SAVE YOUR SOLES

Our feet get a hard time of it. We spend all day walking on them, we squeeze them into unsuitable shoes with pointy toes and killer heels, then, come summer when the shops are full of gorgeous strappy sandals, we all wish we took better care of them.


True, it can be a bit of a chore to look after your feet, particularly when they’re not on show most of the year but no amount of sandals will disguise callouses, hard skin or discoloured nails that haven’t seen a lick of polish, never mind a file, in a long time
It’s estimated around four out of five of us suffer foot pain and recent research found that almost half of UK women cover up their feet during summer, with many blaming hard, dry skin, and cracked heels as the main reasons why.


Just like the rest of us, our feet age. Skin on the feet thins and the fatty pads that protect the heel from impact wear down, muscle tone weakens and joints lose their youthful suppleness. They also take an extra pounding during summer months.
But we can fight the effect ageing has on our feet so if you’re dreading sandal season, here’s our action plan for happy feet along with some feet treats so you can bare them with pride.


CRACKED HEELS
The number one foot problem is dry skin and cracked heels, made worse during summer by wearing flip flops or flatties which offer no foot support or cushion, causing a build up of layers of dead skin,
Action: The skin on the soles of our feet doesn’t have any oil glands, which is why feet easily become dried out and flaky. Use a foot file to slough off any hard skin that’s formed on your heels, the balls of your feet or the big toes. Foot files are easier to use than a pumice stone. but choose a stainless steel one, which is more effective and will last longer. File on dry skin as doing it on wet skin is not as effective.  Try Margaret Dabbs Professional Foot File £24 (www.margaretdabbs.o.uk) which has replaceable pads for hygiene and longevity.
You must moisturise daily to prevent cracked heels and dehydrated feet.  Use a heavy-duty foot moisturiser which can penetrate the skin’s barrier more effectively – try What Skin Needs Cracked Skin Cream £8.99 (www.whatskinneeds.co.uk). For an added treat, slather on an extra helping, put on a pair of thick socks and wear overnight. 


PARROT TOE NAILS
Toenails actually grow more slowly as we age, because of reduced circulation but years of   toenails rubbing against shoes can make them harder and thicker, making them difficult to cut and shape.
The condition even has a name, onychogryphosis, which is not only unsightly, but also painful when pressing against shoes.
Action: Soak feet first to make nails softer. Use nail clippers on thick nails, as these are sharper than scissors, but if nails are still too difficult to cut you may need to see a podiatrist to have them trimmed with an electronic file. If you can trim yourself always cut   the nail straight across following the natural shape of the nail and avoid trimming too close to the skin or yanking at hangnails.


DISCOLOURED NAILS
A common problem affecting up to one in ten and usually caused by a toenail fungus, called onychomycosis. Most types of infection are harmless but generally thrive on warm, dark moist conditions and may be caused by trauma to the nail, inflammation from an in growing toenail or untreated athlete’s foot.
Action: 
Good hygiene habits are essential so wash feet daily and always dry thoroughly. Most fungal nail infections can be treated at home. Ask your chemist for an antifungal cream to rub in or you could try rubbing in a small dollop of Vicks VaporRub to the affected areas daily but be patient as this method can take time. Always trim nails and file off any white spots before treating. For a hi tech laser option see, try Lunula Cold Laser treatment the latest advance treatment for fungal infections. The treatment takes twelve minutes and is painless as there is no heat involved. www.thelondonnaillaserclinic.co.uk


HAIRY FEET
As we get older rogue hairs can suddenly sprout all over the feet, especially around the toes and on tops of the feet – not a good look when wearing dainty sandals.
Action They may be an eighties throwback but hair removal creams are a good option but always go for a cream for sensitive skin.
Tweezers will do the job quickly and painlessly or try waxing and shaving, also quick and easy.


SPIDER VEINS
Over sixty per cent of us have spider veins on our feet which can spoil the look of a strappy sandal.
Action: Cover with a fake tan or try a good Corrective Foundation like Dermablend £16, from most chemist. For an effective and more permanent solution IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is the best treatment. During treatment, they are zapped by an intense pulsed light and the veins collapse and are then absorbed by the body. You may need three to six treatments to completely remove them but do not have IPL five weeks before or after a sun holiday as the light targets the pigment in the veins and you could   risk getting hyperpigmentation. Always wear a minimum SPF 30 after treatment.  Costs vary but expect to pay from around £100 per area.


