The skin on our feet, particularly on our heels, is especially dry. Our feet are exposed to more external hazards than any other part of the body except for our hands, and these elements can cause dryness, itching, and in extreme cases, cracked heels. Fortunately, the pain and discomfort associated with dry cracked heels can be remedied using a number of natural and synthetic products, and you can acquire the soft supple skin you desire.
What causes cracked heels?
If you suffer from fissures on your heels, you may consider consulting with your physician to determine the underlying cause to this problem. Obesity and diabetes are leading medical causes of this skin issue, and can only be treated with medical assistance. Dehydration is another major cause of dry skin and cracked heels, and your doctor can assist you in determining what is the proper amount of fluid consumption necessary to maintain your body’s adequate hydration. More commonly than medical reasons, however, are environmental factors which impact your skin, causing dry skin and cracked heels. Sandals or flip flops expose your feet to dust, rocks and other elements which can dry and damage your skin. Improper shoes or shoes which are ill fitting can also cause damage to your skin. Harsh soaps, continued exposure to water which is too hot, or dry conditions in the home can all cause dryness and cracking of the heels. Do your best to determine if any of these factors may be affecting you, and eliminate them from your daily routine. Once you have done this, you can learn how to get rid of cracked heels.
How to get rid of cracked heels fast
There are quite a few products available in pharmacies and other retailers which are specifically marketed to individuals with dry and cracked heels. When considering which products to purchase, take care to note the ingredients of each. Masques, creams and soaps are all available, but the product you ultimately purchase should have a combination of effective ingredients which are proven to cure cracked heels.
- Alpha or Beta Hydroxy acids – these are mild acidic additives which will aid in the exfoliation and removal of dead skin cells. Removing dead skin cells will allow the skin on your feet to heal, replacing the damaged layer with a new, softer layer of skin
- Urea – originally derived from the urine of animals and particularly horses, synthetic urea is now available in products found over the counter. Urea will also serve to exfoliate dead skin cells, allowing your heels to repair themselves by replacing damaged skin.
- Dimethicone – this additive is found in many lotions and hair conditioners. Dimethicone is an additive which is slick to the touch, and will provide a protective barrier between your feet and external irritants, as well as seal in moisture, preventing further drying.
- Triclosan – while this product is generally sold as an odor eliminating agent, triclosan works by killing odor causing bacteria on your feet. Bacteria on your feet may contribute to dry skin and cracking of heels, and should be eliminated.
- Fungal treatments – ask your doctor if a fungal treatment is right for your skin. While fungus is typically found on and under the toenails, it can also be found on the surfaces of your foot which are effected by dryness.
In addition to over the counter medicines, be sure that you practice proper hygiene. Wash your feet at least once daily with a mild soap, and be sure to change your socks regularly. Try not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row if you feel that they are still damp from sweat, giving each pair a chance to air out. You may also find that a cooling powder, such as one which contains menthol, may sooth your feet and keep them dry.
How to get rid of cracked heels at home
In addition to over the counter remedies, many natural remedies have been discovered to be helpful in the healing of dry cracked feet. The easiest way to get rid of this problem is to apply a mild, unscented lotion to your feet before bed each night, and sleep with a pair of cotton socks on. In just a few days’, you’ll notice healthier, softer feet, and the cracks will begin to heal. There are, however, other treatments you can try when determining how to get rid of cracked heels naturally.
- Lemon – like urea and hydroxy acids, lemon has a mild acidic property which will allow dead skin cells to be exfoliated with ease. Soak your feet in a 1:1 lemon water solution for ten to fifteen minutes, and use a pumice stone to remove the dead skin cells which have been softened. Moisturize with a mild lotion when you are finished.
- Banana – try pureeing a banana in a blender, and applying the paste to your feet. This remedy may be a bit messy, but when the paste is left on for fifteen minutes, the banana will soften your feet and begin to heal any cracks.
- Oatmeal and honey – combine oatmeal and honey into a paste, adding water if necessary to thin the consistency. Apply the paste to your feet, and leave on for ten minutes daily. In about two weeks, you’ll notice a significant lessening of the appearance of cracks in your heels, and the presence of soft, supple skin.
- Petroleum jelly – once the cracks in your heels have been healed, maintain the moisture in your feet by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly overnight every night before bed. Petroleum jelly should never be applied to open sores or broken skin, so ensure that the fissures in your heels have healed before using this preventive remedy.
Dry, cracked heels can be the source of much discomfort, and are very unsightly in appearance. Fissures can lead to infection, and must be properly healed to ensure good foot health. Particularly during the summer months, when you are more likely to walk barefoot, be sure to take proper care of your feet to prevent the recurrence of this ailment. In the absence of any medical condition, moisturizer and sufficient hydration will typically be all that a healthy person needs to maintain smooth and soft feet, free from fissures, and suitable for barefoot beach weather.