Having cracked heels or heal fissures can be unsightly and painful. Generally, the skin under the feet is drier than the rest of the body because it doesn’t contain any oil glands. But due to certain factors like standing for too long, lack of moisture, accumulation of dead skin and improper care, the skin becomes very dry, calloused and cracked.
If not treated on time, they can lead to pain, bleeding and infections. With proper feet care routine, cracked heels can be treated completely. Let’s have a look at the routine you have to follow…
- Foot Soaking: This helps to loosen the dead skin, remove the accumulated impurities and deal with any bacteria or fungus thriving in the cracks. This should be followed by a foot scrub to remove the loosened dead skin. Repeat the foot soaking at least 2 – 3 times in a week.
- Foot Scrubbing: This helps to exfoliate the dead and flaky skin accumulated on the skin. It encourages the production of new and healthy skin cells. You have to exfoliate at least 2 – 3 times in a week.
- Foot Mask: Applying foot mask once in a while helps to nourish and hydrate the skin. You can apply foot mask once or twice in a week.
- Foot Cream or Moisturizers: As feet don’t have oil secreting glands, the skin always tends to be dry. Apply moisturizer daily after bathing and before going to bed. This helps the skin stay soft and supple.
Instead of using commercial foot care products, you can try home remedies for the foot care routine.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Cracked Heels
Here are the best 17 natural methods which help treating cracked heels. Include them into your foot care routine as per your preference.
1. Vinegar Foot Soak
White vinegar has acetic acid that gently softens your feet to remove dry, dead, cracked skin. But remember to dilute it, otherwise it may exacerbate the problem.
- Fill a basin with water and stir in 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
- Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes.
- Scrub gently and rinse with regular water and pat dry.
- Apply coconut oil, olive oil, or Shea butter.
- Repeat the process 3 times in a week.
Alternative Method: For a DIY foot soak using apple cider vinegar, you can use 3 – 4 cups of acv instead of white vinegar.
2. Listerine Foot Soak
Soaking in Listerine helps to soften and loosen the dead skin. It contains antiseptic properties, thymol and phytochemicals which help to heal the heel fissures.
- Take a bowl enough to soak your feet.
- Add 1 cup of Listerine, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar.
- Soak your feet in this solution for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Rinse with clean water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process 2 – 3 times in a week.
3. Baking Soda Foot Soak
Baking soda helps in removing the dead skin, soothes the dry skin and reduces the inflammation.
- Fill 2/3rd of the bucket with water.
- Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda into it and mix well.
- Soak your feet in this solution for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove your feet from the soak and scrub off the dead skin using pumice stone or pedicure filer.
- Rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process 2 – 3 times in a week.
Caution: As baking soda can dry out the skin, it is better to apply moisturizer after the process.
4. Peroxide Foot Soak
Hydrogen peroxide removes the dead skin tissue which helps to heal the cracks more quickly.
- Take a tub enough to soak your feet.
- Add 2 cups of lukewarm water and 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide.
- Let your feet soak for 30 minutes.
- Remove your feet and gently scrub using a pumice stone.
- Rinse with warm water and apply any foot cream.
- Repeat the process regularly.
Caution: If your cracks are bleeding or have open wounds then avoid using this process.
5. Honey and Milk Exfoliating Soak
Milk is rich in vitamin A and calcium, which help repair and rebuild damaged skin. Honey helps to seal moisture into skin while also fighting bacteria that could cause infection.
- Mix 1 cup of honey with 2 cups of milk and pour into a basin.
- Soak your feet in the mixture for 15 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, massage gently.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Repeat the process regularly to make your heels smooth and soft.
For added benefit: You can add 1/2 cup of orange juice.
6. Pumice Stone
The rough and gritty surface of pumice stone easily scrapes off the accumulated dead skin. This process should be followed only after soaking your feet in any DIY foot soaks mentioned above or after bathing.
- Soak your feet in any foot soak solution or warm water.
