Dry crack Feet Care

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Dry crack Feet Care

Dry, cracked feet can be a common problem. Read on to find out the causes of dry feet and how to prevent & soothe dry skin on the feet.

One of the key essentials to maintaining soft, beautiful, and healthy-looking feet is to give them a little care every day. Unfortunately, many of us forget to include our feet in our regular skin care routine. Understanding the causes of dry, cracked feet – and avoiding them – is easier than treating the issue afterwards, so thinking of your feet as worthy of a little attention is a great start. If your feet are already dry and cracked, you might need to know how to treat and soothe them – here’s how to take care of both prevention & care.

So, why do we get dry feet? As the skin on the feet is naturally dry – the soles of the feet do not have their own oil glands – it can sometimes be tricky to keep your feet hydrated. In fact, dry skin on the feet is a common problem. It usually occurs in areas where there’s lots of pressure or friction, such as between the toes, on the ball of the foot, and on the heel. If left untreated, dry skin can start to become uncomfortable as we walk. This can be alleviated by giving the skin the essential moisture it needs.

  • Moisturize Daily – Use lotions that contain glycerin and micro-droplets of Vaseline® Jelly, like Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Essential Healing Lotion. The glycerin will pull in moisture to the skin layers and the jelly seals this moisture in to help keep your feet hydrated throughout the day.
  • Wear Socks – Wearing suitable socks can help prevent friction and skin irritation when wearing shoes, especially when you exercise. Socks made from cotton can be a good choice. It’s a soft, breathable fabric, meaning your feet are less likely to sweat and dry out from excess moisture loss.
  • Choose the Right Footwear – Ideally, you should always wear flat, well-fitting shoes that support the feet. But, fashionable high heels and flip-flops are often a more desirable footwear choice, particularly in summer. If you want to wear this type of footwear, remember to moisturize regularly and protect the skin on your feet. We also recommend that you choose weather-appropriate footwear. Flip-flops and open shoes expose the feet to the elements, which can cause the skin to dry out. So it’s best to only wear these in the warmer months.
  • Apply Vaseline® Jelly – To help protect your toes and reduce friction and rubbing as you walk, apply Vaseline® Jelly to the problem areas so that your toes don’t stick to each other, or rub together.
  • Gently Remove Dry Skin – Exfoliate dry skin and calluses on the ball of the foot. Do not use harsh exfoliators too regularly as this can actually dry your skin out more. Instead, try gentle body or foot scrubs and use only as directed. As soon as you’re finished exfoliating, apply a moisturizer to replenish lost moisture and hydrate the skin.
  • Use an Overnight Treatment – Vaseline® Jelly can be used as an effective overnight cosmetic treatment for dry, cracked feet and heels as it helps create a sealing barrier, locking in the essential moisture your feet need to repair themselves.

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes.

The skin on our feet is naturally dry, unlike the skin on the rest of the body. The skin on our feet has no oil glands, so it relies on hundreds of thousands of sweat glands to keep our feet moisturized.

This can be problematic for people who do not properly moisturize their feet on a regular basis, or who have a medical condition—such as diabetes or athlete’s foot—that causes dry feet. Anyone can have dry feet, but the condition is more common among seniors and diabetics.

Dry feet can range in severity from mild, temporary dry skin to severe dry skin that causes additional problems.

Skin can become dry for a number of reasons, but there are ways to prevent it, such as keeping your feet moisturized and avoiding rubbing or scratching the skin. To learn more preventive measures, please scroll down.

Dry Feet Symptoms To Watch For

Dry feet are generally a symptom of another problem, and if you have dry feet you may experience additional symptoms such as:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Cracks in the feet (fissures)
  • Rough skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Peeling skin
  • Rash (usually brought on by itching)
  • Problem worsens in winter months

Why Are My Feet Dry?

Dry feet are caused by a lack of moisture in the skin. There are several common factors that can lead to dry feet, including:

  • Excessively hot showers or baths
  • A skin condition that dries the skin (eczema, psoriasis, etc.)
  • Soaps that are non-moisturizing
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Cold weather
  • Low humidity levels in home, office, etc. (heating systems are known to dry the air)
  • Aging (we naturally lose moisture in our skin as we age)
  • Long periods spent in the sun

Which Doctor Should I See About Dry Feet?

Many people believe they should see a dermatologist for their dry feet, but podiatrists are better qualified to address this problem.

Dermatologists are skin doctors and podiatrists are foot doctors, but podiatrists are trained in dermatology to help patients with skin conditions (dry skin, athlete’s foot, warts on feet, etc.) on their feet.

