Dry feet and dry heels are quite common. Most often, the cause is a loss of moisture and oil in the skin. Some people are more prone to getting dry or cracked feet and heels. Risk factors include:
- Older age
- Living in a dry climate
- Frequent exposure to water (e.g., swimming, fishing, excessive bathing)
- Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis
- Poor circulation
We can’t always control our risk factors, but if we are aware of them, we can take steps to prevent those risk factors from causing dry, cracked feet and heels. For example, if you live in a seasonal area, winter brings cold, dry air that pulls moisture from your skin. So, in wintertime, simply taking better care of your feet by wearing warm socks and moisturizing your heel and feet skin more often can help. If you have a home humidifier that adds moisture to the air, that can help as well.
Here are 4 ways to prevent dry feet and heels:
1. Hydrate the skin on your feet and heels.
We often use creams and lotions on our hands to keep the skin from drying out, especially in winter, but many of us forget to do the same to our feet. By applying a foot and heel moisturizer on a regular basis, you can keep your feet smooth and soft and prevent dry, cracked skin from forming.
2. Avoid or limit contact with hot water.
On a cold morning or waking up with sore muscles, almost nothing feels better than a hot shower. However, that hot water can dry out your delicate skin. When bathing or showering, use warm or lukewarm water instead of hot. Use a gentle cleanser that does not dry your skin like some soaps can, and pat (don’t rub) your skin dry afterward. Apply moisturizing cream or lotion while your skin is still damp to help lock in that moisture.
3. Wear cotton socks to bed.
Just like wearing cotton gloves over moisturized hands at night helps prevent hands and fingers from becoming dry and cracked, wearing cotton socks over moisturized feet when you go to bed is a good way to lock in moisture overnight. Even if you pull off the socks midway through the night, that initial lock-in of moisture still helps.
4. Wear insoles and heel supports.
Everyone should wear shoes that fit properly to avoid foot and heel problems. Especially if you are overweight, wearing insoles and/or heel supports may help take the pressure off your heels and helps prevent the heel skin from cracking.
How to Spot a Good Moisturizer
When looking for a good moisturizer to use on your feet and heels, check the ingredients list. Creams tend to be thicker and may be better than lotions. Look for a moisturizer with petroleum jelly, lanolin, mineral oil, ceramides, glycerin, urea, alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid.
Kerasal® Intensive Foot Repair is formulated to moisturize AND softens skin. It includes several of the recommended ingredients, such as white petrolatum (petroleum jelly), glycerin, urea and salicylic acid. Plus, it contains an exfoliating ingredient to help loosen and remove dry skin, so its skin softening and moisturizing ingredients can penetrate deeply and restore healthy looking skin.
When to Call a Doctor
Cracked heels can lead to more serious problems such as infection if left untreated. If you have an underlying health condition such as diabetes or heart disease and have dry, cracked feet and heels or if the cracks in your skin are severe, talk to your doctor.