Cracked heels or calluses are a common foot condition for most people. Especially after winter the skin often suffers from dryness. If the skin gets too dry and hard it begins to crack which might not only be an aesthetic problem, but if the cracks are very deep they can cause a pain. Cracked or even bleeding heels can also be a sign of more serious condition such as diabetes or weakened immune systems. If deep cracks are untreated they can get easily infected by bacteria which in some cases can lead to more severe condition such as Cellulitis (not to be confused with cellulite) – bacterial infection which requires professional treatment and antibiotics. In this article we outline common causes of cracked heels and how to treat and prevent them. In case you experience soreness, redness or swelling, see a doctor before you try any home remedies.
Dry climate – cold or dry weather can contribute to dry skin.
Ill- fitting shoes – wearing sandals with thin soles or backless shoes that don't support the heel.
Harsh soaps – soaps with high pH can dry out and irritate your skin.
Hot water – long hot showers or baths can cause the moisture evaporates from your skin.
Aging – as we age, skin loses its collagen and elastin and becomes more fragile.
Standing for a long time.
Increased friction from the back of shoes.
Health condition such as obesity, diabetes, psoriasis or eczema.
How you can fix it
The best way how to avoid cracked heels is to prevent them. We know how important is to remove make-up every day, clean and moisturize our face, but taking regular care of our feet is not so common even though it is equally important. The best way how to prevent dry skin in general is to avoid hot water and have a quick warm shower or bath instead. Do not use harsh soaps which make your skin feel tight and dry, look for mild cleanser ideally fragrance free. Gently pad dry your skin after shower/bath and apply moisturizer immediately while your skin is still moist. And most importantly do not forget to wear good quality shoes - wearing closed-heel shoes with cushioning with thick soles will help prevent cracks and you will feel much more comfortable.
There are lot of foot creams, ointments or lotions available in the market which can help with the dry and cracked heels for the time. But it is essential to take care of your feet regularly, not only when the condition is worse. This will temporarily help, but you want nice and healthy feet all year round!
Here are 5 steps that can be taken at home:
Soak – Soak your feet in warm (not hot!) water for at least 15 min. Soaking your feet will soften your skin which will make the consequent exfoliation easier and more effective.
Exfoliate – Exfoliate gently at least once a week. Never scrub your feet too aggressively as this can harm the new skin underneath the top layer of the dead skin and can cause worsening rather than improvement.
Moisturize – Apply a moisturizer daily immediately after shower while your feet are still moist (do not let them completely dry) as this will help lock the moisture in. Prefer thick creams over lotions as lotions are usually thin and provide less hydration. Great moisturizers are olive oil or Shea butter. You can also apply an occlusive moisturizer over top such as petroleum jelly or lanolin which prevents water loss from the skin.
Wear natural fiber socks overnight – Night is the best time for our body to regenerate. If you want to help the healing process, put on a pair of cotton socks before you go to bed. This will help retain moisture in the skin.
Wear the right shoes – Choose shoes with thick soles and arch support. Your shoes should keep your feet off the ground, so dirt does not get into open cracks.
TIP: Lemon Foot Bath
Try our favorite lemon foot bath. For this luxurious foot bath, you will only need two ingredients: lemons and olive oil - how easy, right?
1. Squeeze two lemons into a bucket of warm water.
2. Soak your feet for 20 minutes.
3. Use Sakury Pedicure File with an abrasive surface made of quartz and gently scrub any hard skin.
4. Moisturize your feet with olive oil.
Lemon cleanses, quartz hydrates and encourages collagen production and olive oil protects and nourishes your skin.
Now that you know how to take care of your heels, let your beautiful soft and smooth feet see the light of day again!