We've all been there: Sitting down at the table and suddenly you get a weird whiff and realize that there's an unsettling odor coming from down below. No not, I'm not talking your lady parts (although there are ways to know if your vagina smells healthy). No, not that: We're talking about what to do if you have smelly feet. Summer's skyrocketing temperatures almost ensure that you're sweating more everywhere, including your feet. Extra sweat means extra odor, and unfortunately, you're gonna have to find a few ways to get rid of that stinky foot smell if it's really bothering you.
"Naturally we all sweat," Dr. Rebecca Pruthi, a New York City podiatrist tells me. "Under normal conditions when it's hot out, if you have shoes on for an extended period of time, your feet aren't breathing and sweating is a normal bodily function. That odor, under normal circumstances, it's not something that you should be concerned about."
However, there are times when that odor can linger a little longer than a steamy summer day. If you have an infection, for instance, that can lead to an unpleasant lingering odor. In that cause, Dr. Pruthi suggests patients get in to see a doctor quickly, especially if they have additional medical issues such as diabetes, as the infection could be more serious.
However, if you just have run-of-the-mill smelly feet, here are some ways to mask the unpleasant scent of sweaty tootsies.
1. Load On The Foot Deodorant
And no, not your dad's SpeedStick. Instead, opt for an aerosol spray variety with antiperspirant.
"The antiperspirant will actually stop the sweating before it starts, which can help you avoid odor altogether," Dr. Pruthi says. (Axe Dry Action Deodorant Anti-perspirant, $5.53, Amazon.com)
2. Break Out The Black Tea
While drinking it can be delicious, you're going to need more than just one tea bag to get the full effects of this scent-stopping method. The high levels of tannins, or tannic acid, in the tea, creats an unfriendly environment for the foot bacteria.
"Over time, this can actually help reduce sweating in the feet as well and reduce size of the pours," Dr. Pruthi says. (Royal Tea Black Organic 100 Bags, $8.98, Amazon.com)
3. Get A Prescription
Similar to the aerosol deodorant spray, there are prescriptions that can treat foot odor. Pruthi only suggests looking into these in highly offensive cases, in which patients may need additional treatment or even surgery to treat overactive sweat glands.
4. Make It Better With Baking Soda
Hello, foot's best friend. Adding baking soda to your beauty regimen can do wonders for your skin, hair, and nails, but it can also help with your stinky feet sitch. Plus, it will help soften your feet. Simply combine 1/4-cup baking soda with eight cups warm water and your favorite aromatic. My pick? A few drops of lavender oil. (Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, $7.49, Amazon.com)
5. Fancy The Right Footwear
What you wear on your feet can also have a heavy hand in the scent you are greeted with at day's end.
"Don't wear 100 percent cotton socks," cautions Pruthi. "When the cotton gets wet, it stays wet, and you wind up creating more moisture. Try a cotton acrylic or synthetic blend. The synthetic part allows the moisture to whick away."
As for your shoes, those made of natural materials that breathe will be best.
"If you're wearing a vinyl shoe, your feet can't breathe," says Pruthi. "Also make sure to change your shoes. If you're wearing the same shoes every day, that's not a good thing either." (Hue Women's Fairisle Cable Quilt 3 Pack Boot Sock, $21, Amazon.com)