On the other hand, if you already see a dermatologist or feel more comfortable seeking advice from one, then you should do what makes you feel best.

How Are Dry Feet Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose dry feet with a physical exam and by asking about your symptoms. Your doctor may also want to test you for skin conditions and disorders.

Blood and skin tests (biopsies) are used to rule out conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.

Your doctor will also inquire about your medical and family history. For example, psoriasis is known to be genetic, especially among Caucasian families.

Dry Feet Complications To Know About

People who suffer from mild to moderate dry feet should be aware of the complications that can arise if the problem is left untreated. Symptoms are generally mild at first, and may not arouse concern.

These symptoms can develop into severe problems, however, and it can become difficult to manage your symptoms and your dry feet over time.

For example, dry skin located around your heel can become so severe it causes deep cracks. Dry, cracked feet can be painful. Additional complications may include:

  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis or dermatitis
  • Difficulty walking
  • The need to limit time spent on your feet, which may necessitate a job change
  • Daily itchiness and burning
  • Expensive treatment if over-the-counter medications are no longer sufficient

How Are My Dry Feet Treated?

Treating dry feet usually begins with treating the underlying cause. Some people naturally have dry skin and must constantly take extra steps to ensure that their feet are moisturized at all times. The most common solution for dry feet is a therapeutic oil, ointment, or cream.

Most lotions are not recommended for dry feet because they contain alcohol, which can dry the skin further. Baby lotion is usually acceptable since it does not contain chemicals that irritate the skin. Additional treatments may include:

  • Applying lotion to feet after bathing
  • Using mild moisturizing soaps for skin
  • Staying hydrated

Talk with your doctor about home remedies. Spearmint, eucalyptus oil, and pumice stones can be used, but only under the guidance of your physician. Treatment for your dry feet may be as simple as treating an underlying medical condition such as thyroid disease.

If you are diabetic, you may be more prone to foot problems. Controlling your diabetes can prevent dry skin on your feet.

Common Home Remedies for Dry Feet

Here are some common home remedies to help you with your condition. Consult with your doctor about any home remedy before trying it:

  • Soak your feet in lemon juice for approximately ten minutes. Lemon juice is a mild acid that helps to dissolve dead and dry skin for easy removal. Use a loofah or soft foot brush to scrub your feet after you’re done soaking them. You may want to wait until any cuts or trauma have healed before trying this.
  • Combine a spoonful of olive oil and a few drops of lemon or lavender oil to create a moisturizing cracked-heel cream. Shake the ingredients until they form a thick, milky solution and use when needed. Shake before each use.
  • Apply vegetable oil to your feet after bathing, especially in the area of the cracks. After application, wear thick socks. Try doing this at night before bed and wearing your socks to bed. You should see results within a few days.
  • Combine one teaspoon of Vaseline and juice from one whole lemon. Wash your feet and pat them dry before applying. Apply to the dry areas and heels of your feet until you’ve used the entire batch. You should do this just before bed and wear wool socks to lock in the moisture. The wool will also prevent your sheets from becoming stained. The oils in the mixture will soften the dry areas. Exfoliate in the morning. Do this as recommended by your doctor.

Can Dry Feet Be Prevented?

Many of the treatment methods mentioned above can also be used to prevent dry skin on your feet. Here are some tips to help you avoid this condition:

  • Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter lotions, creams, and moisturizers to help you manage the dryness.
  • Do not rub or scratch the affected area. Instead, try applying cold compresses or ice packs to the itchy area for a few minutes at a time.
  • Do not wash too often. Avoid bubble baths, fragrant soaps, and other products that may dry your skin. Pat your skin dry when you are finished instead of rubbing the towel over your body. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water. The heat from the water can contribute to your dry feet.
  • Avoid saunas and steam baths if possible.
  • Moisturize after each shower or every time your feet come into contact with water.
  • Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe. Avoid excessive sweating.
  • Avoid blasting the heater in your home, or use a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air. Heating units are notorious for drying out the air in a home or office.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can cause the itchy feeling to worsen.

Talking to Your Doctor

Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor about dry feet:

  • Which over-the-counter products would benefit me most?
  • Are there any home remedies that may be more cost effective and just as beneficial? If so, which ones?
  • I use __________________ laundry detergent, should I continue using this product?
  • Are there any products your practice offers to help eliminate or manage dry feet?
  • What temperature should I set my home at to keep a good amount of moisture in the air for each season?

