Carrying us through the world, allowing us to stand up to any challenge, and supporting us through thick and thin, our feet provide a foundation of strength and stability for our entire body. Considering all they do for us, it's fair to say that they're deserving of some tender loving care. Most of us pay significant attention to the skin on our faces, but when's the last time we really pampered our feet?
Unkempt feet often suffer from rough callouses and painful, cracked skin. Not only are chalky, cracked heels unattractive and potentially embarrassing, but they can range from inconvenient and activity-limiting to sore and bleeding. Home remedies commonly call for ingredients that are messy (petroleum jelly), smelly (apple cider vinegar), or just plain difficult to find. Rather than send you hunting for obscure ingredients, I'm going to share with you about the causes of dry, cracked feet and my favorite technique for healing them up fast.
Causes Of Dry, Cracked Feet
There are many reasons for unhealthy skin on our feet, some of which are easier to resolve than others. Here are those most common causes of cracked heels, also known as heel fissures:
- The way a person walks. An unbalanced gait can cause wear in certain areas of the feet.
- Poor blood circulation. Sometimes caused by medical conditions such as diabetes.
- Dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Fungal infection. The underlying cause of flaky skin, cracks, and redness or itching may be due to a fungus.
- Nutritional deficiencies. Not getting enough zinc, vitamins, or omega-3's.
- Excessive water exposure. Too much time spent in water, including long showers and baths, can draw out the natural oils in our skin and dry feet out.
- Harsh soaps. Fragrances and sensitizing ingredients can cause irritation and flaky, rough skin.
- Cold and/or dry climate. Living in areas with a dry climate or cold weather can exacerbate dry feet, leading to painful cracks.
- Prolonged standing. Being on your feet for long periods of time can cause the fat pads on the heels to press on dry skin, causing cracked heels.
- Obesity. Being overweight means that our feet have to work harder to support our frame, placing additional pressure on the pads of our feet.
- Walking barefoot. Going without shoes can create callouses, which can eventually lead to cracked feet if left untreated.
- Wearing the wrong shoes. Improperly fitting shoes that fail to support the heel can create friction. Flip-flops and open-back shoes can also make feet more susceptible to cracked heels.
Proper Foot Care For Happy, Healthy Feet
- Drink plenty of water. Stay well-hydrated, drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Limit time in the water. Keep baths and showers down to 5-10 minutes. Also, avoid very hot or cold water. Lukewarm water is best.
- Boost essential fatty acids. Consume plenty of wild, fatty fish, or take an omega-3 supplement.
- Wear breathable socks and supportive, properly fitting shoes. Cotton socks paired with shoes that don't cause friction will minimize cracked skin.
- Keep feet exfoliated and moisturized. Regularly removing dead skin build-up with a good foot scrub and/or pumice stone and applying a foot cream containing alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) will keep callouses at bay.
- Use an anti-fungal exfoliator. To treat a suspected fungal infection, try using Face Reality Mandelic Scrub to keep feet soft and fungus-free.
Recipe For Healing Dry, Cracked Feet Fast
An effective approach to revealing healthy, beautiful feet includes a few of our favorite skincare products. Follow the steps below for fast, dramatic results:
- Apply BiON Glycolic 20% Skin Cream to dry, rough skin every night for 1 week. When possible, wear a cotton pair of socks to bed over glycolic cream.
- After one week, take a luxurious bath or enjoy a warm foot soak for 10-20 minutes. Use a Purple Pumi Bar or pumice stone to remove dead skin cells.
- Dry feet completely, then apply a pea-sized amount of FarmHouse Fresh Heel Glaze followed by a pair of dark, cotton socks to avoid staining sheets or clothing. Continue to apply heel glaze each night before bed. This is acts as a healing all-night foot mask.
- Apply BiON Glycolic 20% Skin Cream on areas prone to callouses every other night.
- Continue to use your Purple Pumi Bar or pumice stone once per week.
BiON Glycolic Skin Cream is very active and will cause exfoliation where you need it most, however you should avoid applying it on areas where skin is less thick. You should see great relief from cracked heels and callouses by following this foot care plan. The only thing left to do now is enjoy stepping into summer with your beautiful, sandal-ready feet!