If you’re a fan of flip-flops and going barefoot during the warm summer months, you may go into the fall season with damaged feet. Sun exposure, rough surfaces, and a general lack of protection can lead to dry, cracked heels, an increase in calluses, and an overall rough appearance.
We tend to cover up as the weather gets colder, but what about holiday parties? You may be donning heels for those. Plus, you want to be prepared for the harsh, cold winter ahead, which can also be hard on your feet. And then there’s your significant other—do you really want to be scratching that person under the blankets with dry, rough heels?
Here are some tips to help you recover softer, more attractive feet.
Going barefoot can result in tough, leathery skin,
especially on your heels.
How Feet Suffer in the Elements
The skin on our feet can be particularly susceptible to damage because, unlike the skin on the rest of the body, it’s naturally dry. It has no oil glands, and is moisturized only by sweat glands. If you’re outside a lot, your feet are probably sweating less, which means they can quickly dry out. Medical conditions like diabetes can also cause dry feet.
When feet get dry, they get uncomfortable. You may experience itchiness, redness, roughness and flaking, and even cracks in the skin. Feet are also susceptible to sun damage. We don’t often think about it, but we can just as easily speed up dryness, damage, and aging on the feet by exposing them to the sun as we can any other skin on the body. In fact, the tops of the feet are an easy place to get sunburned, leaving them vulnerable to skin cancer.
The popularity of flip-flops and sandals also increase the odds that your heels will get worse over the summer. These shoes naturally take a toll on heels, causing dryness and cracking, which can sometimes lead to painful fissures. Shoes can also cause new calluses that look and feel rough.
Natural Treatments to Pamper Feet
Fortunately, with a little TLC, you can bring your feet back to top condition. Try these steps:
- Soak: It all starts with a nourishing, softening soak. Either in the bath or in a foot basin, add warm water, Epsom salts, and perhaps a little jojoba or other moisturizing oil. You can also add oatmeal. Soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Exfoliate: The next step is to get rid of that dry, rough skin. Use a pumice stone on your heels, and try our Dead Sea Scrub on any rough areas. Do be cautious not to rub too hard.
- Moisturize: After you’ve rinsed and dried your feet, moisturize right away! You need a deep moisturizer that will penetrate even the roughened skin. We recommend either our Coconut Body Oil or our Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion, both of which penetrate quickly with natural essential fatty acids.
- Treat: If you have cracks or fissures, these need extra care. We recommend smoothing on some of our Coconut Honey Mask. The coconut will provide deep moisturization. You can also try natural oils like jojoba, safflower, and olive to moisturize, and add a bit of tea tree oil. Mashed bananas left on the crack for about 10 minutes can also help. If you can apply a couple times daily, you will recover more quickly.
- Soothe overnight: If you want to make fast progress on softening your feet, treat them overnight. Apply one of the moisturizers mentioned above, then wear soft, cotton socks to bed. This will help lock in the moisture for hours, helping you wake to softer, smoother skin and heels.
- Fade calluses: If you’re struggling with stubborn calluses on the bottom of your feet, you can exfoliate them with the pumice stone after your soak, but you can also treat them at other times of the day with an emery board, foot buffer or diamancel file, all of which will gently help get rid of that dry, rough skin. Some experts also suggest a vinegar soak—simply add one cup of white vinegar to your hot water soak until your calluses start to disappear.
- Protect: After you’ve taken these steps, your feet will respond by becoming softer, more moisturized, and more comfortable. Now you need only to maintain your regular foot care. You can back off to soaking only a couple times a week, depending on how dry your feet get, but continue to moisturize every night and continue to wear your socks to bed after moisturizing about once a week.
Do you have other tips for softening feet and treating dry, cracked heels? Please share them!