WORN OUT FAT PADS
As we age the skin on the feet thins and slackens, and the protective fat pads under the balls of the feet and the soles, can disappear over the years making standing and walking painful.  Most people will lose these fat pads by 65, but it can happen from age 50 onwards.
Action: Although you can’t stop fat thinning out, wear shock-absorbent shoes will help cushion feet. Silicone insoles may also help. If it’s really painful to walk as feet lack any cushion a filler can be used at the clinic to build up the fat pads The effect will last from three to six months. From £250 and available at most cosmetic clinics.


SWEATY FEET
There are over 250,000 sweat glands in our feet producing up to half cup of sweat a day.  Excessive sweaty feet – the medical term is hyperhidrosis – can be extremely embarrassing but is easily treatable.
Action: Use talcum powder after you shower and throughout the day, as it’s great for controlling humidity. Wash fee regularly using tepid water. Try absorbent and odor fighting shoe insoles, but the best cure is Botox. A few strategically placed injections can stop sweating at the source, and results can last four months or more. From £250.


BYE BYE BUNIONS
Usually caused by badly fitting shoes, there’s nothing that’ll age your feet more than a pair of whopping great bunions. Just ask Victoria Beckham. The official name for a bunion is hallux valgus and it develops when the big toe becomes angled inwards, towards your other toes. 
Action: You can try bunion pads to relieve pressure, special insoles and painkillers. If they become very swollen and painful, your only answer is surgery to remove the bunion and realign the bones. What was traditionally considered a painful procedure can now be safely carried out as a one-day operation, under local or general anesthetic. Called a scarf and skin osteotomy, it involves removing some of the bone and then realigning it preserving the joint. The procedure is available on the NHS or privately, when you can expect to pay around £4k. Ask your doctor for a referral.
 

FEET TREATS
*Swollen ankles?  Keep them elevated them, and try peppermint enriched creams which will give relief from swollen ankles –   try Body Shop Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue £9.50 from all branches.


*Forget that old wives tale that nails need to breathe. They get their nutrients and oxygen from the blood stream. A nail polish will help hide discolouration. If nails are very brittle choose one of the new ‘healthy’ varnishes which contain oils and vitamins to strengthen and condition. Try Sally Hansen Colour Therapy range £8.99 which contains argan oil to feed the nails or use a base-coat like Nails Inc NailKale Superfood Base Coat £15 from most department stores.


*For an extra hydrating hit, pamper dried out feet with a weekly foot mask. Try Starskin Magic Hour Foot Mask Socks (£9.99 www.starskinbeauty.com)


*If you suffer from painful feet there is a new breed of experts called MSK (musculoskeletal) podiatrists specializing in feet niggles and how feet interact to help prevent and manage common complaints  – for more info see. www.mskpodiatrists.com


*Give your feet some water therapy in the shower- simply blast them with warm water which helps improve blood flow or cold water to reduce inflammation.


*Yoga and Pilates are both excellent for exercising feet but you can stretch your toes yourself – simply put the fingers of your opposite hand in between your toes to gently stretch them apart. Hold for 20 seconds and then gently press toes downwards so you can feel a stretch in the toes and the top of the foot. Or you can buy Toe Stretchers £14.95 from jdharris.com

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MAGICAL MASKS OFF THE HIGHSTREET

From multi-masking to sheet masks, home masks remain hugely popular but the new kids on the block are even more advanced and include jellies, balms, bubbles and innovative new rubber masks. 

Crystal Clear Facelift, In A Box which work by mixing a powder formula with water to form a paste which is then applied all over the face avoiding the eyes and lips. Within a few minutes the paste will then dry to a rubbery consistency and after 30 minutes can easily be peeling off in one go. Rubber masks are not a gimmick and are actually great for sensitive skin types because the formula hardens so can be less irritating. £14.99 from www.crystalclear.co.uk

BeautyPro’s Detoxifying Foaming and Cleansing Sheet Mask with Activated Charcoal does exactly that. Smooth when applied, as soon as the ingredients hit the skin and become exposed to air they begin to create a bubbly froth.

The bubbling action also creates a micro massaging motion helping wiggle pores open and allowing the detoxifying charcoal and exfoliating fruit extracts get to work on every layer. The addition of rose water, lavender and chamomile will also rehydrate skin so you don’t have to deal with that taut, stretched sensation once you wipe away the bubbles.

Beauty Pro Detoxifying Foaming & Cleansing Sheet Mask with Activated Charcoal, £4.95 from ww.beautypro.com

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BEAT THE FREEZE

According to the long range weather forecasters it looks like we are in for the worst winter for five years.   This dire prediction is based on the confirmation that the weather phenomenon known as La Nina,  a vast area of colder-than-usual surface water which is established in the eastern Pacific, is heading our way.   The last time it happened was in 2010, and that was a particularly freezing winter for us.  Gulp!