- After 15 minutes, using the pumice stone scrub off the dead skin.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process once in every 2 days.
7. Sugar and Baby Oil Foot Scrub
This combination is one of the best ways to easily remove the accumulated dead skin under the feet.
- Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of baby oil.
- Mix well and use this mixture to scrub your feet.
- After 15 minutes, rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process 3 – 4 times in a week if you have severe cracks. People with mild cracks can follow the process once in a week.
8. Salt and Essential Oil Scrub
If you are looking for relaxing and cleansing foot scrub then this combination is helpful for the same. Salt exfoliates the dead skin on the skin. You can use seal salt or Epsom salt for this process. Essential oils provides relaxing effect and deal with any bacteria causing infections in the cracks. You can use any essential oil like lavender oil, peppermint oil, Aragon oil or tea tree oil.
- Add few drops of essential oil to 1/2 cup of salt.
- Mix the ingredients well.
- Using this mixture, gently scrub the cracked feet for few minutes.
- Rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process 2 times in a week.
For extra exfoliating effect: Add ground coffee and corn meal to the mixture.
9. Rice Flour Foot Scrub
Rice Flour provides enough minerals to the skin which makes it soft and supple. Honey soothes the pain and irritation caused by the cracked skin.
- Combine 2 – 3 tablespoons of rice flour, few drops of honey and enough amounts of apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste.
- Apply this paste to the skin and gently massage for few minutes.
- Leave it on for another few minutes and rinse off with water.
- Pat dry and apply moisturizer.
Note: If you have extremely dry skin, then add 1 teaspoon of olive oil or almond oil.
10. Lemon and Vaseline Foot Mask
The citric acid of Lemon juice exfoliates the dead skin and kills the bacteria that cause infection. Vaseline moisturizes the skin leaving it soft and supple.
- Scrub feet with pumice stone.
- Wash and dry feet.
- Mix 1 teaspoon Vaseline with the juice of 1 lemon.
- Massage into heels until completely absorbed.
- Repeat the process daily.
11. Aloe Vera Foot Mask
Aloe Vera soothes the cracks, moisturizes the skin and heals the damage caused by the fissures.
- Crush a handful of basil leaves to make about 1 teaspoon of paste.
- Mix with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of camphor powder, and 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel.
- Massage this paste into the heels and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.
- Alternatively, you can just apply aloe vera gel.
12. Oatmeal and Olive Oil Foot Mask
The anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties of oatmeal exfoliate the dead skin cells and softens the cracked heels. Olive oil provides enough moisture to the dry skin.
- Combine 1 tablespoon powdered oatmeal and 4 – 5 drops of olive oil.
- Apply the mixture on the chapped foot.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process once in 2 days.
Alternatively: Instead of olive oil, you can use jojoba oil in the above foot mask.
13. Banana and Avocado Foot Mask
The moisturizing properties of both banana and avocado help to heal and soothe the chapped foot skin.
- Blend banana and avocado to make a smooth paste.
- Wash and dry your feet.
- Massage the paste on the cracked heels for 5 minutes.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with water.
- Repeat the process daily for at least 2 weeks.
Alternatively: You can just apply banana paste and leave it on for 15 – 20 minutes before rinsing.
14. Turmeric and Indian Lilac Foot Mask
Indian lilac also called as neem or margosa has anti-fungal properties which prevent cracked heels from becoming infected.
- Crush a handful of fresh Indian lilac leaves to make a paste.
- Mix with 3 teaspoons turmeric powder.
- Massage into cracked heels and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with warm water and towel dry.
- Repeat the process daily to get rid of cracked heels.
Alternatively: You can use few drops of neem oil instead of fresh Indian lilac leaves.
15. Rosewater and Glycerin Foot Mask
Glycerin softens the skin while rosewater provides vitamins A, B3, C, D, and E, which moisturizes and prevents bacterial infection.
- Mix equal quantities of rosewater and glycerin.
- Massage it into your heels before going to bed, and leave it on overnight.
