Feet take a major beating. They keep us standing tall, support our entire body weight, and get us wherever we need to go. That’s why it's very hard to believe that even after all this, most people don't take proper care of their feet.
One of the most common foot problems is dry feet, a condition that may eventually cause cracked heels. Dry, cracked heels are not only ugly to look at, but they can also be a source of pain and embarrassment.
Like the palms of our hands, the bottom of our feet has no oil glands which forces the feet to rely on sweat glands for hydration and moisture.
What Causes Dry and Cracked Feet?
Dry feet are often caused by two different conditions: lack of moisture and fungal infections on the surface of your feet.
However, dry feet can also be caused by:
- Standing for prolonged periods of time
- Using soaps that are too harsh on the skin
- Cold weather
- Excessive exposure to water
- Being overweight
- Wearing improper footwear
- Suffering from conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, thyroid disease, or diabetes
What Do Cracked and Dry Feet Look Like?
Not sure if you have dry and cracked feet? Check for the following symptoms:
- Red or flaky patches on the feet
- Peeling skin
- Bleeding from the cracks
- Pain in the feet
Complications of Cracked and Dry Feet Cause
Severely cracked and dry feet, if left untreated, can lead to even worse problems such as infections, difficulty walking, itching, and burning of the feet.
Special care should be taken if you suffer from any of the following conditions:
- Flat feet
- Athlete's foot
- Fungal infections
- Heel spurs
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Juvenile plantar dermatosis
Cracked and dry feet can lead to infection and extreme pain. The good news is that there are several ways that you can alleviate the symptoms of and treat dry and cracked feet, all in the comfort of your own home.
How to treat dry and cracked feet
1. Give Your Feet a Good Scrub Session
Before you head off to bed, let your feet soak in a tub of hot water with some liquid soap mixed in. Be sure to use a pumice stone to gently scrub off the loosened dead skin. Then rinse off your feet with clean water and pat them dry.
Apply a generous amount of moisturizing foot balm and put on a clean pair of cotton socks for the night.
2. The Coconut Oil Rub
Coconut oil is great for treating dry and cracked skin because it moisturizes the skin and fights bacterial infections due to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
For soft feet, soak your feet in warm water for about 20 minutes and then scrub with a loofah. Properly dry your feet and then lather on a generous amount of coconut oil before putting on a pair of clean cotton socks for the night.
In the morning, remove the socks and wash your feet.
3. The Paraffin Wax
Paraffin wax works well to remove dead and dry skin on cracked feet. It’s also a natural emollient that helps soften up the skin that doesn’t strip away any of the skin’s natural oils.
For the wax, heat some paraffin wax in the microwave and then add an equal amount of coconut oil to the wax. Apply the paste on the cracks or dry patches of skin on your feet and leave it to sit overnight.
In the morning, you can wash your feet thoroughly to remove any residue.
4. The Glycerin Rub
Glycerin has moisturizing and humectant properties which makes it an excellent choice for treating and healing cracked and dry feet.
For the rub, mix up equal parts of water, glycerin, and lemon juice and apply the mix to your feet. Let it sit for a good 20 minutes before rinsing it off with clean water.
5. The Tea Tree Epsom Salt Soak
Not only does Epsom salt have a high magnesium concentrate that promotes skin healing and detoxification, but it also helps improve circulation, bumping up the healing process even more.
For soaking, fill a foot tub with warm water and then mix in a capful of our Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak. Let your feet soak in the solution for about 10 minutes and then gently scrub your feet with a pumice stone to get rid of loosened dead skin cells.
After scrubbing, allow your feet to soak for another 10 minutes and then dry off your feet and then slap on a generous amount of moisturizing foot balm.
6. The Foot Mask
This foot mask is rich and luxurious and provides your feet with that much-needed moisture it’s craving.
For soaking, mix ½ cup of raw stone salt, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of glycerin, and 10 drops of rosewater into half a bucket of warm water. Let your feet soak in the rich solution for about 15 minutes and then gently scrub of loosened skin by using a pumice stone.
Alternatively, mix 5 teaspoons of glycerin, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 8 drops of rosewater to form a paste and then apply the paste on the problem areas. Leave this paste on overnight and then rinse it off in the morning with warm water and mild soap.
7. The Banana Bomb
Bananas have excellent healing properties and can help treat and prevent cracked and dry feet.
For the treatment, mash about 2 ripe bananas to create a smooth paste and then apply the paste to the problem areas. Leave it on your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes and then wash it off using warm water.
8. The Exfoliating Scrub
For the scrub, mix together 4 teaspoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and ½ a cup of coarse rice flour powder.
Before using the scrub, soak your feet in warm water for 20 minutes, dry your feet off, and then apply the scrub to the soles of your feet. Leave the mix on your feet overnight and rinse it off with clean water in the morning.
9. The Honey Soak
Because honey has such great moisturizing and antibacterial properties, it’s a great preventative measure as well as a treatment for dry and cracked feet.
For soaking, mix one cup of pure raw honey into a bucket of warm water and allow your feet to soak in the solution for 20 minutes. Gently scrub your feet with a pumice stone to get rid of loose skin and then pat your feet dry.
