Got a ‘foot facial’ from a podiatrist

TThere is nothing I like more than getting a pedicure. But while a salon massage chair and a few coats of pretty polish are all I need to feel relaxed, when I decided I wanted something that really focused on my foot health, I turned to Suzanne Levine, DPM, Esthetic Podiatrist and podiatric foot surgeon, who offers what she calls ‘foot facials’.

“Foot facial terminology is something I developed over the years because I always thought [about] how we spend so much time on our face and neglect our poor feet,” says Dr. Levine. “We have heel cracks, we have these gross looking toenails, and no one pays attention to their feet. And most of the time, when patients [come to our office]your feet have fungus, thick nails, thick calluses, or cuts on your feet.”

To remedy all these problems, he decided that he would treat people’s feet the same way beauticians treat their faces. “I decided to call it a foot facial and put together a procedure with ingredients similar to what you use on your face: glycolic acids, alpha hydroxy acids, peels, and electrical stimulation lasers,” she says. Honestly, it’s too fancy to be considered a pedicure: it’s a high-end treatment that will leave your feet fresh and baby-soft.

The benefits of a foot treatment

While foot care may seem largely cosmetic (no one likes looking at crooked toenails, after all), Dr. Levine says it can affect the entire body.

“If you have a lot of calluses, that tells you you have a biomechanical problem,” she says. “It means her foot doesn’t hit the ground properly and she can end up with knee problems, hip problems and back problems.” And if she leaves calluses untreated, these problems will get worse over time.

The acids that Dr. Levine uses in her foot facials are much more powerful than those normally used on the face, because the skin on the feet is so much thicker than anywhere else on the body. These strong acids not only provide immediate results, but also help Dr. Levine’s treatments last much longer than traditional pedicures. Plus, because Dr. Levine is a physician, she can address issues that a pedicure or medspa can’t (like those thick calluses and fungus she mentioned).

Any telltale signs that your standard pedicure isn’t doing enough? Your feet feel fine for a few days before the discomfort returns, you experience calluses that return frequently, you bleed during callus removal, or you have thick or discolored toenails. If any of these issues sound familiar, it’s time to see a podiatrist for a more intensive treatment regimen.

What is it like to have a facial on your feet?

The day of my foot facial, I went to Dr. Levine’s office, Millennium Podiatry, in Manhattan, where the 45-minute treatment was performed in a typical doctor’s office bed (no massage chair, feet or enamel change). ). Dr. Levine started by removing my nail polish and cleaning my feet, explaining that it is important for her to see a patient’s nails so she can look for melanomas (also known as skin cancer) and fungus.

He then carefully removed the blisters and calluses from my feet with a scalpel.

“To use a blade in New York State, you have to be a doctor,” says Dr. Levine, noting that “Unfortunately, a lot of medical spas use blades, and it’s dangerous.” She explains that if you have a serious skin condition along with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other comorbidities, using a blade incorrectly can be dangerous, so more serious skin scraping is best left to a podiatrist.

Once my feet were properly shed, she applied a foot mask made with clay and salicylic acid, two ingredients that help detoxify pores and melt away any remaining dead skin cells. Dr. Levine used two microcurrent wands to help the ingredients penetrate deeper, which felt cool and tingly (and was a treat for my sore feet).

After washing off the mask, Dr. Levine applied a foot cream of her own creation (which you can buy at her office or over the phone). It is made with lactic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin; Vitamin C for shine and antioxidant benefits; niacinamide to soothe and reduce redness; and Aloe Vera and Shea Butter for hydration and moisture. Once again, she used the microcurrent wands to help the product absorb. This time, the stimulation felt a bit more intense: she itched a bit in the places where the blisters had been removed, but it wasn’t too bad. To finish, he massaged the rest of the lotion into my skin.

I left the appointment feeling relaxed, cared for and with a better understanding of my feet. The most important lesson I learned? If your feet are bothering you or causing you repetitive problems, it’s probably time to take your pedicure to the next level with a visit to the podiatrist’s office.

Watch out for the senior beauty editor tackling the best at-home pedicure:

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