There is something uniquely thrilling about a boring-seeming, unsexily packaged product that turns out to be a true beauty miracle worker. While I very much appreciate the beauty in some objet d’art pulled from a posh clutch and used to paint a mouth at a restaurant table, it’s the prosaic problem-solvers that excite me most. My problem in this recent case was, attractively, cracked heels.
There was an extraordinarily bad salon pedicure, extremely overzealous foot-filing and some polite British restraint when a yelp of pain was in order, and, well, the upshot was a tip for the technician and bleeding heels for me (I had to walk around the house on tiptoe for two days). But, perversely, I rather enjoy the challenge of an urgent repair job. It was useful to experience a condition commonly suffered by many people with diabetes, hypothyroidism and psoriasis, and to have the opportunity to investigate some effective relief.
Regular moisturiser was never going to cut it, so, in pain, I bought some Flexitol Platinum Express (£7 for 50g) – ostensibly a souped-up version of the already excellent original Flexitol. I’ve used the latter plenty in the past on dry, winter hands, but in this extreme case, I layered the slightly gritty-feeling Platinum cream lavishly under these Bememo silicone gel socks (£8.59 for three pairs). There are lots on eBay, as well as something similar at Boots or from Pavers (£8.99). They are ingenious tubes of stretchy fabric lined with gummy silicone, known clinically to aid healing. You pull them over the heels and either hide with regular socks, or dispense with your dignity and flaunt them. (I went with the latter. My husband has rarely wanted me more.) The socks make your skin wrinkle as if you have had an overlong bath, but also keep it moist, flexible and very much on the mend. You wear them all day, hand-washing with soap and water between wearings, and the immediate difference they make to foot discomfort – and soon after to deep, bleeding skin cracks – is nothing short of miraculous. The fissures stopped bleeding within a day, had fused shut within about 36 hours, and healed completely within four days, leaving only a little residual flaky skin as evidence.
I went from bleeding into my slippers to strutting painlessly in open-backed Birkenstocks within a week. I’ve taken up sporadic silicone sock-wear for sandal-season maintenance, and would recommend them as enthusiastically as I would a pension. Simply genius.