Sweaty feet, a form of hyperhidrosis, can leave you feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed, particularly when the sweat glands in your feet become blocked, which allows bacteria to thrive and create a foul odour. Additionally, sweaty feet can leave you prone to developing plantar warts and athlete's foot, yet people often want to avoid prescription medications and treatments, such as Botox, that can cause side effects. Medical treatment can be necessary in those with extremely sweaty feet, but there are natural options to explore first if you'd prefer. Here's an overview of two natural ways to treat sweaty feet:
Black Tea Foot Soak
The tannins in black tea have astringent properties, which is why you can feel your cheeks drawing together when you drink a strong cup of black tea. Astringents can constrict body tissue, so when you soak your feet in black tea, the sweat gland openings can shrink. Additionally, the bacteria that make your feet smell can't survive when tannins are present because of the acidity of the tannins.
Initially, you'll need to soak your feet in a basin of black tea every day, but after a week or so you can drop down to once or twice a month. Leave your feet in the basin of tea for at least half an hour for maximum benefit. To make the foot soak, add four tea bags to a litre of boiling water in the basin and allow them to steep for around fifteen minutes to get a strong tea. Remove the tea bags and top up the basin with two litres of cold water to create a lukewarm foot soak.
You can use antiperspirant on your feet, and strong antiperspirant can be prescribed by your doctor. However, commercial preparations use aluminium as their active ingredient, and aluminium is a known neurotoxin. It's not difficult to make your own antiperspirant using natural ingredients that you probably have in your home. The recipe below uses cornflour, which is a natural antiperspirant and draws moisture away from your skin. Coconut oil and tea tree oil have antibacterial properties, and bicarbonate of soda is an effective odour neutraliser.
- 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- Combine the bicarbonate of soda and cornflour in a medium bowl.
- Add the tea tree oil and mix well.
- Add the coconut oil and mix well. Store in a small container in the fridge.
Coconut oil melts when it's warm, but will solidify again as the temperature comes down. It's easier to apply the antiperspirant when it's solid, so keep it in the fridge between applications. You only need to use a small amount of this antiperspirant on your feet, so scoop some onto a finger and rub into your feet as often as required.
These natural treatments work well for many people with sweaty feet, but if they don't make a difference for you, your GP can refer you to a dermatologist to discuss medical treatment options.