1666 Mound Street
Phone: (941) 365-5898
Fax: (941) 366-5728

Some Thoughts About Skin

Seven Steps to Stop Sweaty Feet

There are 250,000 sweat glands in each foot, producing half a pint of moisture per day. People with excess sweating, called hyperhidrosis, can sweat much more than that, leading to scaling, fungus infections, and overall sandal-unworthy feet.

If you have mild to moderate excess sweating:

  • Wash your feet every day with antibacterial soap, such as an antibacterial hand soap. Then dry them completely, including between the toes (you know you don’t).
  • Use a hairdryer on the cool setting to get your feet completely dry.
  • Apply a foot powder (powder is better than corn starch, which tends to absorb the moisture, leaving a wet paste on your skin). Try Lamisil AT defense with tolfnaftate, an antifungal, if you have a tendency to get athlete’s foot, or try Dr. Scholl’s Deodorant Foot Powder with Zinoxol (zinc oxide and baking soda) if you have smelly, sweaty feet.
  • Wear synthetic socks, instead of cotton (yes, you read it right. NOT cotton). Synthetic socks wick moisture away instead of trapping it like a sponge. Try Adidas’ Clima Cool socks.
  • Use a spray antiperspirant such as Gold Bond Maximum Strength Foot Spray. Your regular underarm antiperspirant will work as well, but the aluminum chloride concentration is much lower, so it is less effective.

If you have seriously sweaty feet or hyperhidrosis:

  • Call our office. We can prescribe a prescription-strength antiperspirant (Drysol ®). After one week of applying Drysol nightly, most patients have a significant reduction in foot sweating. It can, however, be irritating and some people cannot tolerate using it every day.
  • Botox®. Yup, Botox. When injected into your feet, it blocks the signal from the nerves that turn on your sweat glands, stopping sweating. The downside: getting stuck with little needles about a hundred times on the bottom of your feet. The upside: a marked reduction in sweating that lasts many months.

Will Drinking Water Moisturize Your Skin?

This is a popular myth, perpetuated by fitness and fashion magazines.

Only one study ever linked drinking water with skin hydration. That study used expensive mineral water, not plain bottled or tap water, and the study didn’t have any impact on your skin and no controlled study has ever shown that any type of drinking water has an effect on your skin.

From a physiologic perspective, drinking water could only have a negligible impact on your skin’s hydration. In fact, patients who have too much water in their tissues (edema) do not have healthy skin. For example, patients with venus insufficiency who have swollen, fluid filled legs have skin that is often dry, itchy, and scaly.

The amount of water in your skin after a 5 minute shower is magnitudes higher than you could achieve by trying to hydrate it from the inside out. The key is to apply a cream or ointment when your skin is still wet to seal in the moisture.

Then drink as little or as much water as you like.

Lotion or Cream?

When cool, dry air hits it makes many patients’ skin dry. Many tell me that their skin remains scaly and itchy despite moisturizing daily. The best advice I can give is to teach them to moisturize properly.

The first question I ask is: Are you using a lotion or a cream?

The difference between the two comes down to the water content. Creams and lotions are mixtures of oil and water. It is the oil component that is most important for your dry skin.

Lotions are droplets of oil mixed in water. They have a high water and low oil content. As such they are easy to spread on dry skin. However, the water is not well absorbed and quickly evaporates, which actually dries your skin further.

In contrast, creams are droplets of water mixed in oil. They have a high oil and low water content. They are more difficult to smear on dry skin but apply easily to moist skin. Therefore, they are best used immediately after your shower or bath when your skin has soaked up the water like a sponge. Applying cream then creates a layer of oil that locks the moisture in your skin. The water does not evaporate, and your skin stays hydrated.

This is why in the wintertime I advise patients to use only creams. In the warm, humid summer, lotions are actually better.