How To Prevent and Restore Dry, Cracked Feet (2018 Guide)

Say goodbye to dry, cracked feet!

While we often shampoo and condition our hair and moisturize our face and body, we tend to neglect our poor, hardworking feet. They often become rough, dry, and even painful.

Fortunately, you can find many great products on the market to keep your feet smooth, supple and beautiful!

What causes dry, cracked feet and heels?

The skin on your feet is naturally drier than other parts of the body. To make matters worse, there are a wide range of factors that exacerbate this lack of moisture:

Dry, Cracked Foot
  • Using excessively hot water when you take showers or baths
  • Using non-moisturizing soaps
  • Having existing skin conditions such as eczema, athlete's foot or psoriasis
  • Having existing medical conditions such as thyroid disease or diabetes
  • Aging—as the years go by, moisture in your skin naturally diminishes
  • Spending long periods of time in the sun
  • Spending long periods of time in rooms with low humidity—think wintertime when you’re inside with the heat cranked up
  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly

What sort of complications could I develop from dry feet?

Having dry skin on your feet can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but for most people the symptoms are usually mild and manageable. Complications can arise, however, if you do not treat dry, cracked feet effectively.

As time passes, the symptoms of dry feet can become more severe and lead to skin diseases like athlete’s foot. In some cases, neglecting your dry feet can even lead to a medical emergency. For example, dryness can lead to painful cracked heels. The deeper the cracks become over time, the more painful it becomes to walk. These cracks may even begin to bleed.
Other complications can include:

1. Daily itching and burning sensation on your feet

2. Difficulty walking due to deep cracks, some which may even bleed

3. Dermatitis or psoriasis

4. Expensive, intensive treatment due to damage caused by prolonged negligence.

These complications can significantly damage your quality of your life. Save yourself the money and the aggravation by immediately treating, or better yet preventing, the onset of dry feet!

How can I prevent dry skin?

When you notice your feet becoming rough and itchy or developing cracks, it is probably time to pay closer attention to how you treat them. Below are a few ways to prevent dry, cracked feet:

  • Wear shoes that give your feet breathing room
  • Ensure that your feet are completely dry before wearing socks
  • Do not shower or take bubble baths with extremely hot water
  • If you have to use a heater in your house, combine it with a humidifier to ensure that the moisture in the air is not completely depleted
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake and products that contain these dehydrating substances
  • Moisturize your feet after they come into contact with water

However, if your symptoms persist or intensify, you may need to seek assistance from a doctor. This way, you can get a medical solution about the root cause of your dry feet rather than continuing with over-the-counter, self-medicated treatments.

Home Treatments for Dry, Cracked Feet

What’s the best remedy for dry, cracked feet?

There are three remedies, each with its own particular function, that you can try right from your own home, provided the dryness of your feet is at a mild and manageable stage:

1. Exfoliate with sugar scrub

2. Soften your feet with a foot soak

3. Moisturize with petroleum jelly

Exfoliate with a Sugar Foot Scrub

While several home remedies exist for exfoliation, one of the best remedies involves the use of sugar. You can do this treatment in the morning before you go to work or at night before bed. 

1. Make a thick exfoliating scrub by combining equal parts olive oil and brown sugar.

2. Combine the mixture well.

3. Wet your feet and use your hands to rub the mixture onto your feet.

4. Massage your feet with the scrub for approximately 15 minutes. Focus on your heels and any other part of your feet that you find particularly dry.

5. Once you have thoroughly scrubbed your feet, rinse them with cool water and use a clean towel to pat them down.

Soften Your Feet with this Honey Foot Soak

Soaking your feet increases circulation which in turn soothes dry skin. Simply take a few ingredients from your kitchen to concoct a highly effective foot soak for your dry feet. 

1. Mix a cup of honey into a gallon of warm water. Honey has natural enzymes that help speed up healing and bind moisture to the skin on your feet.

2. Soak your feet in the mixture for about 15 minutes for mild dryness. For extreme dryness, increase the time to 30-45 minutes.

3. Take out your feet and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel.

Moisturize with Petroleum Jelly 

Don’t let all your efforts to exfoliate and soften your feet go to waste. Moisturize your feet with one of the best yet most simple products around—petroleum jelly. 