- Repeat the process daily until cracks are healed.
16. Paraffin Wax Foot Mask
Paraffin is one of the quickest ways to treat cracked heals.
- Place 1 tablespoon of paraffin wax in a skillet.
- Heat on low flame until melted.
- Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or mustard oil.
- Allow it to cool down to room temperature.
- Massage into heels for 5 minutes.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes to overnight, then rinse with warm water.
- Repeat daily to get relief from cracked heels.
17. Shea Butter Foot Cream
The following is a recipe for a homemade foot moisturizer which is helpful in treating the cracked heels.
- Add ¼ cup of magnesium flakes to 2 tablespoons of boiling water.
- Stir until it forms into paste consistency and set aside.
- Over low heat, melt 3 tablespoons beeswax and ¼ cup each of Shea butter and coconut oil, stirring to blend.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Put the oil and wax mixture into a blender.
- While blending on low, slowly pour in the magnesium flake paste.
- Blend until the mixture has a butter-like consistency.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Apply to heels before going to bed and put on socks.
- Rinse off with water in the morning.
18. Cocoa Butter Heel Balm
Cocoa butter is one of the best ways to moisturize and smoothen the chapped heels. This process makes an amazing balm which not only treats the chapped heels but also prevents them.
- Using a double boiler, melt 2oz of cocoa butter.
- Once it is melted, add 2oz of coconut oil into it.
- Once the two ingredients melt and get incorporated, remove them from the flame.
- Add 5 – 8 drops each of peppermint oil and lavender oil.
- Mix well and pour the mixture into 4oz jar.
- Let it sit at room temperature until completely cooled and solidifies.
- Cover the lid and store in a dry place.
- You can apply enough amounts of the heel balm before going to bed. In order to avoid staining, you can wear socks.
- Repeat the application daily.
19. Oil Massage
Oil Massage is one of the best Ayurveda treatment for cracked heels. For this process you can use coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, castor oil, emu oil or almond oil
- Apply enough amounts of oil on the cracked feet.
- Gently massage for 10 minutes.
- Leave it overnight and rinse with water in the morning.
- Repeat the process daily.
Dietary Tips for Cracked Heels:
Nutritional deficiency can also lead to dry and cracked heels. So, it is important to consider few changes in your daily food habits. Let’s have a look at them…
Vitamin A: It is very important in rejuvenating and maintaining healthy skin tissue. It promotes healthy skin cell division and sloughing off dead skin which leads to smooth skin. Include vitamin A rich foods like carrots, eggs, milk, orange and green vegetables.
Vitamin E: It protects skin from harmful free radicals and maintains the skin cells healthy. Vitamin E rich foods include nuts, fortified foods and whole wheat foods.
Vitamin C: It helps in maintaining the skin elasticity. Vitamin C can be found in citrus foods and green-leafy vegetables.
Zinc: It helps in cell division, healthy growth of skin tissue and wound healing. Sea food, oysters, whole grains and fortified cereals are rich in zinc content.
Omega Fatty Acids: They help to increase the skin integrity, speed up the healing process, improve blood circulation and reduce swelling. Tuna, shrimp, flaxseeds are rich in omega fatty acids.
Water: Drink plenty of water to maintain the skin soft, supple and hydrated. This helps to prevent dry skin and cracked heels.
Other Tips for Preventing and Treating Cracked Heels:
- Avoid sandals and other open shoes that allow foot expansion.
- Avoid exposing feet to water, especially hot water, for long period of time.
- Wash and moisturize feet regularly.
- Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for 15 minutes each night. Rinse it thoroughly and pat dry to get relief from cracked heels.
- Maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid putting excess pressure on feet.
- If you have athlete’s foot, thyroid disease, psoriasis, eczema, or diabetes, consult a doctor for advice on treatment.
- Avoid standing for long periods which may cause cracks in feet.
Did you try any method mentioned above in the article for treating cracked heels? Share your experience, suggestions and queries in the comment section below.