The sweltering days of summer are almost at an end, which means we will soon be able to get back on our feet and resume our exercise regimes and other activities in the great outdoors.
But whether you are pounding the pavement or just enjoying a brisk stroll along the corniche, wrapping feet in closed-toed shoes can come at a cost, which means that regular pedicures – of the healing, rejuvenating kind – could be an important investment in your health.
This is the advice given by Margaret Dabbs, a podiatrist from London – often referred to as the "Queen of Feet" – who was in Dubai last week to visit the Margaret Dabbs Sole Lounge in The Dubai Mall’s Level Shoe District. Launched three years ago, it is her only practice outside the United Kingdom.
“Women should go for a pedicure twice a month,” says Dabbs, as we sit on the first floor of Hamptons Café on Jumeirah Beach Road.
“But they should use a foot lotion on their feet every day to maintain the health, elasticity and health of the skin.”
Dabbs, who opened her first foot clinic in London in 1998, explains that her popular branded pedicure treatment goes much further than simply providing a client with a fresh coat of nail polish. “It treats the feet and transforms both the way they look and the way they feel – the feet literally look 10 years younger,” she says, adding that the nail polish applied at the end is just a cosmetic extra, a finishing touch.
The key ingredient in her footcare products, which aim to enhance beauty and combat signs of ageing, is Australian Emu Oil.
Our feet face a big change as the seasons transition from summer to autumn, says Dabbs, as they adapt to closed shoes. “Feet can leave the summer months feeling extremely dehydrated,” she says. “It is an important time to really focus on them, and get them back into tip-top condition for the autumn and winter seasons, when they will be hidden in closed footwear, which will exacerbate any skin conditions that may already exist.”
And while women tend to keep their toenails permanently polished during the summer months, when they are constantly on display in sandals and flip-flops, Dabbs recommends long, hot a detox from nail polish during the autumn. “The nails can deteriorate as a result of persistent nail colour, so it is a good time to go polish-free or wear a lighter shade of polish, which is less hard on the nail as the pigment will be less intense,” she says.
As we grow older, she adds, our feet suffer as a natural part of the ageing process.
“The skin thins and becomes paper-fine, the subcutaneous fat is lost, the sweat glands reduce in effectiveness, and the soft tissues or plantar fascia become lax, which is when you get gait-related secondary skin disturbances such as hard skin on the ball of the feet or beside the big toe or on the heels,” she says.
While we may not pay much attention to our feet in our youth, once we hit our forties, it is crucial to start looking after ourselves, she adds, “especially our feet, because they carry us”.
• Margaret Dabbs pedicures are available at Margaret Dabbs Sole Lounge and also at Sisters Beauty Lounges, both at The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Centre, Jumeirah Beach Residence, The Village Mall and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, and at St Regis Nation Towers and Al Bateen Villa in Abu Dhabi. Her speciality products are available at Sisters Beauty Lounge branches