Medical References:

  1. M. Beers «Merck Manual of Medical Information» 2nd home edition (Pocket Books, 2003) 404
  2. H. Winter Griffith, MD «Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery» (The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2006) 252
  3. Dr. Foot, Dry Cracked Skin/Dry Cracked Heels http://www.drfoot.co.uk/cracked.htm

This page was last updated on October 30th, 2015

You walk on them, stuff them into uncomfortable shoes and use them to play sports and exercise. But with all of this work, do your feet get the tender loving care that they deserve? If they don’t, they’re probably dry and cracked, possibly blistered and bruised, and may even have corns or calluses. You may think that your feet can handle this kind of wear and tear, but over time, dry and cracked feet can turn into a much bigger problem.

How Do Feet Become Dry And Cracked?

It actually doesn’t take much to dry out the skin on your feet. For starters, if you don’t moisturize your feet as often as the rest of your body, you aren’t hydrating the skin. And if you live in a colder climate, your skin may be dryer anyway, not only from the weather, but from the hot water that you use in the shower.

Once your skin becomes very dry, it can begin to crack. Like a crack in a piece of glass, a crack on your skin will start small and spread out over time. As it gets bigger, it will also get more painful. But your feet don’t get this way solely by a lack of moisturizing; the skin on your feet can also crack just by:

  • Walking – Walking puts a lot of pressure on your feet. It causes your feet to spread out, which weakens the support – and the skin – the bottom of your feet.
  • Standing – This also puts a lot of pressure on your feet.
  • Getting your feet wet – If your feet tend to be wet for long periods of time, either from hanging out by the pool all day or from getting caught in the rain, this can cause the skin to weaken.
  • Wearing uncomfortable shoes – Shoes that are too small or slightly too big can rub against your skin, causing a blister or a sore.

Additionally, certain conditions can cause dry, cracked skin. Those conditions include:

Why Dry And Cracked Feet Can Be Dangerous

If the skin on your feet becomes too dry and too cracked, it can split open and bleed. That split can turn into an entryway for germs and bacteria, which means that, eventually, an infection can develop. This can be especially dangerous for diabetics and those with a suppressed immune system because it can be harder for their bodies to fight the infection.

Diabetics are also prone to developing nerve damage in their feet, which can be a problem because they may not be able to feel blisters, sores, cracks or other wounds. So if you have diabetes, it’s even more important that you take care of your feet.

Home Remedies To Soften Your Feet

If your feet are feeling a little less than soft, it’s not too late to reverse the damage and you can do so with items from your own pantry. To start getting your skin back in shape, make a foot soak, which will penetrate the deeper layers of skin. Just mix one cup of milk with five cups of warm water and soak your feet in it for 5 to 10 minutes.

Next, create a foot scrub using a few tablespoons of salt or sugar and a half-cup of oil. You can use olive oil, coconut oil or even baby oil. If you’d rather use the oil as a moisturizer, you can create an oatmeal scrub instead. Once you’ve scrubbed the skin thoroughly, rinse the mixture off with warm water.

After you’ve scrubbed the dead skin away, it’s time to moisturize your skin. Of course you can use lotion or a foot cream, but if you prefer a natural remedy, try mixing a mashed banana with a few tablespoons of honey and rubbing that onto your feet. The honey has antibacterial properties, which is excellent for cracked skin. Once you rub the mixture onto your skin, put on a pair of socks and leave them on for at least four hours so the mixture can soak in.

Tips For Proper Foot Care

Once your feet are back to baby smooth, you want to ensure that they stay that way. Here are some tips that will help you keep your feet looking and feeling good:

  • Check your feet for sores, cuts, blisters, etc. particularly if you have diabetes or nerve damage. You may have an open wound without knowing or feeling it.
  • Soak and scrub your feet on a weekly basis. Be sure to use warm water, though, since hot water can dry out your skin.
  • Wash your feet with a moisturizing soap every time you take a shower.
  • Check your shoes for any debris before putting them on.
  • Always apply sunscreen on the tops of your feet when you wear sandals or when you’re at the pool or beach.
  • Don’t put lotion on cracked feet as that can lead to an infection. Instead, use talcum powder or baby powder.
  • If you have diabetes or another health condition that predisposes you to dry skin, you may want to visit a podiatrist on a regular basis so that he or she can make sure that your feet are in good shape.

It’s easy to neglect your feet when you have so many other body parts to worry about. But it’s important that you take proper care of them so they can take you where you want to go.


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