Why is it important to treat dry feet? Dry feet can start off with an ashy looking appearance, which can progress to flaky, rough skin. Over time, this forms a thick callus on the heel, which loses its ability to be elastic or flexible. Pressure from prolonged standing, walking, or excess weight can also cause cracked heels and pain. In some cases, especially in people who have underlying conditions like diabetes, these cracks can get infected and require medical care.
About 20% of American adults experience cracked skin on their feet, with women being more at risk than men for this condition. There are, however, things you can do to moisturize dry feet and relieve cracked heels.
Find the Right Moisturizer
Home remedies for dry feet and dry heels can start with applying a good moisturizer. Look for a cream or ointment that provides more intensive moisturization (like Kerasal® Intensive Foot Repair™) . Intensive foot repair creams like this usually include ingredients such as petroleum jelly to lock in moisture, urea to soften skin, and salicylic acid and lactic acid to help exfoliate and remove dead skin. These may also soften any corns or calluses you have.
Soak and Then Exfoliate Carefully
If you have dry, cracking skin, you may be able to help improve the skin by doing a foot soak (in warm water with a gentle soap or using Kerasal® Foot Therapy Soak) and then using a pumice or scrub to gently remove dry skin from the feet before applying a moisturizer.
There are also electronic foot files that are exfoliating and can be used to help remove dry skin. However, if you have diabetes, neuropathy or poor circulation, do not attempt to exfoliate on your own without first talking with your doctor. Your risk of infection could be higher, so you’ll want to be safe and check with the health expert first.
Try Over-the-Counter Solutions
If you find it hard to find time to both exfoliate and moisturize regularly, a product like Kerasal® Intensive Foot Repair ointment can help do both. It is a highly concentrated ointment with petrolatum, urea, and salicylic acid that helps exfoliate hard, dry skin and deeply moisturize in one convenient step. It is specifically designed to hydrate dry feet and dry heels with visible results in just one day.
While you are treating your dry feet, you may want to wear insoles and heel supports to help take the pressure off your heels. Also, be sure to read through our tips for preventing dry feet and dry heels so once you’ve healed your feet you can keep them in good condition. In addition, those prevention tips can be used while you’re treating your dry, cracked feet for better results.
When to Consult Your Doctor
If you have diabetes or other conditions that cause circulatory problems or poor sensation in your feet, and are suffering from severe dry feet or severely cracked heels, talk to your doctor before you try any treatments on your feet. Exfoliating treatments with a pumice, scrub, files or topical products with ingredients like lactic acid or salicylic acid could cause a wound in those with these conditions.
Kerasal® products should not be used on irritated, infected, or open skin. If your cracked heels are severe, call your doctor before trying any treatment.