So hunker down and crank up the central heating.  Or maybe not!

Lower temperatures and biting winds combined with central heating can leave skin dehydrated, tight and flaky so it is a good time to stop using a foaming cleanser and swap to something milder and creamier.  I find that Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleaner (£8.99 from boots.com) works wonders.  Follow that with a serum or facial oil for extra support.  Avene Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum only costs £18 (avene.co.uk) but it contains thermal water and helps strengthen and rehydrate.

The colder weather is a good time to put the grainy exfoliator away too, as it can dry out the skin , but a good alternative is to look for a peel which contains glycolic or lactic acids instead as these encourage exfoliation naturally.  Many of the newer products are gentle, yet powerful enough to leave your skin fresh and radiant.  Try Filorga Oxygen Peel  £26 (salonskincare.co.uk).  It has glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid to resurface and plump.

A good tip if your complexion looks red or blotchy is to break open an Evening Primrose oil capsule and apply the contents directly on to cleansed skin.  Evening Primrose oil is packed with essential fatty acids which restore the skin’s moisture barrier and reduce redness in a few hours.

Once a week, it is a good idea to use a moisturizing mask for added hydration.  Try Antonia Burrell Mask Supreme 7-in-1.  It costs £65 from antoniaburrell.com and it leaves skin nourished and glowing.

And winter is the perfect time to have a professional resurfacing procedure at the Clinic as you are less likely to be exposed to damaging UV rays.  Fractora is a good one to try.  It is a radiofrequency treatment that revitalises and rejuvenates dull and dry skin.  It is safe for all areas of the face and next and it helps tighten sagging skin, reducing pigmentation marks, fill out fine lines and boost collagen production.  Cost is from £1000

Oh, and don’t forget your lips because the skin here is thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face, so cold temperatures can quickly lead to chapping.  Another tip is apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to your lips before you go to bed.  But if your lips are extremely dry you can try a barrier cream such as La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume, which helps to rebuild the epidermis.  £6 from laroche-posay.com.

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NON-SURGICAL SKIN TIGHTENING

Up to now tightening saggy skin without going under the knife has always been tricky.

But a revolutionary new treatment called Forma Excel is the latest non-surgical radio frequency skin-tightening device  – safe for all skin types- with little or no downtime.

Perfect for anyone who has lax skin on their neck, arms, stomach or thighs, the 30-minute procedure tightens skin and boosts collagen. It will also improve skin tone, texture irregularities and give a gentle lift. For best results you have to commit to three treatments one a month using a precise form radio frequency that targets deep into the skin, a hand held device is massaged over the treatment areas, heating the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, for approximately 30 minutes.

This stimulates the formulation of new collagen as well as contracting and tightening the layers of the skin. The treatment is painless with no downtime and best results seen within six to eight weeks when skin will look clearer and tighter. Cost £2000.

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BE A CHRISTMAS CRACKER

Have you felt it yet?  That frisson of excitement that Christmas is just around the corner and that lots of lovely things will start happening?

Christmas is undoubtedly a wonderful time for seeing friends and family and filling up on festive food and drink…but are you ready for the party season because it is only a few weeks away?

Does that LBD fit?  Or is a tad tighter than last year?   Fear not because I can recommend a brilliant fat-blaster called BodyTite which,  if you start now, will make you look noticeably slimmer by Christmas.  It is a minimally invasive, contouring treatment using RFAL (radio frequency assisted liposuction) to break down fat cells, boost collagen and tighten the skin through a tiny incision in the skin.    The good news is that up to three areas can be treated at the same time so if you are worried about bra overspill, back fat, or your abdomen or thighs then this could be the answer you are looking for.  You will get instant results which carry on improving over the following weeks.  Cost is from £2000

Alternatively, check out Reaction.  It is a quick and painless treatment which combines radio-frequency energy with vacuum therapy.  A course of 4-6 weekly treatments will tighten and tone tummies and arms plus it stimulates new collagen for getter skin thickness and texture.  It’s great for cellulite on thighs too.  From £1500

 So..that’s your silhouette sorted…so how about putting the twinkle back in your eyes?

The Hitch Lift is a brand new technique which uses fully absorbable  surgical string to lift the brow area and tighten baggy eyelids, just like a surgical eyelift.    Miniscule threads are inserted under the skin in a procedure which only takes 30-minutes and you will see an immediate result and which will last for around 18 months.   However, do plan for some downtime as there may be swelling.   Cost is from £900.

