People of all ages can suffer from cracked heels and dead skin on their feet. Lack of moisture is often one of the most common reasons for dead, flaky skin on your feet. This can cause your soles and heels to become rough, itchy, and develop red or scaly patches of thickened, dead skin, leading to dry, cracked feet.
It is not just a lack of moisture that can cause dry feet and cracked heels. Podiatrist Dr. Marc Katz says that using the wrong type of soap, taking excessively hot showers or baths, cold weather, and low humidity levels can cause hard, dead skin on your feet and heels.
Sometimes health conditions like eczema, diabetes, and psoriasis, can make the problem worse. Standing for a long time on hard floors, being overweight, or wearing the wrong footwear can also cause calluses and cracked heels to form.
It is important to keep your feet healthy because they are the ones that carry you every time you walk, stand or run. Under daily stresses, it is no wonder that your feet can become dry, cracked, and sometimes very painful. However, with care and attention to your feet, dead and dry skin cells can be treated and prevented from developing on your feet.
How to get rid of dry feet with natural remedies
You can use many natural remedies to keep your feet soft and moisturized without painful cracks. For example, various oils and natural ingredients soften the hard, dead skin on your dry feet making it easier to remove dry skin cells.
These are some of the best natural remedies that will leave your feet feeling soft, fresh and relaxed.
Soak dry feet
One of the easiest ways to soothe dry, cracked skin on your feet is to soak your feet in warm, soapy water. This helps to soften corns (thickening of the skin) making it easy to remove dead skin with a pumice stone. This is what you should do to make a hot foot bath to soak your feet:
- Fill a bowl with warm soapy water.
- Soak your feet for 20 – 30 minutes to allow the skin to soften sufficiently.
- Use a pumice stone, gently rub the dead skin cells.
- Rinse your feet with clean warm water and dry your feet properly.
After soaking with lukewarm water, you should hydrate your feet with a little olive oil or another natural oil, such as coconut oil, too, to keep the skin on your feet soft and prevent them from drying out. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times a week until the cracked feet are completely gone.
Using Epsom salts in a warm foot bath is an excellent natural remedy to heal dry and cracked feet, as well as relax and soften them. Epsom salts contain magnesium and sulfate, minerals that penetrate the skin, this helps to remove toxins from the body and maintain healthy skin tissue.
- To do an Epsom salt foot bath to get rid of dead skin cells, do the following: You need to wash your feet with warm water and mild soap to remove dirt and grime.
- Pat dry feet with a clean, soft towel.
- Take a bowl large enough to put both feet comfortably in.
- Fill with lukewarm water. There should be enough water to reach your ankles when you put your feet in.
- Add about ½ cup of Epsom salt to the water.
- Soak your feet for 10 – 15 minutes until soft.
- Mix a little Epsom salt with enough water to form a paste and exfoliate each foot with the mixture to remove any dead skin cells and flaky skin.
- Put your feet back in the basin to remove excess Epsom salt.
- Using a pumice stone (or sponge or soft foot brush), gently rub the thickened skin over the heels to remove dead skin.
- Rinse your feet in warm water, clean and dry thoroughly.
- Use a light, natural moisturizer or a small amount of olive oil to keep skin soft and protected.
Repeat the Epsom salt foot bath 2-3 times a week until you no longer have cracked heels or scaly skin on your feet.
Virgin coconut oil helps treat and prevent chapped feet due to its hydrating properties. It also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, compounds that can kill common foot infections.
The magazine Dermatitis, showed that virgin coconut oil is an effective moisturizer for treating dry, rough, flaky, and itchy skin. Other studies have shown that coconut oil can destroy infection-causing bacteria and provide relief from itchy skin. If you have painful cracks in your heels that are bleeding, coconut oil is the perfect remedy to treat your condition and get immediate relief.
To use coconut oil to soften dead skin cells and get rid of chapped feet, you must apply virgin coconut oil directly to the affected area before going to bed. Massage a generous amount of coconut oil into the skin lasting 2 to 3 minutes until the skin softens and no longer cracks. Put on some clean cotton socks and then wash your feet in the morning.
Apply coconut oil regularly to keep the skin on your feet properly hydrated and to prevent a build-up of dead and dry skin cells. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil will also help keep feet smelling fresh and free from infections, such as athlete’s foot.
You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil before massaging your cracked feet. Lavender oil helps hydrate the skin and provides a very rich fragrance for your feet.
