The stench of feet is an unpleasant, often disgusting smell due to an overproduction of sweat by the sweat glands located in the sole of the foot.
The typical stench of feet (technically called plantar bromidrosis) perceived after a long and stressful day of work derives essentially from the exhalation of amines and short chain fatty acids produced by germs starting from the metabolization of keratin, sweat and cutaneous lipids.
In some circumstances, the smell of feet becomes more intense and nauseating: in the presence of strong stress, anxiety or tension, the stench of the feet is fed because we tend to sweat more. Similarly, the administration of some pharmacological specialties (eg penicillin), certain diseases (hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism) and the intake of alcohol and nerve substances can negatively affect the smell of the feet.
When sweat stagnates in the foot for too long (poor personal hygiene), the stench of the feet can be accompanied by burning, itching, formation of sores and local redness.
What to do
- Taking care of your body hygiene: washing at least once a day is the number one rule against sweat in general and the stench in the feet in particular. If necessary, wash your feet several times a day: people who are particularly stressed or forced to do heavy work tend to sweat a lot more (including feet)
- After showering or bathing in the feet, it is advisable to apply spary or starch with an antifungal / antifungal / disinfectant action on the feet: the remedy is particularly suitable for sportsmen and for individuals subject to athlete's foot
- Talc is a particularly useful remedy against the smell of the feet, since it effectively absorbs excess sweat
- Insert an absorbent insole into the shoe (those made of felt or chlorophyll are particularly useful for absorbing odors)
- Use cotton socks: avoid synthetic socks or made from shoddy materials
- Prefer canvas shoes
- After daily personal hygiene, we recommend rubbing a piece of rock alum along the entire sole of the foot: due to its deodorising and antiseptic properties, rock salt is an excellent natural remedy against sweat
- Some texts recommend wearing two pairs of socks at a time to prevent or reduce the smell of the feet: a thick layer of cotton seems to exert an excellent antiperspirant effect. At first glance, this remedy seems a contradiction; in reality, the air that forms between the two layers of fabric increases the cooling effect
- Yes to warm footbaths with salt or vinegar. Footbaths with salt (doses: ½ cup of salt in a liter of water) or vinegar (½ cup of vinegar in a liter of water) are particularly suitable for people who sweat a lot
- Alternating jets of cold and warm water on the feet: reducing (blandly) the flow of blood to the feet, this remedy is indicated to reduce perspiration on the feet
- Remove stress and tension
- Wash the socks (and clothes in general) with specific anti-odor detergents. A good remedy to prevent odors is baking soda: by gently rubbing clothes (socks, in this case) with baking soda powder, an environment is created that is hostile to the proliferation of the bacteria responsible for the odor.
- Adding a pinch of baking soda directly into the sock and inside the shoe prevents the foot from stinking
- After cleansing the body, dab the foot with isopropyl alcohol (a powerful antiseptic): this ancient folk remedy finds an effective response to control the foot stench
What NOT to do
- Reuse used socks
- Drink alcohol
- Always wear the same shoes: it is advisable to change shoes often and always leave them to dry in a ventilated area before use
- Wear nylon or synthetic socks
- Wearing closed shoes is not a good remedy against foot odor: closed shoes create an environment conducive to the proliferation of bacteria, enhancing odor-induced exhalations. Especially in summer, it is advisable to prefer open shoes: so go ahead for scandals and slippers.
What to eat
- There is no scientific evidence that relates food to improving the stench of the feet. It is recommended to follow a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and low in fat.
What NOT to Eat
- Onion, garlic, curry: these foods do nothing but feed the stench of the feet
- Coffee and nervine drinks: these substances can increase the amount of sebum, consequently feeding the stench of the feet
- Alcoholic drinks: even alcohol can promote the production of sweat, accentuating the stench of the feet
Natural Cures and Remedies
- Having ascertained that the only truly effective remedy for combating the stench of the feet is the combination of water and soap, one can turn to mother nature to prevent the unpleasant smell. For this purpose, sprays, antiseptic lotions or powders formulated with active ingredients extracted from:
- Lavender ( Lavandula officinalis )
- Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis )
- Other essential oils
- The decoction of sage and black tea are also effective remedies to counteract the stench on the feet:
- Decoction of Sage ( Salvia officinalis ). Once allowed to cool, the sage decoction must be dabbed onto the foot with the aid of a cotton ball
- Black tea ( Camellia sinensis ): similar to the previous remedy, the decoction of black tea is also particularly indicated to lighten the stench of feet. In this case, it is advisable to immerse the feet directly in the decoction of black tea left to cool
- A somewhat bizarre (but effective) remedy for combating the stench on the feet is clay: using its deodorising, disinfecting and purifying properties, it is possible to prepare a clay mask adapting it to the feet. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of clay with very little water and two drops of essential oil of lemon or mint to obtain a soft and firm dough to spread on clean and dry feet. After 15 minutes of laying, remove the DIY mask from your feet.
- There are no specific pharmacological treatments to permanently eliminate the smell of the feet. However, it is important to remember that some foot problems or infections can feed the odor. Mycoses of the foot or nails, for example, can be responsible for a foul-smelling foot odor: in this case, the most appropriate remedy is to cure the underlying infection with specific antifungals.
- However, most of the times, the smell of the feet should not be removed with drugs or other substances. A little water and soap is enough ...
- Always wear clean socks
- Always wash your feet before wearing clean socks
- Wash at least once a day
- Use sprays or other antiseptic preparations to prevent foot infections, hence the smell
- Air the shoes (especially after a busy day)
- Medical treatments against the stench of the feet are not necessary, except for those cases in which the foul-smelling odor reflects an underlying pathology such as hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. In these cases, it is necessary to provide for the restoration of the disturbance that arises at the beginning.