You came home; it is the middle of winter and…
The skin on your feet, unlike that on the rest of your body, has no oil glands. It has to rely on sweat glands to keep moisturized. Your feet can become dry for a number of reasons, but there are ways to prevent it from happening. Here’s a look at possible causes and prevention techniques for dry and cracked feet.
Dry Foot Symptoms
Dry feet usually stem from another problem. They are often characterized by cracks or fissures in the foot, redness, itchiness, rough, flaking or peeling skin, and rashes as a result of excessive itching.
Dry feet are a result of lack of hydration in the skin. This is commonly caused by overly hot baths and showers, skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, drying soaps, medical conditions like thyroid disease or diabetes, cold weather, low humidity levels indoors, aging and lengthy sun exposure.
Unfortunately, there are complications common for those who experience dry skin on their feet. Although generally mild at first, symptoms may begin to worsen and develop into more severe problems. The dry skin around the heel can cause deep cracks that become painful. These can lead to skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis, difficulty walking, discomfort caused by long periods of standing, burning and itchiness, and expensive treatment.
Dry foot treatment often begins by diagnosing the cause. People who are prone to dry skin must make sure that their feet are constantly moisturized with oil, ointment, or cream. Baby lotion is a commonly used treatment and should be applied to feet after bathing. Mild moisturizing soaps should be used on the skin, and staying hydrated in general is important.
If your dry feet are caused by an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, treatment may lie in the control of the condition.
Preventing Dry Feet
Prevention is always the preferred treatment. You can avoid dry skin on your feet by discussing over the counter creams and moisturizers with your doctor. Avoid rubbing and scratching the affected area. Opt instead for applying cold compresses and ice packs applied to the affected area.
Avoid washing too often, and do not use fragrant soaps, bubble baths or other drying products. Be gentle with skin; pat dry instead of rubbing and use lukewarm water as opposed to hot. Stay away from steam baths and saunas, and moisturize after each time your feet come into contact with water.
Wear shoes that let your feet breathe. Use a humidifier indoors to help keep air moist and avoid caffeine and alcohol which can exacerbate itching.
At Home Remedies
There are some at home treatments which have proven effective:
- Soak feet in lemon juice for ten minutes to dissolve dry and dead skin. Use a loofah or foot brush to scrub off.
- Mix a spoonful of olive oil with a few drops of lavender or lemon oil. Shake to form a milky solution and apply to cracked heels as needed.
- Slather your feet in vegetable oils after bathing. Put on thick socks and wear to bed. Results should appear in a few days.
- Combine juice from one whole lemon with a teaspoon of Vaseline. Apply to clean feet and put on wool socks to keep in moisture. Wear to bed and exfoliate in the morning.
Do you have dry, cracked feet? How do you keep it in check? Let us know!