Lemon juice for dry feet
Lemon juice is another great natural remedy to get rid of dry, flaky skin on your feet. Lemon juice contains a high amount of citric acid, and according to podiatrist Dr. Marc Katz, lemon juice helps dissolve dead, dry skin easier.
To use lemon juice to loosen dead skin cells, do the following:
- Put equal amounts of warm water and lemon juice in a container that is large enough to comfortably fit both feet. There should be enough of the lemon and water mixture to cover at least the heels.
- Let your feet soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Use a pumice stone or pedicure file to loosen dead, flaky skin on your feet and heels.
- Rinse your feet in warm water and dry completely.
Lemon juice can dry out your skin, so always make sure to moisturize well with coconut oil or olive oil to prevent your feet from drying out further.
One way to hydrate your feet and treat dead skin cells is to use glycerin. Glycerin is an organic compound and its common sources are animal fat or vegetable oil.
Glycerin is highly hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs water from the air. It is able to retain moisture in the skin and prevent feet from drying out by becoming flaky.
Glycerin can help prevent and treat dry, rough, scaly, and itchy skin. In fact, studies on the efficacy of glycerin as a moisturizer found it to be very effective in treating dry skin.
You can make your own topical application with glycerin and lemon juice to soften hard, dry skin on your feet. Glycerin locks in moisture making your skin smoother and lemon juice helps dissolve dead skin cells.
- Mix 1 tbsp. glycerin and 1 tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Apply the mixture on your feet and leave it on for 20 minutes.
- Wash with clean hot water and pat dry feet with a clean towel.
Apply the mixture of lemon juice and glycerin to your feet every day for about 2 weeks to treat the symptoms of cracked feet.
Like lemon juice, vinegar’s acidic properties can help dissolve dead skin cells on your feet and help them feel soft. Added to this, vinegar also contains antibacterial properties that can help to kill foot infections and eliminate any odor on them.
To help get rid of dry feet, mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts hot water in a large bowl. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and then pat dry. Repeat this once or twice a week until the symptoms are completely gone.
Honey is an amazing home remedy for many skin problems, including healing dry and cracked feet. Like glycerin, it has hygroscopic properties that help hydrate the rough skin on the feet. You can use honey as part of a relaxing foot bath to soothe dry skin and loosen dead skin cells, or you can apply honey directly to cracked heels for immediate relief from discomfort and pain.
Applying honey to cracked feet can also help treat and prevent any infection that develops on the open skin. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, showed that honey is rich in antimicrobial properties and can help clear skin infections quickly.
To help remove dead skin cells from your feet and soften them, you can make a foot bath by dissolving a few tablespoons of honey in a large bowl of warm water. Soak your feet in the water for 20 minutes and then dry them carefully.
If you suffer from severely cracked heels, you should massage a generous amount of honey into the affected area. Put on some clean socks and let the honey work to soften the dead skin on your heels. After a few hours, remove your socks and rinse your feet with warm water.
Oatmeal for cracked feet
For relief from rough, dry and itchy feet, you can use oatmeal to hydrate your feet and reduce the discomfort caused by itching.
A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that oatmeal is an effective way to combat dry skin, reduce flaking, and relieve itching. At the same time, the oatmeal also cleanses the skin which means you don’t have to use harsh soaps that can dry your feet even further.
If you want to use oatmeal to soften cracked feet, please follow this recipe:
- In a large bowl, put enough hot water to cover your feet.
- Mix a cup of oatmeal and mix well.
- Let your feet soak for 30 minutes until they are soft and cool.
- Rinse with clean warm water and dry completely.
You can also use the oatmeal from your foot bath as a natural foot scrub to loosen dead skin cells and get rid of chapped skin. All you have to do is, while your feet are soaking, take some of the oatmeal mixture in your hand and gently exfoliate your feet to remove dead skin cells from your feet.
How to avoid dry feet and cracked heels
There are also many practical ways to prevent your feet from becoming dry and cracked. Of course, if you regularly use the natural remedies for cracked feet in this article, you will prevent dead, flaky skin from developing on your feet. However, Dr. Marc Katz recommends the following to prevent dry feet:
- Avoid harsh soaps and bubble baths that can dry out your skin.
- Don’t use very hot water to wash your feet as it can contribute to dry feet.
- Wear comfortable shoes that allow your feet to breathe.
- Keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable level and use a humidifier if you have dry air in your home.
- Avoid saunas and steam rooms, if possible.