Regardless of your work or lifestyle, there are many health benefits to ensuring your feet remain comfortable and do not embarrass you by emitting a nasty odor. Unfortunately, along with stinky feet, standing or walking all day can lead to some adverse effects like pain, blisters and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Luckily, you can use home remedies such as soaking feet in apple cider vinegar to relieve the numerous issues.
The natural concoction, typically considered the jack of all trades in the self-care sphere, offers numerous benefits owing to its unique formulation. But first, to understand why any board-certified dermatologist or doctor would recommend safely using the mixture, we should look at how it is made.
How is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples to extract the juice and leaving the mixture in water to ferment at room temperature. Yeast and some types of bacteria are used in the initial fermentation process to convert the natural sugars in the mixture of fermented apples into alcohol. In the follow-up step, you will need to add a bacterial strain, called acetobacter, that acts on the ethanol to create vinegar and acetic acid.
Since making apple cider vinegar is simple, some people prefer to do it themselves. Alternatively, you can buy a product that has been distilled and pasteurized to remove the microbial culture within the concoction. However, doing it yourself gets much easier if you can harness the strands that form to make the following batches of the foot soak.
What Are the Perks of Soaking Feet in Apple Cider Vinegar?
1. Managing Foot Odor
Sweating is the natural way your body regulates its temperature. The epidermal layer of your skin has sweat pores that are responsible for excreating moisture. However, wearing the same shoes or socks every day or having your feet covered for prolonged periods creates a conducive environment of moisture and warmth for bacteria that live on the skin to thrive.
Although the naturally occurring bacteria on your skin are responsible for keeping it healthy, some of these organisms cause foot odor. Soaking feet in apple cider vinegar will allow the acetic acid in the concoction to balance the skin’s pH levels to neutralize the bacteria. Consequently, the antimicrobial properties of the foot soak are key towards helping you manage smelly feet.
Plus, applying the process daily and religiously will not stop your skin from sweating but deal with the bacteria directly. Hygiene is still an important part of managing foot odor. Ensure you wash your socks, feet and shoes often, as this can help with disrupting the lush bacterial environment that forms there. However, using an apple cider foot soak will help you realize noticeable benefits in reducing stinky feet.
2. Dealing with Fungal Infections
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular home remedies for managing hair dandruff, caused by yeast and fungus thriving on your scalp since it has antifungal properties. It may seem counterintuitive that yeast, one of the catalysts used in creating the foot soak of apple cider vinegar, will not survive when exposed to the mixture. However, the acetic acid in the blend has been proven to be an effective treatment against fungus.
Apple cider vinegar’s anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties will help manage the foot fungus that may crop up around your toes. Additionally, getting rid of fungi build-up while still in its early stages is an excellent treatment against the following conditions.
Nail Fungal Infection
A nail fungal infection may affect your toes and, in some rare cases, your hands. People with this condition will notice that their nails become thicker, distorted and more yellow. Plus, your toes may start producing a terrible odor.
As the fungus spreads from one nail to another on your toes, you may start experiencing severe pain. It is essential to combat the condition early with a foot soak of apple cider vinegar to avoid the long-term and often expensive costs of later treatment.
The athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that attacks your toes. The condition’s symptoms include peeling skin, redness and a burning or itching sensation on the feet. Catching the issue while it is still in the early stages will allow you to experience the effectiveness of a foot soak made from apple cider vinegar. Still, when the athlete’s foot has advanced considerably, seeking the help of a board-certified dermatologist may be the only option left to treat the fungi.
3. Chemical Exfoliation
Physical skin exfoliation methods like using a pumice stone can cause more harm than good if your goal is to remove dead skin cells from the surface. Chemical exfoliation, when not applied correctly, can damage your skin since some ingredients are harmful to the body. However, a vinegar soak is gentle on your skin since it contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic, malic and citric acids.
Moreover, using foot soaks with apple cider vinegar, and extra ingredients like Epsom salt or essential oils like tea tree oil can improve the experience by including additional benefits. For starters, adding Epsom salt will help with soothing tired muscles and minimize swelling in the feet. On the other hand, tea tree oil is an essential component in aromatherapy.
Dry feet and cracked heels require exfoliation to treat the problem. Getting rid of the dead skin cells in these areas will make them softer. However, please avoid using the apple cider vinegar foot soak too frequently as it can have some adverse effects.
DIY Guide for Making an Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Soak
Making foot soaks is simple if you have all the necessary ingredients. First, you can either make or buy organic apple cider vinegar. Secondly, find a tub or basin that can fit your feet.
Next, mix either equal parts water and apple cider vinegar or two parts water with one concoction part. However, you need to ensure you use warm water to experience the best results.
You can add ingredients like Epsom salt to the vinegar bath and soak your feet for about 20 minutes. Afterward, you can apply your pick of essential oils and let it sit for a few minutes before physically exfoliating your feet. Finally, you can hydrate the skin using a cream or lotion or wear a pair of socks.
Limitations of Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Soak
The health benefits of using an apple cider vinegar foot soak to balance your skin’s pH levels and manage the bacterial cultures that form when your feet sweat are limited to how often you use it. Of course, diluting the mixture with warm water can help mitigate the effects of frequently applying acid on your feet. However, it will burn and irritate sensitive skin, especially if there are openings or cuts.
A famous toxicology maxim states that the dose makes the poison. Therefore, you should try out the apple cider vinegar foot soak with moderation to avoid damaging your skin in your efforts to reap the health rewards. You can start each session by checking the state of your feet before you dip them in a tub with the vinegar soak.