Take the time to care for your feet since foot health is an indication of overall health.
Roughly 20% of adults experience dry feet. That’s surprising, isn’t it? Considering our feet quite literally act as our physical foundation. They help us stand, walk, dance, and so much more. Yet when it comes to self-care, feet aren’t a top priority. When we think “self-care,” feet aren’t the first thing to come to mind. Instead, our neglected dry feet stay hidden away in shoes or socks for months on end.
Fortunately, there are several foot treatments for dry skin that’ll keep cracked heels and ashy toes at bay.
Plus, now that summer’s here, and we’re spending more time outside on our feet, it’s a good time to figure out what’s causing your dry feet, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
If you’re ready to make time to pamper dry, cracked skin, let’s dive in.
What causes dry skin?
From general wear and tear to medical conditions, there are several causes for dry feet. It’s important to know what causes dry feet because our foot health is a reflection of our general health. For example, some medical conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, display symptoms like cracked heels, thick skin around heels or pads, rough and ashy skin, and itchiness.
When you understand what’s causing your dry skin, you can adjust your habits to minimize the potential for dry feet and manage your health more effectively. Here are six common reasons for dry feet:
- Lack of moisture. A hot shower or bath after a long day is one of the best ways to relax. However, neglecting to moisturize your feet afterwards results in dry, itchy skin. When you step out of a shower or bath, your skin has more moisture than usual. This moisture evaporates quickly and leaves skin dry when there isn’t a moisturizer added to lock in the water.
- Pressure. Standing or walking for extended periods increases pressure on feet. As a result, the soles of feet dry out and become cracked.
- Ageing. As we age, it gets harder for our skin to hold onto moisture. As a result, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes thinner – the potential for dry feet increases drastically.
- Cold weather. In colder months when there’s less moisture in the air, the skin is more likely to dry out.
- Heat. Hot environments and closed shoes, like boots, expose feet to heat and humidity. These conditions draw moisture away from feet and leave feet dry and cracked.
- Bath products. Soaps smell nice, but some contain strong chemicals that strip moisture away from the skin.
In addition to these common causes, there are also medical conditions that cause dry feet.
- Eczema. Eczema is a condition that causes excessive dry and itchy skin. It’s atopic dermatitis that lasts for years in some people. These people experience occasional flare-ups that result in rashes and cracked skin.
- Psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes dry patches of skin to appear on the body. Psoriasis begins as small patches of red bumps that eventually become itchy, thick scales.
- Infections. Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, cause rashes to form better toes – where moisture gets easily trapped. The excess moisture builds up and creates a dry, itchy rash to develop.
Once you’ve identified the cause of your dry feet, it’s time to look for foot treatments for dry skin.
Foot treatments for dry skin
Most cases of dry skin and cracked heels are easy to treat with petroleum jelly or cream or lotion. These treatments soften skin and reduce cracks by locking in moisture.
If you have sensitive skin or want to save money, another option is to make your moisturizers with products found in your home. Homemade products are less expensive, and since they don’t include any additives, they’re safe to use on most skin types.
Here are four easy recipes for conventional foot treatments for dry skin:
1. Foot peel
A foot peel treatment gets rid of the hard, dry outer layer at the bottom of the feet. Once this skin is gone, you’ll have soft, smooth skin in its place.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
You’ll also need to make a scrub:
- Coarse granulated sugar, sea salt, or Epsom salt
- Lemon juice
Mix the ACV, water, and baking soda in a small plastic tub. Place your feet in the solution and soak them for 20 minutes. The ACV will help break down the hard, dry skin at the soles of your feet.
Next, combine the sugar, sea salt, or Epsom salt with the lemon juice and rub the mixture on the bottom of your feet. Use a pumice stone to exfoliate and rub away the dry skin.
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Rinse your feet, pat them dry and immediately rub on your favourite cream or lotion. Before you go to bed, slip on a pair of socks to make sure your feet absorb the moisture.
The effects of a foot peel last for weeks. Make time to treat your feet at least once a month to maintain soft skin.
2. Foot mask
A foot mask is a thick cream that you use to coat your feet. As the mixture dries, it exfoliates and moisturizes your skin.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of organic greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of raw organic honey
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a bowl. The lactic acid and probiotics from the yogurt exfoliate skin and break down dead skin cells. The honey soothes your skin, and the coconut nourishes your feet by adding moisture. The scent of the lavender essential oil helps enhance the relaxation experience.
