Cracked and dry heels can be a frustrating and painful problem for many people. Not only do they look unpleasant, but they can also cause discomfort, itching, and bleeding, especially during colder months. Fortunately, there are various remedies to fix them, ranging from natural home remedies to specialized foot creams and lifestyle modifications. This article will guide you through the common causes of cracked heels, top remedies to fix them, and helpful tips to prevent their recurrence.
Common Causes of Cracked Heels
The skin on our feet is naturally coarser and thicker than other parts of our body, and it can easily crack if not cared for properly. Here are some common causes of cracked heels:
– Lack of moisture: When our feet get dried out due to environmental factors like weather, exposure to harsh soaps and detergents, or overly hot baths and showers, the skin can become dry and flaky, leading to cracks.
– Nutritional deficiencies: Our body needs a range of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy skin, including vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. A deficiency in these nutrients can affect the integrity and elasticity of skin, leading to cracking.
– Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, especially those that are too tight or leave the heels exposed, can lead to excessive pressure and friction on the skin, leading to cracks.
– Standing for long periods: If you spend a lot of time standing or walking on hard surfaces, you’re more prone to developing cracks in your feet.
Top 7 Home Remedies to Fix Cracked Heels Permanently
There are several simple and effective home remedies that can help get rid of cracked heels and restore softness and smoothness to your skin. Here are some of the best:
One of the easiest and most effective remedies for cracked heels is keeping your feet moisturized. Choose a high-quality foot cream or lotion that contains emollients like glycerin, shea butter, or ceramides and apply it at least twice a day, paying special attention to the heels and other affected areas. You can also use natural oils like coconut or olive oil, which can penetrate deep into your skin to provide lasting hydration.
To get rid of dead, dry, and flaky skin, exfoliating your feet is essential. You can either use a store-bought scrub or make one at home using ingredients like coarse sea salt, sugar, or baking soda mixed with olive oil or coconut oil. Gently massage the scrub onto your feet in circular motions for a few minutes, rinse off with warm water, and pat dry with a towel.
3. Epsom Salt Soak
Epsom salt contains magnesium, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and heal dry and cracked skin. Add a cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water, and soak your feet for about 20-30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry, then apply a moisturizer to lock in the hydration.
4. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water throughout the day is vital for maintaining healthy skin, including the skin on your feet. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, or more if you’re physically active or live in a dry climate.
5. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Make sure you wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support to your feet. Avoid wearing too-tight or high-heel shoes, especially for prolonged periods, as they can lead to pressure and friction on your skin, increasing the risk of cracks and blisters.
6. Use a Pumice Stone
A pumice stone is a tool that can help remove dead skin cells and calluses from your feet, making them smoother and softer. Soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes, then gently rub the pumice stone on your heels and other rough areas. Be careful not to rub too hard, as it can cause more damage to your skin.
7. Seek Medical Attention (if required)
In some cases, cracked heels can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as fungal infection, diabetes, or thyroid problems. If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, pus, swelling, or pain, or your heels are not responding to home remedies, consult a doctor or a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Best Foot Creams and Lotions for Cracked Heels
If you prefer a more targeted approach to fixing your cracked heels, you can try using specialized foot creams, lotions, and balms that contain natural ingredients to help repair and nourish your skin. Here are some of the top picks:
– O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream: This cream contains high levels of glycerin and urea, which help hydrate and exfoliate dry skin and improve its barrier function.
– Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream: Made with coconut oil and other conditioning botanicals, this cream can deeply moisturize and soothe your feet while promoting healthy skin renewal.
– Aquaphor Healing Ointment: This versatile ointment can be used anywhere on your body, including your feet, to seal in moisture and protect against dryness and cracking.
– Flexitol Heel Balm: This clinically-proven balm contains urea, lanolin, and other emollients that can effectively soften and repair dry, cracked heels.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Cracked Heels
Once you’ve fixed your cracked heels, it’s crucial to maintain healthy habits that can prevent their recurrence. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
– Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.
– Follow a balanced and nutrient-rich diet that includes foods that promote skin health, such as fatty fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruits.
– Avoid using harsh soaps, detergents, and other skincare products that can strip your skin of its natural oils.
– Wear clean and breathable socks made of natural fibers like cotton, and change them regularly to prevent fungal or bacterial growth.
Cracked heels can be both an aesthetic and health issue, but luckily, there are numerous remedies and treatments available to fix them. By maintaining a healthy and consistent foot care routine that includes moisturizing, exfoliating, wearing comfortable shoes, and keeping yourself hydrated, you can prevent dry, cracked, and painful heels. Remember to choose the remedies that suit your preferences and skin type and seek medical attention if necessary. With some effort and patience, you can achieve soft, smooth, and happy feet for life.