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Sweaty Feet FAQs

See Also: Excessive Sweating - Sweaty Palms - Sweating Advice - Fungal Sweat Rash - Smelly Feet - Sweaty Groin - Sweaty Face
Sweaty Feet

Why do my feet sweat?

The soles of your feet and palms of your hands are one of the most abundant areas of tiny pores found on the body (excluding the larger sweat glands in the arm pit). The reason we sweat is to cool down the skin to reduce our temperature. Sweating can be triggered by a number of things:

  • physical activity
  • a reaction to warmer temperatures
  • nervousness, stress and anxiety
  • fever and illness.

  • When your feet sweat they are reacting to these very triggers however, most areas of the body allow the sweat to evaporate off the skin (which is how it is cooled). Enclosing your feet in synthetic materials means the skin cannot breathe. If your feet become hot, they start to sweat but then the sweat cannot evaporate.

    What problems do sweating feet cause?

    Excessive sweating of the feet is known as Plantar Hyperhidrosis. If you do not take care of your feet properly, this can lead to a number of problems. One problem is Athlete's Foot. It is a fungal condition that usually affects in between the toes and on the soles of the foot. The fungus likes to grow in warm moist areas on the feet which is why it is so important to keep these areas dry. Similarly, Fungal Nail infections are caused in the same way. The nail becomes yellow, thick and brittle and is very troublesome to treat.

    If sweaty feet aren't kept clean, bacteria begins to accumulate. It feeds on the dead skin cells and thrives in the moist environment. This bacteria and stale sweat is the main cause of smelly feet. Also, when feet sweat, the moisture and bacteria soak into the footwear which causes foot odor too.

    Blisters on the feet often occur from constant rubbing whilst walking or running. A combination of either heat, moisture/sweat, poorly fitting/manufactured footwear causes friction against the foot.

    What products are there available to stop my feet sweating?

    Antiperspirants. The best way to tackle the problem of plantar hyperhidrosis is to start off with an antiperspirant suitable for the feet. Odaban is a tried and trusted pharmacy-strength antiperspirant that comes in a handy little pump-action spray, that can be carried with you wherever you go. A spray is particularly useful because it can be targeted right between the toes and other hard to reach areas. Another good product is Scholl Odour Control Foot Spray, a triple-action antiperspirant deodorant that helps to fight odour. Like sprays, antiperspirant creams, such as Perspirex Hand & Foot Lotion, Neat Feat Athletic Foot Cream and Vichy Podexine Antiperspirant Cream, can be easily applied to all nooks and crannies. Neat also make Neat Feat Roll-On for Feet Deodorant.

    Please note that, Scholl Odour Control Foot Spray and Neat Feat Roll-On for Feet Deodorant aside, these products reduce sweating and aren't really intended to tackle the issue of foot odour. For foot deodorants, please visit our page for smelly feet.

    Powders can help absorb excess sweat which is an effective way of preventing chafing, odours and athletes foot. These powders can either be applied directly to the feet or into your shoes. Zeasorb is a powder containing Aluminium dihydroxyallantoinate (Aldioxa, an aluminium salt), formulated to keep dry all sweat-prone areas on the body. Other products such as Scholl Odour Control Foot & Shoe Powder and Neat Feat Shoe Powder are multi-purpose powders that can be sprinkled into your shoes and on the feet to absorb wetness and deodorise. Medicated powders like Cuticura and Lanacane Medicated Body Powder not only keep you dry, but they also help sooth minor skin irritations and help prevent infection.

    What else can I do?

    It is important to make sure feet are able to breathe when possible. Wearing tight shoes, trainers, tights/stockings and nylon socks for long periods of time make feet sweaty. Try substituting these with cotton alternatives. In the summer, if you are able to, wear open toe shoes or sandals as this would allow air to circulate around the foot.

    How can I stop the smell of sweaty feet?

    Preventing foot odor usually involves acting on excessive foot sweat (mentioned in the paragraph above). Stale sweat doesn't smell nice and can lead to lots of bacterial growth. Some people develop a condition called Keratolysis which is caused by bacteria infecting the skin (where is appears "pitted") and creates a cheesy smell that doesn't easily wash away.

    Express Chemist can recommended a few things you can do to prevent your unpleasant foot smells.

    Soak: If the smell seems ingrained, have a 10 minute foot soak to deeply penetrate the skin. Maybe add Radox Muscle Soak Salts or a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to add fragrance and relax (Note; Tea Tree is a natural anti-fungal and antibacterial ingredient).
    Wash:When you bathe or shower, using an antimicrobial wash on the feet such as SkinSan or the natural Optima Tea Tree Oil Cleansing Skin Wash should kill off hidden bacteria and fungi.
    Dry: Ensure feet are dried thoroughly with a towel after they have been in water. Use an absorbent powder such as Cuticura or Scholl to keep feet dry and deodorised.
    Deodorants: There are lots of foot deodorising products available at Express Chemist. They include Neat Feat Roll-on Deodorant, Daktarin Ice Cooling Spray and Peditech Spray. To view all, please click here...
    Breathe: Let your feet breathe when you can. Avoid nylon socks, tights and wearing trainers all day. These make the feet sweat and the bad smell cycle begins all over again.

    If you want to moisturise your feet but are afraid of making the problem worse, there are products you can use. Try Aloe Vera Gel with Added Tea Tree. Aloe is very soothing and hydrating to the skin. The gel is light and contains Tea Tree which is well known for its anti-fungal & anti-bacterial properties. You could also try Vichy Podexine Anti-Perspirant Cream which contains soothing thermal spa water.
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    • Peditech Spray

      Peditech Spray

      Cooling & refreshing antibacterial spray

      While not an antiperspirant, Peditech Spray is a cooling, refreshing antibacterial spray that kills odour producing bacteria and provides welcome respite for hot, clammy feet. Regular use can kill the bacteria that cause foot odour and help protect against unpleasant smells returning.

      (incl VAT)