7.8 million Americans suffer from hyperhidrosis, a.k.a. excessive sweating), having an arsenal of effective products. Think of Drs. Kristina and Gary Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology as the managers of that arsenal — as arms dealers for feet.

“Feet contain large amounts of special sweat glands called ‘eccrine’ glands,” the Drs. Goldenberg explain. “These glands are important for thermoregulation – they produce sweat not in reaction to heat, but rather to local tactile stimulation or emotional stress.”

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See more: Best Men’s Sandals

When your glands work overtime, you become susceptible to hyperhidrosis which, according to Drs. Goldenberg “is defined as excessive sweating of the skin, a condition that occurs all year round, but may worsen in the summer.” Are there ways to avoid sweaty feet altogether? Other than surgery, not really, but the Goldenbergs do have some unexpectedly work-centric suggestions. Drinking too much coffee, they point out, can stimulate eccrine glands. And stress can put workers at risk for a smelly fungal infection known as Tinea Pedis. (A less office-applicable tip: Keep feet dry by reaching for a towel whenever in doubt.)

But whatever sweaty foot-havers do to fight the funk, they will still end up wandering drug stores in a state of borderline desperation. Here’s what the smart ones will buy.

Name one thing that feels better than soaking your nasty, sweaty feet in cool, soothing tea tree-infused water.

This foot soak can help with odor, sure, but it also softens calluses and revives tired feet with its blend of eucalyptus, peppermint, camphor, rosemary and lavender.

Each box of Kleinert’s Dry Feet Antiperspirant Wipes carries an 8-weeks supply of sealed foot wipes, that offer soothing Aloe and Vitamin E treatment via the enlarged pads.

Drs. Goldenberg confirm that “this product contains 15% aluminum chloride, which is a known, effective antiperspirant.” They do caution, however, that the aloe and vitamin E may moisten the skin instead of making it dry, so avoid overuse.

No, this spray powder doesn’t permanently decrease the amount of sweat produced, but it will provide relief and comfort as sweat begins to form.

“The main ingredient that works against hyperhidrosis in this product is talc,” say Drs. Goldenberg. “Gold Bond Foot Powder Spray keeps your skin dry by absorbing moisture and perspiration,” they add.

This antiperspirant foot lotion was specifically designed to stop sweaty, smelly feet and help you deal with excessive foot sweat.

Just use a pea-sized amount of Carpe lotion daily to cut down on foot sweat. It’s non-greasy, non-irritating, and it dries fast.

These genius inserts help prevent the growth of bacteria by absorbing sweat and shutting down odors from damp, smelly feet.

“Charcoal does absorb sweat and moisture,” say Drs. Goldenberg. “But, again, these inserts would not decrease the amount of sweat produced over time.” Luckily, Emerge Therapeutics Charcoal Shoe Inserts are a relatively cheap and quick fix that you can use on the go.

Yes, folks, this roll-on antiperspirant for your feet stops sweat and foot stench.

“This product contains 22.5% aluminum cholride, which is a known and effective antiperspirant, espcially in this high concentration,” say Drs. Goldenberg. One stick of Neat Feet should be enough to last you at least a month, and both doctors “would expect the regular use of this product to decrease sweat production and keep the skin dry.”

The secret sauce in this spray powder is zinoxol, which helps eliminate foot odors.

According to Drs. Goldenberg, “the main ingredient that works for hyperhidrosis in this product is starch.” Dr. Scholl’s Odor Max will keep the skin dry by absorbing moisture and perspiration, though it won’t stop sweating permanently. The three pack with 3X Triple Action protection should be enough to keep you dry all summer.

Spoiler alert: Your shoes are full of gross germs. Zap them with this spray, which is effective against bacteria, mold, mildew, and other disgusting micro-organisms.

“This product contains phenyphenol, which is known to kill bacteria and fungi on contact,” say Drs. Goldenberg. “10 Seconds Shoe Deodorizer also contains a high concentration of ethanol, which would dry the skin and potentially keep it dry.” And it’s the only EPA-approved shoe disinfectant on the market.

If you don't want to use a roll-on, try this spray, which deodorizes and keeps feet and shoes fresh.

This spray, which has no harsh chemicals, is made from the essential oils of cedarwood, rosemary, and tea tree to keep your dogs fresh and smelling sweet(ish).

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