Rub the mixture on clean feet and place moisturizing gel socks on each foot. You can sit and relax for 30 minutes while the mixture dries, or you can fit in a few chores since you have the socks on.
If you’d like to purchase your own set of gel socks, try our scented socks.
Remove the socks and rinse the mixture off of your feet with warm water. Immediately rub on your favourite cream or lotion. Place the gel socks in the laundry for the next time.
Since the ingredients for this mask are available in your pantry, it’s safe to use it once a week to maintain soft skin.
3. Foot soak
A foot soak involves placing your feet in warm water to soften dry skin. A simple soak that includes Epsom salt helps exfoliate to reveal soft skin.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of honey
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
Fill a small plastic tub or foot spa with warm water (the hotter, the better). Add the honey and coconut milk and mix the solution until they completely dissolve. Sprinkle the cinnamon powder into the water. The honey and coconut oil soothe and moisturize your feet while the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of cinnamon minimize eczema and psoriasis symptoms.
Soak your feet for 30 minutes, or until the water starts to cool. Path your feet dry and then add cream or moisturizer to your feet.
For an Epsom salt soak, add half a cup to warm water. Soak your feet for 30 minutes, pat dry and then moisturize. Epsom salt soaks are safe, but if you have extremely dry skin caused by eczema or psoriasis, limit Epsom soaks to once or twice a week since frequent use can dry out your skin. If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before using an Epsom soak since it can increase the risk of infection.
4. Foot scrub
A foot scrub exfoliates the skin by gently rubbing away dry, dead skin. Using a foot scrub regularly results in fewer calluses on the bottom of the feet and smooth skin on the top.
What you’ll need:
- Two cups of brown sugar
- Half a cup of coconut oil
- 2-5 drops of peppermint essential oil
Mix the ingredients and rub the mixture onto clean feet. Next, place gel socks on each foot and leave the mixture on for 20-30 minutes. Finally, rinse your feet with warm water and moisturize with a cream or lotion.
The smell of peppermint is refreshing and leaves your feet feeling tingly and amazing. You can, of course, substitute different essential oils for peppermint. For example, try a citrus scent like orange or lemon, or tea tree or eucalyptus.
If you have mild to moderate dry skin, then use a foot soak 2-3 times a month. If you have severely dry skin with cracked heels and calloused soles, then combine your foot scrub with a soak weekly and use a pumice stone to exfoliate.
Enhance your pampering experience with our foot massager.
All of these foot treatments for dry skin are natural but see a podiatrist if you experience any of the following:
- Dryness that doesn’t improve, even when you regularly use moisturizers
- You experience an infection
- Larger areas of your skin begin to peel
- Your skin becomes red
You may need more potent treatments or even medicated creams or lotions to fight against dry skin.
How to prevent dry skin
The best way to prevent dry skin is to create a routine that fits into your schedule. Your routine might be as simple as always moisturizing your feet after taking a shower or bath. Or you can set aside time a few times a month to prepare a foot treatment.
Over time you’ll notice fewer cracks and calluses and feet will feel healthy and hydrated. Here are a few more ways to prevent dry skin.
- Exfoliate your feet with a gentle foot file or pumice stone while you’re in the shower.
- Use warm water for your showers and baths instead of hot water.
- Get in the habit of wearing moisturizing gel socks to bed.
- Read the ingredients list of creams and lotions. Avoid any that include alcohol.
- Avoid wearing tight shoes because they can cause corns and calluses to develop.
Treat your feet well. The key to healthy feet is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Soften your feet with our bleach-free moisturizing booties.
Soft feet are in your future
There you have it, a simple guide to foot treatments for dry skin. To eliminate dry feet, start by identifying what’s causing your dry feet. Are you walking or standing a lot? Or are you merely neglecting to lather on lotion after showers?
Once you’ve identified the cause, establish a skincare routine. Spa pedicures are great, but if you’d like to save some money, make your spa products with a few products from your pantry. You’ll know what ingredients are in them, and you can get creative and customize your treatments to meet your exact needs.
Finally, put prevention practices in place to avoid experiencing dry feet from new causes. Remember, our feet are essential to our daily lives and are a window into our overall health.