Choosing the best deodorant for feet depends upon the extent of the foot odor problem, the budget of the individual and personal preference. The feet contain a large number of sweat glands, which are responsible for unpleasant foot odor. If a person experiences excessive sweating of the feet, he may prefer a foot deodorant that also contains an antiperspirant.
Typically, deodorant for feet is no different from the deodorant used under the arms. In addition, natural or other products can make an effective deodorant for feet. These include cornstarch, baby powder, and even shoe inserts containing activated charcoal. Cornstarch and baby powder can either be rubbed on the feet or sprinkled in the shoes to ward off offensive foot odor.
Just like traditional forms, deodorant for feet comes in the form of roll-ons, solids, sprays, and gels. Sometimes, a physician can recommend a stronger form of foot deodorant that is generally available by prescription only. In addition, deodorant for feet can be concocted in the home using ingredients such as baking soda, essential oils, and lemons. Dabbing a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the feet also makes an effective foot deodorant, as it eliminates odor-causing bacteria.
The need for foot deodorant may be reduced or even eliminated when shoes are replaced. Sometimes, problem odors aren't created by feet, but by shoes that retain odors. These odors are apparent when the feet perspire, causing the person to believe that the odor has originated from the feet, when actually, the source of the odor is the shoes.
Other methods of reducing foot odor and reducing the need for foot deodorant is to wash and dry the feet thoroughly and wear absorbent cotton socks, if possible. Nylon stockings can trap perspiration, encouraging sweating and the formation of odor causing bacteria. In addition, open-toed shoes or sandals can provide ventilation to the feet, discouraging sweating and odor. During inclement weather, however, this strategy may not be feasible.
When foot odor becomes severe, the individual should talk to his health care provider. Rarely, strong foot odor can be related to certain medical conditions, and unless the underlying condition is treated, the problem may persist. If no underlying cause is determined, the primary care provider may refer the person to a dermatologist who can recommend an effective plan of care, which may include prescription medications to decrease sweating.