My other tips:

  • Exfoliate weekly and use a good mask.  I love Rosina’s Lotions & Potions Exfoliating Kale & Pomegranate Mask £25
  • Give your back a good overhaul to get rid of dry spotty skin.  Boots have a lovely Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Back Spray £5.19
  • I always recommend body brushing to improve circulation, remove dry skin and help flush toxins out of the system.
  •  Give your cleavage some TLC to make sure that you show off your decolletage to best effect.  Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Cream should do the trick.   £6.69
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HI-TECH BEAUTY BOOSTERS

The latest in technology means beauty gadgets are even more ingenious. Look out for these smart new tools.

 

The Kerastase Hair Coach is used with a Smart Phone.

It uses clever sensors that feed data via Wi-Fi to an app and every time you brush your hair a small microphone in the brush picks up the sound to determine your hair’s manageability and show how healthy your hair is.  The app also takes external factors like humidity, temperature, UV and wind into account and will then give personalised product recommendations. £200 from Kerastase hair salons or go to kerastase.co.uk.

Look out for another new hair innovation, The CareCut, which targets and seals split ends using innovative, electrically heated scissors. Unlike a conventional haircut, the thermal scissors seal the tips of the hair at the moment of cutting, locking in moisture and emollients to give long lasting protection against elements that cause the hair to dry out. Price according to styling. To find your nearest CareCut salon go towww.carecut.com

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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

Nothing shows your age faster than your hands…so it pays to take care of themEverything your mother said about wearing rubber gloves to do the washing up was right..but if you didn’t listen then here’s a few tips to help turn the clock back.

Sun Exposure is one of the worst culprits and if you have forgotten to include your hands when applying sunscreen then it’s likely that you’ve got a few brown patches (hyper pigmentation).  These won’t simply fade by themselves…they need help, so check out Lumecca, an intense pulsed light treatment which stimulates the regeneration of cells, plus it boosts collagen, all of which helps to even out your skin tone.  A course of 3-6 treatments spaced 10 days apart will get best results.  From £150 a session.

If your hands are wrinkly and the skin is thin then you can consider the Vampire Lift.   It’s exactly the same as the Vampire Facelift beloved of Kim Kardashian, but it works brilliantly for the hands too.  A vial of your blood is taken and put into a machine to separate the youth-boosting plasma, which is then injected into your hands, stimulating collagen and improving skin quality.  Results last up to 18 months and prices start at £500.

You could also consider a Fat Transfer  which is a popular way to rejuvenate the area.  Fat is taken from another area of your body, treated in a machine, and then injected into the hands.  Results can last up to 5 years.  Cost from £2800.

If you have no fat, then dermal fillers can be used.  Cost is around £550 and the results will last for about 12 months.

My top tips:

· Wear those rubber gloves!

· Always wear sun protection on your hands…even when driving

·Invest in a good hand cream…I love Nourish’s Kale Anti Ageing Hand Cream..it’s intensely hydrating and smoothing. https://nourishskinrange.com/collections/kale/products/argananti-ageing-hand-cream

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RAISING THE SKINCARE BAR

If you are looking for cutting-edge skincare, but at very reasonable prices you could do worse than check out your local supermarket because places like Tesco, Aldi and Waitrose are offering a viable alternative to luxury brands.

Products from many different brands are sent to me every week and before I write about them in my columns, each product is rigorously tested to make sure that the manufacturers claims actually do shape up and these are the products from the UK supermarkets which I can highly recommend:

Asda.

Asda is so confident that its Nspa skincare will make you look younger after using it for four weeks, that it’ll give you your money back if you don’t!

Their Nspa Expert Rejuvenating Serum costs £10 but the quality is that of a premium brand.  It is a lightweight serum to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles which has been formulated with a blend of anti-ageing active ingredients including crocus chrysanthus bulb extract and millet seed extract.

Asda.com

Sainsbury’s.

Their new My Skin Matters collection, along with its vegan skincare line Source of Nature, are launching shortly and contain some of nature’s best and most hardworking extracts such as shea butter, white and green tea, apricot and almond oils.

Source of Nature Anti Age Night Cream only costs £4.50, which is incredible value for this super-hydrating cream.  It uses top grade natural ingredients found in designer night creams so now’s the chance to regenerate and remoisturise your skin at a fraction of the price.  Sainsburys.co.uk

Aldi.

