Winter air is ruthless, and robs us of what little moisture our skin has, making us the human equivalent of a raisin. Okay, that may be a little extreme; but the drying effect it has on us is undeniable. The dry skin on the feet, especially our heels, split apart in winter. Apart from being unsightly, they may also lead to infections. Here is all you need to know about cracked heels and how to cure them.
What causes cracked heels?
We spent a lot of time, money, and effort on our faces, but often ignore our feet. Lack of hygiene and neglect is what leads to cracked heels.
Lack of moisture – When it comes to the causes of cracked feet, lack of moisture takes the trophy. The skin around our heels has a relatively smaller number of sweat glands making it more susceptible to roughness and dryness. Dry skin will be less elastic making it easy to crack and bleed
Improper diet – If your diet is lacking in vitamins, minerals, and zinc, it may take a toll on your heel health.
Aging – As you get older, the probability of sporting a cracked heel increase. With age, our skin loses its elasticity and cracks easily.
Obesity – Obesity has many hampering effects on your overall health and heels are no exception. The excess weight can increase the pressure on the fat pad under the heel causing it to expand sideways. If the skin is not flexible enough to accommodate the expansion, it will lead to cracked heels.
Wrong Footwear – Ill-fitting shoes contribute to heel pain and cracked heels. Likewise, if you use footwear that exposes your feet like open-backed shoes or sandals, it will increase the possibility of getting cracked heels.
Three effective ways of treating cracked heels
You don’t need expensive foot scrubs or medicine to treat cracked feet. There are a number of things you can grab from your kitchen counter that will help heal the split skin on your heels. A little care goes a long way and does wonders for your heel heath. Here are a few natural remedies you can try at home.
- Vinegar + Listerine
Mix one cup of white vinegar and one cup of Listerine in two cups of warm water. After soaking your feet in the mixture for 15 minutes, scrub your feet with a pumice stone to remove the dead skin. Once you are done, rinse with clean water. Pat dry and moisturize. You can do this every day until the cracks disappear.
- Honey + Vinegar + Rice flour
Mix all three ingredients to create a thick scrub. Use 3 tsp of rice flour, 1 tsp of honey, and 2-3 drops of apple cider vinegar. Before applying the scrub, soak your feet in warm water first, for about 10 minutes. Apply the paste using a brush and scrub to remove dead skin. The vinegar in the scrub will soften the dead skin making it easy to scrub off. The antiseptic property of honey will help in healing the cracked skin.
- Aloe Vera Gel
Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes and scrub the dead skin off. Pat dry your feet and apply freshly scooped aloe vera gel on the affected area. Wear cotton socks and go to bed. Wash it off in the morning with lukewarm water. Repeat the process every day for 4-5 days to get soft supple heels. Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in healing wounds.
Here are a few tips to keep your feet happy
- Moisturize your feet with a good foot cream or baby oil before bed.
- Apply Vaseline on the heel cracks.
- Get a pedicure once a month if you are prone to wearing open sandals.
- Treat your feet to an herbal scrub and remove the dry skin build up once a week.
- Wear cotton socks to protect your feet from weather, dust, and pollution.