When you think about it, your heels take a lot of abuse. They carry your weight all day, every day. In order to protect them, you need to keep them clean, moisturize them, and ensure that they do not crack — as this can become very painful. Whether you want to improve the look of your heels for cosmetic reasons or to improve dry, painful skin, try these natural remedies.
What Causes Cracked Heels?
Although it takes a fair bit of abuse, the skin on your heels is fairly sensitive. When they become too dry, this can lead to painful cracking and splitting. Not only can this make walking painful, but you also increase your risk of infection. More often than not, cracked heels occur due to dry skin.
Insufficient moisture can result from a range of causes, including cold weather, dehydration, having diabetes, scrubbing your feet, and the use of harsh soaps. Once the skin loses moisture, it will dry out, causing potential cracking. Once the skin cracks, it can bleed, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter.
The two main risk factors for foot problems include obesity and diabetes. When you’re obese, your body weight will not be evenly distributed on your heel pad, leading to uneven pressure and cracking. For diabetics, they tend to experience damaged nerves in their feet due to uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
If you can relate to this common, yet highly uncomfortable issue — start caring for your heels today!
Five Ways to Care For Your Heels
The first sign of dry skin, try one of the following five remedies:
- Vegetable Oils and Butters
There are so many oils and butters to choose from, helping to prevent cracked heels. Each offers their own unique benefits based on key nutrients and antioxidants. First, soak your feet in soapy water and then scrub with a pumice stone. Apply olive oil, coconut oil, Shea butter, or cocoa butter to dry areas.
- Baking Soda
When you mix baking soda with water, you can create an effective paste. The fine grainy texture of baking soda acts as a beneficial exfoliator. You can also create a soothing baking soda bath. All you need to do is dissolve approximately 3 tbsp of baking soda into 4 liters of hot water.
After you have soaked your feet for 20 minutes or so, use a foot scrub or pumice stone to exfoliate dead, dry skin. Rinse your feet well with warm water, before adding a beneficial cream. In the beginning, soak your feet every day for a week — then take a week break, before starting the treatment again.
This solution is best before bed, as you can lather on vaseline and put some thick socks on. This will help deeply penetrate your skin, moisturizing your dry skin. This is key, as you want to reduce painful cracking. Repeat this each night until you notice that your symptoms have improved.
Lemons are great for your skin — helping you combat sun spots and acne. When it comes to your feet, the acidity of lemons will help soften rough skin. Simply squeeze lemon juice into water, soaking for 10-15 minutes. Once again, scrub your feet and pat dry. You can try this remedy before applying vaseline.
- Epsom Salts
Epsom salts do it all — soothe achy feet, soften rough skin, and remove bad odor. When you get home from a long day at work, dissolve a cup of Epsom salts in a bucket of warm water. Soak for 15 minutes, scrub, dry, and apply an all-natural cream. As you soothe your feet, you’ll also draw out any toxins and impurities.
Sure, your feet may not receive the same love and care as your hair or face, but they deserve just as much attention. Don’t wait until your feet are cracking and bleeding to take action — care for your feet long before symptoms develop.