Getting Rid of Calluses
Like cracked heels and dry feet, calluses are formed as a result of improper foot care.
Calluses are your skin’s natural defense mechanism for protecting itself from pressure or friction caused by high-heeled shoes, shoes that are too small, obesity, flat feet, high-arched feet, bony prominences, and the loss of the fat pad at the bottom of the foot.
Some calluses are more severe than others due to a deep-seated core known as a nucleation. These types of calluses can be particularly painful, and the condition is known as an Intractable Plantar Keratosis.
What Do Calluses Look Like?
Calluses may be hard to identify at first as they can be confused with other foot conditions or formations. Calluses commonly develop as a result of excessive rubbing against the hands or feet and can be identified by the following signs:
- Thick and hard patches of skin on the feet
- A bump on the skin
- An area of flaky and often dry skin
- Can be accompanied by pain and tenderness in the affected area
- Calluses usually appear on the ball of the foot, the heel or the inside of the big toe.
What Can Be Done to Treat and Get Rid of Calluses?
There are many effective and easy-to-make foot scrubs for calluses so that you can get rid of calluses and corns in the comfort of your own home. Foot soaks for calluses are a great way to prevent extreme measures like cutting them off.
Using a foot soak or foot scrub for calluses is also an excellent way of taking preventative care to ensure that you don’t become a victim of recurring foot corns and calluses.
How to Treat Calluses at Home
While you might think extreme measures are going to alleviate the pain, cutting or trimming a callus with a razor is NOT the way to go. It’s extremely dangerous and unsanitary, possibly leading to not only injuries but potentially nasty infections. Anything surgical should always be your very last resort and performed by a medical professional.
Often times, something as simple as just removing the source of constant pressure is enough to let the callus heal on its own; however, calluses may be stubborn which is why we have compiled some great natural home remedies for foot calluses.
Here are 6 of the best ways to naturally remove calluses. From foot soaks for calluses to scrubs and everything in-between, we’ve rounded up the best home remedies for the treatment and prevention of calluses on the feet.
1. The Epsom Salt & Tea Tree Oil Soak
This is probably one of the easiest ways to treat foot calluses. Epsom salt helps to soften the affected area making it easier to scrub the dead skin away. Tea tree oil for calluses helps alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation.
For this natural callus foot soak, fill a foot tub with warm water and then add 1 cup of Rocky Mountain Essentials Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak, stir it up and then soak your feet in there for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once you are done soaking, use a pumice stone to scrub off all the dead skin on the affected area. Remember to use circular motions when scrubbing. Rinse and dry your feet properly once you are done. Pro Tip: Always apply a thick foot cream after this soak to keep the skin moisturized.
2. The Apple Cider Vinegar Zap
Apple cider works wonders for treating calluses due to its acidic nature that softens up hard skin and speeds up the healing process.
For this method, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and then tape it to the callus before going to bed. In the morning, exfoliate the callus with a pumice stone and then apply a natural moisturizer like olive oil or coconut oil.
Baking soda is a natural exfoliant-- meaning it’s an excellent option to remove dead skin cells and promote the production of new ones. This is why baking soda is naturally an excellent remedy for calluses of all kinds.
For the soak, mix three tablespoons of baking soda into a foot tub filled with hot water. You’ll have to let your feet soak in there for at least 10 minutes and then wash and scrub your feet with a pumice stone once you are done soaking.
4. The Aspirin Paste
Aspirin helps soften up hard skin and can also help alleviate pain in the source itself. For this porokeratosis foot home remedy, crush 6 aspirin tablets to create a fine powder then mix in ½ teaspoon of lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon of water to make a nice thick paste. Apply the paste to the callus then wrap your foot with a plastic bag.
Next, wrap the bag around your foot with a warm towel and let it sit for 10 minutes. Once you take off the coverings, make sure to properly rinse your foot and then gently scrub the affected area with a pumice stone to get rid of dead skin. Apply a natural moisturizer to keep the affected area hydrated.
5. The Bread and Vinegar Solution
Using bread and vinegar for foot problems may sound strange, but it does work wonders. Using a paste of bread and distilled vinegar helps soften up the callus and reduces the risk of it getting infected. Before you get started, however, you’ll need to thoroughly wash and scrub your feet with a pumice stone and then pat them dry.
For the paste, soak a ½ slice of bread in a ½ cup of white vinegar. Next, you’re going to put the soaked bread over the callus and wrap it all up with a bandage. Go to bed and try to forget about the callus for one night. In the morning you can take off the bandage and apply a good moisturizing lotion.
6. The Lemon Peel Punch
You can use lemon juice or the peel of a lemon, though using the peel yields better results. The acidity of the lemon helps get rid of calluses and alleviates discomfort.
For the patch, take a small piece of lemon peel and cover the callus with a bandage to keep it in place. Leave the peel on overnight and replace it with a fresh piece of peel in the morning. Using this daily for a couple of days in a row should remove the callus.
Try Natural First
It’s clear that you don’t need to resort to drastic measures like cutting or medical treatment to get rid of pesky calluses or cracked heels. Before you even consider extreme measures, try natural remedies that can be used in the comfort of your own home.