1. Apply a healthy but reasonable amount of petroleum jelly to your feet.

2. Seal in the moisture by wearing a clean, dry pair of socks. Do not walk around on your bare feet since petroleum jelly is slippery. No need to add an injury from an unnecessary fall to your list of problems!

3. It is best to apply petroleum jelly before you go to bed so that the extra layer of blankets or duvets can help hold in the moisture. Just remember to rinse your feet well in the morning before you go to work!

What treatments are available to prevent and manage my dry skin?

Topical treatments can be used for both prevention and management. There are a wide range of products  available that contain ingredients to moisturize, soften, and exfoliate dead skin which can effectively treat dry skin.

Tips for treating dry feet and heels

1. After a shower or a soak in the tub, slough off the just the top layers of dead skin using a pumice stone or foot file. Be very careful not to rub off too much layers. 

2. Immediately after, apply a quality foot cream. 

3. Lock in moisture by applying the cream at night before you go to bed and wear socks for optimal absorption.

4. Apply the cream several times a  day.   

There are four main types of moisturizers that are included in foot and hand creams. Typically, most creams on the market contain a combination of these moisturizers as well as other additives and ingredients. 

Common Ingredients in Classes of Moisturizers

HUMECTANTS

Urea

Alpha Hydroy acids,

Glycerol

Hyaluronic Acid

OCCLUSIVES

Beeswax

Mineral Oil

Lanolin

Paraffin

EMOLLIANTS

Cholesterol

 Linoleic and Fatty Acids

Jojoba Oil

Dimethicone

REJUVENATORS

Collagen

Elastin

Keratin


Emollient Formulations: Emollients offer a barrier that soften and moisturize the skin and decrease itching and flaking. Topical emollients are creams and lotions that contain ingredients ingredients that soothe and soften the skin. CeraVe SA Foot Cream is a very effective product that has emollients such as Dimethicone and Stearate  that works by covering the skin with a protective film, preventing water loss.

Humectant Formulations:  A humectant  increases the water content of the epidermis. Urea is a powerful and common ingredient in many effective products. Urea also has keratolytic properties that softens the skin.  It has been reported that a 25% urea cream improves pain, dryness, appearance of the skin after four weeks in patients with heel fissures or cracks. Gold Bond Triple Action Relief Foot Cream contains a significant amount of urea designed to treat  cracked heals.

Occlusive agents: Occlusive agents such as beeswax, lanolin, and mineral oil form a physical barrier over the skin, preventing water loss. Amlactin Foot Repair Cream contains a special blend of ingredients including petroleum and mineral oil that aids in healing. 

Protein Rejuventators: Collagen, Elastin and Keratin are elements providing skin with the essential proteins it needs to stay plump and supple. They help in skin rejuvenation by replenishing proteins.

Special Additives in Moisturizing Products

Besides some of the elements listed above, most products contain extra additives. They are included for various reasons. Listed below are a few common additives.

Botanical Substances:  Aloe and Oatmeal are in many products sold today.  Aloe has a proven role in healing skins ulcers and burns and oatmeal can assist in soothing rashes.

Vitamins: Vitamins A,C, and E are very common and added as exfoliants and to moisturize. 

Fragrances: Most fragrances are added for cosmetic enhancement such as menthol. 

Sunscreens: Even in foot creams, you can find sunscreens. The most common ones are zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

In typical cases, over-the-counter creams or home remedies will aid in healing your dry feet. However,  see a doctor if you have a medical condition such as diabetes or a  severe case of cracked skin on your feet. You certainly want to prevent serious complications. 

Conclusion

So, how can you revive your dry feet?  

It is a combination of prevention and treating them. Finding the best method of treating your feet may be a mater of trial and error. A basic sugar scrub may do the trick or applying a quality foot cream every day may be needed. 

Apart from a few hours of sleep at night and a bit of time relaxing, we spend most of the day on our feet. Yet, we constantly neglect our feet and think it is a waste to apply lotion to them, especially to our soles. The irony is that our feet need the most hydration of any part of our body. 

Start showing your dry, cracked feet a little TLC with simple home remedies, or by investing in some effective foot creams or lotions the next time you’re at the supermarket, drugstore, or shopping online!


Image Source: Photo of Barefoot Car by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Content Sources :https://bpac.org.nz/bpj/2014/december/cracked-heels.aspx

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