As terrifying as it was, when the same thing happened to my feet, I took a shameful perverse pleasure out of it.
On the foot spectrum, I'm somewhere in the middle. Let's say one end contains the people who loathe feet so much they can't bear to think about them, practically denying their existence, and the other end the people who love feet - like really love them. Like specialist website love them. I definitely fit in the more positive side, although stopping short of posting adverts on Gumtree looking to pay someone handsomely for a few hours of 'shoe modeling' (my cash-strapped graduate self very nearly applied for one afternoon of this easy money. Well, easy until you're made into a lampshade.) It was this mix of appreciation and caution towards feet that lead me to believe I would be able to handle trialing the Footner Exfoliating Socks.
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The 'socks' are gel-filled pouches, big enough for feet, that you slice open, place your feet inside and wear for an hour with pair of your own socks over them. When the hour is up, a quick wash in warm water removes the residual gel and then the waiting begins. After three days I'd totally forgotten about the Footner Socks, so you can imagine my worry when I peeled off my socks after work and noticed massive white patches of loose skin, like peeling sunburn. Once I'd established that I hadn't contacted scabies and there had been no recorded cases of Black Death in Europe since 1353, I calmed down enough to remember that wearing this was exactly what the alpha-hydroxy acids in the socks were supposed to do when they broke down the build-up of keratin that causes hardened skin on the soles.
I'm easily tempted with anything that can be picked - apart from men and noses - so having snake-like shedding feet was a total guilty pleasure. Every day I looked forward to getting in, getting my shoes off and having a good ol' pick at my trotters. It was like every skint knee I clawed at as a child all rolled up into one flaky, fleshy dream. I'd love to report back what the socks are like if you aren't a massive creep and leave nature to take its course, but that ship sailed all the way to the Dead (skin) Sea for me I'm afraid. The instructions do advise against this, stating: 'Do not forcefully remove skin when peeling process starts as it may damage the underlying skin.' Sorry, not sorry.
One week on and the top of my feet look quite dry. I'd moisturise but the instructions advise against this during the exfoliation process, as it may hinder the effectiveness of the treatment. On closer inspection of the care sheet, it recommends using Vaseline on the parts that don't need the intense exfoliation that the balls or heels of feet might need, so that's something I'll definitely remember for next time. The soles of my feet feel fantastic. Like brand new feet. I debated whether or not to include pictures of the process with this post. On one hand I'm very aware of the current culturally imposed burden of proof: 'pics or it didn't happen', but on the other, I'm even more aware of the reaction that everyone I showed the pictures to has had (a unanimous boak). I opted to include a picture of my feet, but saved you from a rather nifty snap of some floral-print kitchen roll with a massive pile of skin on it. I've wrapped that up and saved it for a rainy day/future cloning/sprinkling on my enemies' pasta.
Footner Exfoliating Socks costs £19.99 and are available from www.boots.com