We are always ever-so-focussed on our skin and hair care that we forget to pay attention to other areas of our body, and this includes our feet. Our feet are the main weight bearers of our entire body and carry around the pressure all day long, whether we are standing or moving. This leads to severe strain on the feet and as a result, one of the most common problems people face is dry and cracked heels. Also called heel fissures, it could happen to individuals of any age. If not treated, the cracked heels could also worsen and become painful in the long run. Some visible signs of cracked heels is extreme dryness, thickened layer of skin around the heel area, itchiness, or sometimes, red and inflamed skin. When you walk around, it could feel discomforting as well.
- What Causes Cracked Heels?
- Use a Thick Moisturiser
- Apply Petroleum Jelly
- Use Heel Balms
- Use Coconut Oil
- Use Honey
- Shea Butter To Moisturise
- Buff with Pumice Stone
- Indulge in Foot Soaks
- The Paraffin Wax Fix
What Causes Cracked Heels?
Cracked heels are a result of various factors that occur on a daily basis such as walking on the floor barefoot or with shoes that expose your heels. Ill-fitting high heels or tight trainers can also cause dry and flaky skin around the feet. Other factors include standing on your feet for long hours, lack of moisturising the feet that leads to dehydrated and overly dry skin or taking very hot showers.
There is also ageing and a few medical conditions like diabetes, eczema, psoriasis or zinc deficiency that could lead to cracked heels.
Home remedies for cracked heels
The good thing is – remedies for cracked heels are plenty and easy to execute. If you or someone you know is dealing with problematic flaky and cracked heels, find out the best home remedies to cure it below.
Use a Thick Moisturiser
Whether you want to heal your cracked heels or simply want to avoid the problem, befriend a rich, thick moisturiser like the Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Body Lotion and use it religiously twice every day. The ingredients in the moisturiser will help to seal the gap where skin is flaking, retain moisture in the dry areas of the feet and make the heels feel smooth and moist. It’s easy to get confused when choosing the right moisturiser; so make sure to pick a formula that has a blend of humectant elements like glycerin, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, along with occlusives like ceramides, shea butter and petrolatum. Since the heels are overly dry and cracked at this point, the formula should hydrate, penetrate and moisturise the skin for longer hours.
Apply Petroleum Jelly
One of the most easily available skincare products till date is petroleum jelly, often found at every home in the form of Vaseline. Known for its multi-healing benefits, you can use petroleum jelly not only on your cracked heels, but also on thick, rough calluses on the surface of the skin to soften them up. It is a great ingredient in itself to form a long lasting protective layer on the skin and prevent loss of moisture, hence there will be lesser chances of your heels drying up. You can apply the petroleum jelly as is on cracked heels or layer it up with a moisturiser or lotion for a more heavy-duty treatment of your heels.
Use Heel Balms
When talking about the possible remedies of cracked heels, it is impossible to ignore the front-line benefits of a heel balm. A specifically created ointment for dry and flaky feet, heel balms are generally a blend of ingredients that moisturise as well as exfoliate the dead skin, including essential oils, glycerin, urea, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), salicylic acid and vitamin E. Using it regularly helps get rid of thick calluses, fills the cracks, softens and evens out the texture of the skin. Besides fixing the skin condition, it also prevents the cracks from appearing again on the heels.
Use Coconut Oil
In the list of multi-purpose skincare ingredients, coconut oil probably ranks in the top three. Coconut oil is a great remedy for cracked heels as it instantly moisturises the excessive dryness on your skin and smoothens the layer of calluses and makes it easier to get rid of them. Plus, if your cracked heels are inflamed or have bleeding cuts, coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties will help calm it down.
For the uninitiated, honey is a natural humectant that attracts moisture from the environment and seals it into the skin. Not only that, honey also retains the moisture levels in the skin for a long time and avoids dryness or cracking of the skin. It also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that aids in treating wounds. And in the case of cracked heels, honey can be mixed with warm water and can be used as a quick foot soak.
Shea Butter To Moisturise
Another miracle ingredient that is considered a skincare superfood is shea butter. To heal your cracked heels as well as prevent it from occurring again, apply shea butter and shea butter-infused creams on the affected area every day. Not only does it hydrate and moisturise, it also relieves itchiness and is known to boost the skin’s collagen production and improve skin texture. Rich with fatty acids, vitamins A and E, oleic and palmitic acids, it absorbs well into the cracked areas of the feet to nourish and smoothen it up.
Buff with Pumice Stone
When it comes to cracked heels, in addition to regularly applying moisturisers, you must also use a pumice stone to slough away the thick, dead skin. It is easily available at medical stores and beauty shops and can be used during your foot soak sessions or in general, on wet feet. Make sure to not use it every day and be gentle when exfoliating your calluses with a pumice stone as it can cause severe abrasion, triggering inflammation on your cracks. After buffing, use a hydrating lotion on your feet to restore moisture and softness.
Indulge in Foot Soaks
Foot soaks work incredibly well to cure dry feet and cracked heels by restoring hydration and softness in the skin. Not to forget, they feel extremely relaxed and relieve soreness of the feet as well. You can follow up with a foot soak twice a week. Here’s a DIY foot soak you can try at home to heal cracked heels.
Take a tub big enough to accommodate your feet. Fill it up with warm water and add about half a cup of Epsom salt to it. Next, soak your feet in the solution for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a foot file or pumice stone to gently scrub the dry and flaky areas. Then soak your feet in the solution for 5 to 10 minutes more and pat dry your feet later. Follow up with a hydrating moisturiser and put on your socks to seal it up.
The Paraffin Wax Fix
Paraffin wax is considered as one of the most intense and deeply effective remedies for cracked heels. It works as a natural emollient and coats the dry and flaky skin to make it softer, moisturised and better protected from any further damage. It is generally used on the feet by first melting a block’s worth of paraffin wax in a tub along with some coconut or mustard oil. Once the wax melts, it is massaged on the feet and covered up by wearing socks. For best results, it should be washed off the next morning. Essentially, paraffin helps to warm the skin, open up pores and allow the topical balms or creams to absorb better into the cracks on the skin and seal them.