No matter how well-dressed you are, there’s one thing no amount of makeup or fancy threads can cover up – and that’s cracked feet! If you have a mild case of dry or cracked heels, act now so it doesn't get out of hand. And if the soles of your feet look like an arid desert, your feet will thank you for these all natural remedies.
Does the thought of having to remove your shoes or sandals in company give you the jitters? If you have unsightly cracks running along your heel, it is easy to understand why. Yet, the remedy for cracked feet is often right there in your own home. You can also fix them naturally with some help from Ayurveda or homeopathy. So stop fretting over why store-bought remedies aren’t fixing this problem, go natural, and give your tootsies a real treat.
Avoid soaking your feet or having very hot showers as this can cause your feet to dry out. Instead, clean well during a shower or bath with lukewarm water. Some therapists suggest using sugar as a natural exfoliant on dry feet to clean them up well and slough off dry skin. The British Homeopathic Association also suggests a quick warm salt water soak at the end of each day.1
Be Gentle And Cover Up
Pat your feet dry when you are done with a bath or soak. Don’t be rough, as this could cause threads from the towel to get stuck in the cracks. Put on a pair of clean, soft socks made with cotton or natural fabrics and wear footwear all the time. Don’t use rough material like wool directly on cracked skin as it can make it worse.2 Your footwear could be contributing to the problem, so avoid wearing high heels or flip flops for lengths of time.
If you (like most people) take care to moisturize your face and even arms and legs but ignore your feet, you probably have very dry feet. The feet are already drier than most other body parts, so you need to work at keeping them soft and supple. Moisturize multiple times a day. If you have a medical condition like athlete’s foot or diabetes or are elderly, your feet may be drier than normal. This is usually because of reduced blood flow, damaged nerves, or, in the case of diabetics, high levels of blood glucose.3
Tap Into The Power Of Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils like sunflower seed oil aren’t just great for consumption – they can really help with dry skin too. One study found that sunflower seed oil can improve hydration of the skin it is applied on, and that too without damaging the skin barrier – something that’s important if you already have cracked feet.4 Coconut oil and its powers are more than the stuff of lore, with scientific evidence backing up its benefits as a skin softener and moisturizer. Virgin coconut oil in particular is very effective. It also doesn’t cause any adverse reactions and is perfect for sensitive skin.5
Say Hello To Aloe!
The gel-like substance from the aloe vera plant’s fleshy leaves makes a great moisturizer and can heal and soften your skin. Grow a plant in your garden or backyard to use whenever cracked heels arise. Just chop one leaf off to extract the healing gel and apply to the affected area for cooling relief.6 You could also add turmeric to the gel for its antiseptic and healing properties.7
Ayurvedic And Herbal Remedies
Cracked heels, also known as “padadari” in Ayurveda, are a vata disorder. Typical treatment involves snehana or medical oil application, swedana or mild sweating, lepana or the use of herbal creams applied to the affected area, and kledana or moisturizing. A paste made from ghee and haritaki, a form of tropical almond, has been found to be very useful when applied to cracked feet. It helps ease the burning sensation and dryness typical of cracked feet and also offers relief if you have fissures on your heel.8 Another treatment involves the use of gairikadi lepam, a red clay-based remedy, to reduce scaling, cracks, and pain associated with padadari.9
If you have dry fissures on the outside edges of the soles or heels, with itching and burning that gets worse during the night, your homeopath may prescribe Antimonium crudum. Petroleum-based remedies are recommended for skin that’s very dry and sensitive. Rough and cracked skin that bleeds easily also benefits from this treatment. Sulfur-based remedies help those with dry, scaly, itchy or burning skin that worsens when washed or scratched. If you’re unfortunate enough to have oozy eruptions or cracks in the skin between your toes in addition to those on your heels, graphite-based treatment helps.10
References [ + ]
|1, 10.||↑||Top 5 reasons we visit the podiatrist, British Homeopathic Association.|
|2.||↑||Dry skin – self-care, US National Library of Medicine.|
|3.||↑||Diabetes and Foot Problems, NIDDK.|
|4.||↑||Danby, Simon G., Tareq AlEnezi, Amani Sultan, Tina Lavender, John Chittock, Kirsty Brown, and Michael J. Cork. “Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care.” Pediatric dermatology 30, no. 1 (2013): 42-50.|
|5, 6.||↑||Gediya, Shweta K., Rajan B. Mistry, Urvashi K. Patel, M. Blessy, and Hitesh N. Jain. “Herbal plants: used as a cosmetics.” J. Nat. Prod. Plant Resour 1, no. 1 (2011): 24-32.|
|7.||↑||Graf, J. “Herbal anti-inflammatory agents for skin disease.” Skin Therapy Lett 5, no. 4 (2000): 3-5.|
|8.||↑||Ediriweera, Sujatha, K. K. V. S. Peshala, K. M. S. P. Perera, and A. M. H. Y. Perera. “A clinical Study on effect of paste of Haritaki in Padadari (Cracked Feet).” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM) 2, no. 8 (2014): 2-5.|
|9.||↑||Pramodani, M. P. N., and K. P. P. Peiris. “A study on the efficacy of Gairikadilepa in the management of Padadari.” (2014).|