About Cracked Heels
According to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment (latest study), 20% of all American adults 21+ report having suffered from “Cracking of the skin on feet”. This breaks down with 16% for men, and 25% for women.
Having cracked heels, or severely dry skin on your heels is not a big issue for some of us. But, if you’re reading this article, you are looking for answers on how to heal your cracked heels, and do it in a way that works well and fast.
Cracked heels are particularly a problem if they are not treated fast, as they can be very painful, stop you from wearing appropriate footwear, or worse, they can bleed and become infected. Either way, there is no reason to live with painful cracked heels when there are solutions.
1. Use the best cracked heels repair creams
We will tackle DIY cracked heels remedies below, but there are many proven solutions already that work to heal your painful cracks. Everyone is different, so here is a list of some of the best resources out there.
- Urea based creams (SkinIntegra Rapid Crack Repair Cream).
- Top Amazon.com creams for cracked heels (list here).
- Glycerin rich creams or oils (list here).
- Any plant oil rich in Omega Fatty Acids.
Before you apply any cream or oil you buy, make sure you do a patch test on your leg, or arm with a small pea-sized drop. If you have any allergic or irritated reaction, it will be localized and you don’t have to apply it to your cracked heels, making the experience even worse.
One popular solution to cracked heels is to apply petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, based products (Vaseline). While petrolatum is an occlusive (it protects the skin), it is also a mineral oil derived from the biproduct of refining petroleum (crude oil). While there are benefits of using the jelly, we always recommend using plant-based products as they are just as effective, but are a lot less risky to use as they often do not contain irritants, or negative side-effect.
2. Have a relaxing foot soak and exfoliate your cracked heels
The main reason your skin has cracked is that it has been dry for a long period of time. Your natural skin barrier is now dehydrated, and because this has been going on for a while, the barrier has broken, and cracks appear. So, the best way to rehydrate he skin and promote skin barrier regeneration is to hydrate!
Simple foot soak steps:
- Draw some warn water into your bathtub or a small foot soak container.
NOTE: DO NOT make the water too warm as this will increase dehydration and increase the breakdown of your skin barrier. Keep the temperature between 92F and 100F. Don’t let the water go above 104F,
- Soak for 20 minutes.
- Now that your feet are well hydrated, look at your cracked heels and feel where the skin is hardest. Use a pumice stone to gently scrub away the hard dry skin. But be careful as to not push too hard with the stone as this can lead to bleeding, especially if you have neuropathy, and can’t feel your extremities well. If you don’t want to use a pumice stone, use a wash cloth, or a loofah, as they can be gentler.
- Gently pat dry your feet, but try to leave some water on.
- Apply a cream or oil designed to repair cracked heels.
- Put on some socks to allow your skin to absorb the moisture from the soak and the cream or oil.
You can perform this routine at night before bed, and keep your socks on while you sleep. This will give you the maximum protection and time for your soak and cream combination to work. If you cannot sleep with socks on, try to leave your socks on at least 10 mins after the foot soak to give you cracked heels some time to absorbs it all.
3. Use any plant oils with high levels of Omega Fatty acids
Plant oils are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and Omega Fatty Acids to restore and maintain your skin barrier. Omega-3 rich plant oils are the best for cracked heels as these omegas do a wonderful job at softening your skin and improving skin hydration. Most oils you see at the grocery store are high in Omega-6s, are also very useful in repairing the skin barrier, but we already eat lots of them in our diet, so putting even more on our already dry cracked skin probably isn’t going to do much. But there are lots of plant oils out there, so you can use the list below to test out he ones that work for you.
- Chia Seed Oil
- Walnut Seed Oil
- Flax Seed Oil
- Canola Oil
- Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil (perfect Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratio)
- Sacha Inchi Seed Oil
- Longer list of plant oils and there omega content
You can replace the cream in the foot soak described above with one of the oils above. Simply apply a small amount of the chosen oil onto the cracked area and rub it in for a few minutes to make sure it is fully absorbed. Make sure you try and remember to put on socks after this step so you don’t slip and fall after wards.
You can also look at our Ultra Nourishing Oil which contains many plant seed oils designed to repair the skin barrier, and also contain Sacha Inchi seed Oil and Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil, to help repair those pesky cracked heels.
Take care of your feet
If you are having cracked heels regularly, make sure you speak to your doctor about it. It could be a simple solution like changing footwear which rubs against your heels and causes the cracks to appear, or the signs of a more serious issues like diabetes, or another chronic skin condition.