Dry cracked heels: causes, prevention, remedies and treatments

Ultimate guide to the best dry heels care


nice soft feet

Our feet work very hard. They walk, they run and take use to where wherever we need to go. We stick our feet into very uncomfortable shoes, we make put up with high heels, or tolerate no shoes at all.   We expose our feet to cold and heat, we put them in water or wrap them in layers of socks, tights or nylons. The bottom line our feet work hard and get exposed to many different things. 

So it is very important to remember about our feet and take good care of them. 

What causes calluses and cracked heels?

Some of the reasons people have problems with heels skin are the following:

  • Overexposure to water like taking hot baths and showers very often 
  • Overusing high-strength soaps
  • Diabetes
  • Neglecting regular feet care: poor hygiene and not using appropriate moisturizers for feet
  • Dehydration or not drinking enough water
  • Tight uncomfortable shoes
  • Cold winter weather
  • Walking bare feet on hard surfaces
  • Genetics
  • Long-standing at work or at home
  • Increased weight
  • Feet conditions like fungal infections
  • Deficiency in vitamins and minerals such as zinc

….and so on

(There are also medical reasons for people to have cracked heels, but I’m not going to explore those in this post.  In any event it is very advisable to seek medical attention and undergo regular doctor check ups.)

Our feet do not contain large amount of oil glands in comparison to the rest of our body.  Oil glands are responsible for lubricating and moisturizing our skin.  Because we do not have many oil glands to moisturize our feet, our feet become dry very fast.

Layers of dead skin on feet accumulate over time.  Tight shoes or waking bare feet also causes skin on feet and large toes to harden.  Layers of dead and hard skin cause calluses.  Blood vessels cannot go into calluses and cannot deliver blood supply, oxygen and nutrients.  Thick, dead skin becomes over dry and cracks open.

Dry cracked feet


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How to avoid dry feet and calluses formation?

  • The best ways to prevent dry and even cracked heels are to have comfortable footwear and use heel balms or oil based moisturizers twice a day. Avoid using creams that contain alcohol or any other drying ingredients. 
  • Cracked heel creams containing urea are very helpful to soften up extremely dry skin and areas. Urea is a type of salt; water goes wherever salt is. So applying urea containing creams attracts water to an affected area.

Open Natural Urea 40% Foot Cream  – this cream will help you to remove thick, callused areas, helps repair cracked heels by relaxing and hydrating dry skin and soles. Formulated with the most potent and therapeutic ingredients, including pure Tea Tree Oil + Aloe 200X + Chamomile Extract and more.

XEROLYS 50 HEALING UREA CREAM 50%  a skin care product with calluses and has keratolytic and moisturizing effect: hands, elbows, feet.  It is one of the strongest urea containing creams available over the counter.

  • Look for feet care products that contain salicylic acid, Alpha hydroxy acid, and petroleum jelly. 
  • Exfoliate your feet using exfoliating gloves. I strongly suggest not to use pumice stone, because it is harsh and removes dead skin abruptly.  You feet might feel nice right after using pumice stone.  However, your body will compensating for harshly removed layers.  In no time your feel will regrow much thicker skin.  
dry feet exfoliating gloves

       So use the exfoliating gloves to exfoliate your feet. Exfoliating gloves do remove dead skin buildup, but they do it in a very      gentle way.

  • Special moisturizing socks can also be a huge help for your dry skin. Those bandages will soften dry skin and promote delivery of nutrients and moisture to dry areas.
  • You can also purchase shoes insoles. Insoles redistribute pressure on your heels and allow affected areas to heal and regain blood supply.
  • Drink plenty of water and reassess your diet. You should include foods with omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats to promote adequate nutrition intake.

What to do when best creams for dry cracked heels, moisturizing socks and exfoliation don’t work?

I personally had a very long and somewhat traumatizing journey with my feet.  I always used pumice stone to get rid of dry and old skin.  However my feet kept on getting dryer and dryer and more and more calluses built up.  At one point my soles of my feet felt as hard as a rock and I was very, very close to cracked feet.

I tried a Listerine foot soak that is very famous on Pinterest.  It did help a little bit but it did not eliminate the problem. 

I tried using paraffin to soften up the skin;  I tried using creams, oils, moisturizers and lubricating bandages.  They helped somewhat but again they did not provide me with the results I wanted. 

I realized that I had hard as a rock dead skin and that I needed something stronger and more effective than just creams and moisturizing socks. I neglected my feet for too long and creams only relieved the symptoms but did not get rid of dead dry skin on my feet.

So, I decided to try chemical peel.

Chemical Peel At Home

I must say that to date this is the only procedure that keeps my feet soft and without dead skin build up.

I decided to make a separate post for it, so all information is not mixed up.

Please, follow THIS LINK to read about chemical peel that you can do at home.

5 thoughts on “Dry cracked heels: causes, prevention, remedies and treatments

  1. “Hi,

    You have a great blog! Thank you for posting and sharing these helpful tips. I have dry layered dead skin or cracked heels. It’s a total mess for me seeing those callouses on my feet that I can’t even wear sandals. I will try a few tips on your article coupled with a few from here as well. https://beverlyhillsmd.com/spider-veins/ Let us see how it goes. “

    1. Hi! My feet have been horrible until the age of 40 when I learned on my own how to take care of my feet properly. I was told to schmere crisco over my feet, especially where it’s cracked and tough skin. Wrap with plastic wrap, put socks on and leave overnight. I wake up with considerably better feet! Make sure u do this at night and use caution u don’t slip and fall. Often my feet feel too warm in the middle of the night and I remove them. At any rate they are WAY better! This has literally saved the health of my feet when before all I could do was hobble with deep bleeding cracks. Best of luck!

  2. What can you do if you absolutely cant wear socks at night. I have put vicks and socks on but, have to take off can not leave them on my feet.

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