Start spring with beautiful legs and feet

Beautiful legs and feetHamburg - Out of sight, out of mind: while our hands typically get washed and moisturized every day, care for our feet and legs tends to be an afterthought.

This is especially true in the cold-weather months when thick socks and heavy shoes are the rule and keep the feet and legs well concealed. But once winter is over, the legs and feet look uncared for.

Short skirts and open shoes expose the dry patches, bothersome cellulite and fungus skin. When these conditions occur, it's high time for a special beauty treatment to tackle the problem, and aesthetics is not the only reason to do.

"Regular foot care also prevents many tough problems," said Mechthild Geismann of the German association of podiatrists and clinicians who offer foot care.

Britta John of Germany's Beauty Alliance, an association of perfumeries, said foot care should occur on a weekly basis and it should include trimming the nails and cuticles, removal of calluses and an application of moisturizer. Beginning the regiment with the first rays of spring sunshine guarantees that open shoes can be worn on the first day of summer.

"Our feet do a lot for us and not only deserve to be spoiled, they also need to be spoiled," said Petra Mommert-Jauch, a German author of a book about healthy feet and legs. Weekly foot care comprises many stages.

"Optimally, one begins with a relaxing foot bath," said Geismann. Afterward, calluses that have been softened up while soaking should be rubbed with a pumice stone or a file. Large scissors and scrapers should be avoided because if too much skin is removed, it can result in a build-up of even more thick skin.

If desired, a peel can be used prior to applying a special foot cream. Many of these creams are based on urea, which adheres to moisture while not impeding the skin's ability to breathe. Essentials oils leave the feet smelling pleasant. John recommends applying cream daily "so the skin is made supple continually."

To finish it off, apply a fresh coat of chic polish on the trimmed toe nails. Alternatively, use a nail file on the nails to make the toe nails shine without polish. Then the feet are ready to be seen in sandals.

Legs need a tailored programme. They should first have a peeling, then be shaved or epilated. When spider veins or uneven skin tone appear, they can be concealed with the help of a self-tanning cream.

Special leg make-up that is sprayed on can do away with small blemishes and replace hose, said John. They can't make cellulite disappear, though - no lotion can do that.

"A combination of special care and exercise can be successful at reducing cellulite," she said. The special care includes hot and cold showers, massages and special creams that are designed to inhibit the storage of fat. Regularly exercising the leg muscles also helps.

"That doesn't necessarily have to happen in a fitness studio," said Mommert-Jauch. Many exercises that simultaneously prevent cellulite and varicose veins easily can be incorporated into a daily routine.

"While chatting with a colleague at the office, for example, you can stand on a step with your heel handing over the edge and move up and down," she said. This strengthens the "pump muscle," as the foot, calf and ankle joint are exercised. The result is the veins are relaxed and the risk of getting varicose veins is lowered. In addition, the calf muscles are toned.

A note about finding the right shoes: On warm days, open shoes are indispensable. However, this doesn't necessarily mean high heels, Espadrillos or flip-flops, said Mommert-Jauch.

"For healthy and pretty feet and legs, it's important that the shoe is itself flexible and that it has a good hold," she said. That's not the case with flip-flops and other similar shoes.

But that doesn't mean that these trendy examples must be banned from the shoe closet. Provided that correctly fitting shoes are worn predominantly during the day and the same shoes are not worn every day, then a high heeled shoe can be worn in the evening.