Aldi’s popular Lacura Cuvee Royal skincare range is now back in stock following a sell-out success last year.  Ingredients include French grape champagne extract and QT40, a dermis activator known for is skin rejuvenating properties.  There’s a terrific new eye cream – Lacura Cuvee Royal Eye Cream £5.99 – which is perfect for tired eyes in need of a little lift.  It’s light and non-greasy but it will moisturise, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and slow the skin’s ageing process    aldi.co.uk

Waitrose.

They have a new cleanser – Waitrose Pure Hydration Hot Cloth Cleanser, £5. – which is fabulous.  It has been specially formulated for dry, sensitive and mature skins, is fragrance-free and enriched with cotton milk and cotton seed.  The muslin cloth provided gently removes make-up and impurities, leaving skin feeling clean and fresh. Waitrose.com

 

Tesco.

Hyaluronic Acid is the mainstay of Scosmetics Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream, supported by ceremides and sun protective filters UVA, UVB and SPF89 to help defend skin from environmental damage.  It is a rich cream and costs £5. Tesco.com

Morrisons

This supermarket has a terrific body butter for £3 which helps soothe dry areas while leaving skin hydrated and smelling of exotic coconut, magnolia and amber.  Check it out for yourself.  MySpa Coconut and Frangipani Flower Body Butter Lotion  morrisons.com

Lidl.

Cien Gold Face Cream Day is a real beauty bargain as it costs £3.49.  It is paraben-free but has an SPF15 to ward off sun damage.  It also has 1% gold too which helps boost skin firmness.  Lidl.co.uk

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WHEN THE MENOPAUSE HITS

Your hormone levels can begin dropping 10 years before your final period and then you can say goodbye to plump, problem-free skin and hello to weight gain and hot flushes.

It is all down to the shift in balance of the key hormones cortisol, oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone so rather than just accepting the ‘Change’ it makes sense to get yourself checked out to see quite how bad the problem is because the correct hormonal balance can help delay the signs of ageing.  At our Clinic we have a test which measures these key hormones and one of our experts can advise on diet and lifestyle and prescribe supplements to rebalance you and get the spring back in your step.  Cost is from £499.

And more Good News.  After the menopause, 30% of your collagen is lost causing your skin to thin and sag.  Just what you wanted!  But luckily treatments are being devised all the time and one, HIFU – a revolutionary non-invasive treatment – can treat brows, neck and jowls.  It stimulates collagen, with no downtime and improvements continue for six months.  The results last for 12 months.  We recommend 3 sessions a year to keep your skin firm and lifted.  From £500 per treatment.

My tips:

  • Yes, I know you have heard this before but what you eat can significantly improve your skin.  Healthy fats matter so stock up on oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, wholegrains, oats and brown rice.
  • Keep hydrated, but that doesn’t mean more coffee.  Switch to green tea instead as it is high in antioxidants.
  •  Search out products which aid collagen formation.  Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and Stem Cells help retain moisture.  I developed StemCellutions Miracle Serum for just this purpose.  £50 harleystreetskincare.com
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LET’S TALK KNEES

Ever heard of a ’ninkle’?  Believe it or not, knees get wrinkles too and they happen because as we get older our collagen stores deplete and skin tone slowly goes south.

It’s not all doom and gloom though because developments in the world of cosmetic surgery mean that we now have many choices.  BodyTite  for instance.  It can spot-reduce stubborn fat, and tighten and firm loose skin.  You will notice the difference after one treatment with the best results coming three to six months later.  The results are permanent and prices start round £2000.  You will need to wear support stockings over the area for up to three weeks.

You can also try one of the new generation Chemical Peels.  Acids lift away the dead skin cells and trigger a chain reaction..sending signals to the living cells below to multiply, increase collagen and  boost hyaluronic acid production.  Takes about 20 minutes and one treatment instantly brightens the area..but a course of 6 treatments is longer-lasting.  Cost is around £80 per peel.

But the latest surgical innovation is the No-Knife Knee Lift.  Elasticated threads with little cones are inserted to grab the tissue and encourage the body to produce collagen, so the skin becomes tighter and smoother.  It takes around 45 minutes, under local anaesthetic, and the results are immediate.  You will need to allow for at least a week’s downtime though as there may be swelling or bruising around the injection site.  Cost is around £2000 and the effects last for around 18 months.

 

My top tips:

  • Exercise is good.  Swimming, cycling and running will help burn fat and tone up the legs.  Squats and lunges add definition to the muscles above the knees for support.
  • Gentle exfoliation and massage with body cream will improve skin tone.
  • Fake tan can instantly make skin look firmer and slimmer.  Go for one which has good moisturising qualities too.  Try St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Sculpt and Glow Lotion RRP £18

  • Good nutrition helps long-term skin tone…so watch what you eat!
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