It’s summer. You’ve found the perfect dress, your makeup is perfect, you’re even having a good hair day. You slip on that new pair of shoes, ready to walk out the door. You run your fingers along your heels, only to find that they feel like sandpaper. You check them in the mirror. What you see conjures up images of the cracked soil of a drought-affected landscape! You can’t switch your outfit to match with closed shoes and you have a couple of hours until it’s time to go. You need a quick fix for your heels so they feel baby-soft and look smooth and flawless.
It’s either that or wear your eight-up Doc Martens for the rest of the foreseeable future.
So what do you do?
Be fair- our feet take a lot of punishment during the year. Humidity can affect the skin on your feet, causing inflammation and chafing. Shoes that don’t quite fit right can pinch your feet into uncomfortable shapes. Winter and frigid, dry air can bring on dryness in the skin, and your heels are no exception. Cracked heels can appear at the same time as cracked skin on your hands or elbows, however the condition of the skin on your heels can go unnoticed for longer periods of time. Let’s face it, when was the last time you really inspected your heels? A lot of the time, especially during winter, your feet are hiding inside shoes, slippers or socks and it’s easy to overlook the condition of our feet until it’s time to show them off. The important question is how do we undertake an express rough heel treatment so we don’t scare small children with our scaly crocodile feet?
Get our feet pedicure-ready, we need to know the cause of rough heels and how to address each cause with the right treatment.
What causes dry and rough heels?
●Cold and dry winter air
●Lack of exfoliation
●Skin condition – psoriasis, eczema or fungal conditions
●Loss of elasticity in skin
●Ill fitting shoes
●Walking in thongs or open sandals
●Standing for long periods
Cold and dry air
If the cause of your rough heels is dryness in the skin due to colder air and lack of moisture, the solution could be moisturising more often. Sounds obvious, yes? The trick is to remember to moisturise regularly so you don’t get rough heels in the first place. But if you have dry rough skin, you can get it back to pedicure perfection in no time.
How treat rough heels?
There are many products specifically designed for the feet, including deep moisturising packs that are secured around the foot for an intensive burst of moisture.
You could also address your moisture problem by slipping on a pair of super-hydrating moisturising socks. The gel lined socks contain the moisturising combination of olive oil, vitamin E and grapeseed oil to make your feet baby soft in no time. Simply pop on a pair of these socks and relax for some foot-softening relaxation time!
Note: don’t try to walk around, drive, or do errands in these socks. They tend to feel a bit weird and squishy. It’s a much better idea to kick back and take it easy while your feet get an intensive moisture treatment.
Baby oil or vaseline
A quick and easy home treatment is to slather your feet with baby oil or vaseline, and wrap them up in cling wrap. After your treatment, your skin will be much smoother and silkier.
These moisturising solutions should take care of your dry skin issues, however that is often only half the problem. In most cases, some exfoliation may still be required to reveal the soft skin underneath.
Exfoliation Options to Treat Rough Heels
If you are anything like me, you don’t exfoliate your feet on a regular basis. If you do, congrats on taking great care of your feet! However most of us find it difficult to fit in ‘foot exfoliation’ with the rest of our daily errands. This is why, when faced with a strappy pair of open-toed sandals, we find it tempting to run for the hills. However all is not lost. Exfoliation can be done quickly and efficiently so your feet are presentable in no time.
You could try a pumice stone or a pumice foot file – simply wet and rub against the heel to smooth the skin. You could try an exfoliating foot scrub – these scrubs are often rougher than facial and body exfoliating scrubs and can help to remove dry, rough skin. For added freshness, look for a scrub that contains mint to give your feet that ‘extra clean’ feeling.
There are many new products that are specifically designed to tackle the rough skin on the soles and heels of your feet. You can use electronic foot rollers if you want the exfoliator to do the work for you. Simply turn on the foot roller and watch as your dry, dead skin flies off in a plume of powder, leaving your feet soft, supple and sandal ready. For best results, exfoliate your feet often to keep them looking their best.
A mask for your feet? Sounds strange, but these masks are super effective in removing rough skin and leaving you with baby-soft feet. Many of these masks are milk-based, containing one of the most effective exfoliating agents you can use on your skin – lactic acid. Simply put your feet inside the ‘bags’ and wait for an hour. Soon, your dry skin will be shedding like a snake and your feet will be soft and smooth to the touch. The peels are painless, as they are removing dead skin. Once the shedding has stopped, you will be ready to show off those heels for summer!
Other Causes of Rough Heels
A common cause of cracked heels is a vitamin deficiency. B3, vitamin A, vitamin E, C and Zinc deficiencies can contribute to dry skin on the feet, especially the heels. You can also check your omega 3 levels to make sure an omega 3 deficiency isn’t contributing to your dry skin.
Skin condition – psoriasis, eczema or fungal conditions
Your dermatologist can help with the various skin conditions that cause rough skin on your heels. Once you have determined the cause, you can find a treatment for your skin condition and be on your way to healthier, smoother feet.
Walking in thongs or open sandals
Ironically, the very thing that makes you take notice of your heels, that is, wearing thongs or open sandals, can also be a contributor to dry, cracked heels. Walking in salty water and across sandy, windswept beaches is very romantic, however it can dry out your skin and cause your heels to crack. If you keep up with your moisturising and exfoliating regime, you won’t have anything to worry about, just keep in mind that exposing your feet to the elements will usually dry them out and cause rough skin to develop.
Standing for long periods
If you have a job where you are standing for long periods of time on hard floors, this can affect your feet and make them rougher than they should be. The constant pressure on your heels makes them more susceptible to roughness and splits. If you are also overweight, this can cause strain on your heels and cause them to crack. If your shoes are pinching in the wrong spots or if they distribute your weight unevenly, this can cause your heels to crack. In this case, there is a multifaceted approach. The first step is to find comfortable, orthopedically designed shoes that fit you perfectly. The second step in your heel-protecting regime is to use gel inserts within the shoes to keep your feet on a springy surface and dissipate the pressure. The third is to make sure you can take a few breaks and rest your feet when possible, and the fourth step is to start a fitness or diet program to lessen the strain on your feet.
In a Nutshell!There are many causes for rough heels, but although the problem looks a little frightening, it’s really not all that bad. There are so many quick and easy methods to remove rough skin so that dry, cracked heels will be a thing of the past. Just remember to moisturise your feet, especially if you are out in the elements with open shoes. Be sure to exfoliate regularly and do a peel every month or so to keep your heels in shape. If you find you are standing on your feet for long periods of time, make sure you wear properly fitted shoes. Wear gel inserts and try to keep your weight in a healthy range to minimise strain on your feet. In the meantime you can use the moisturising and exfoliating steps above, but be sure to incorporate prevention as well as cure in your quest for soft, smooth feet.
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