8 Best Foot Care Tips From Podiatrists For Dry, Cracked Feet

Summer is synonymous with sun, sand, sea and wide open spaces. And while it may seem nice (and necessary in a work-from-home climate), participating in everything things, the season is also very hard on your feet. In the summer, feet are exposed to heat, humidity, UV damage, environmental aggressors, unsupported shoes, and no shoes, causing dryness and damage. That’s why it’s so important to have some foot care tips from podiatrists to help you maintain healthy feet all year round.

Think dry skin on your feet isn’t a problem? Consider this: “Dry, untreated skin hardens around the heels,” says Marcela Correa, licensed medical pedicurist and owner of medical-grade pedicure company, Medi Pedi. “Combined with pressure applied to the soles of the feet, over a long period of time and to the same areas of the foot, the texture of our skin changes – becomes rough and causes discomfort and eventually cracks.”

Known in the medical world as fissures, these cracks can create pathways on the heels for infections such as athlete’s foot, calluses and fungus. “Heels can become dry and cracked due to natural aging, walking barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes that cause extra pressure on the heels,” says Nadine Abramcyk, co-founder of Tenoverten. “If the heels are not properly treated, it could lead to eczema or athlete’s foot, and potential bleeding throughout the cracked skin.”

To keep your feet looking great and crack-free, TZR spoke to three experts for their top summer foot care tips, as well as to learn more about why feet crack in the first place. The pros even share some products that can treat already cracked feet that you’ll want to add to your routine ASAP. Trust them – it’s time to put as much effort into your foot care routine as your skin care routine.

Foot Care Tip #1: Soak Feet With Epsom Salt

Correa recommends soaking feet with an unscented Epsom salt to help soften hardened skin and make it easier to file. “Epsom salt is used to exfoliate dead skin on the feet,” the pro shares. “Foot soaks can help reduce roughness by breaking down hardened skin, allowing for safe removal.”

Foot care tip #2: Avoid super hot showers

Cracked and dry feet can also occur due to the natural aging process. As we age, the glands in the body do not work as quickly and produce more oils. And like facial skin, elastin – the protein that affects elasticity – decreases, causing increased dryness. Hot showers and soaps with harsh chemicals (like surfactants) dry out the skin on your feet, according to Donna Charloff, director of service operations for clean nail care pioneer MiniLuxe.

Foot Care Tip #3: Exfoliate Feet in the Shower

“Exfoliation is a powerful tool to combat cracked summer soles,” says Dana Ward, Founder and President of Barefoot Scientist. “It allows for the removal of excess dry skin that has built up, which ultimately allows moisturizing formulations to absorb better so skin feels overall softer and smoother.” Abramcyk recommends using a once-a-week foot scrub like The Sole Scrub to help condition and nourish the skin. “Once you step out of the shower, pat your feet dry and then apply a moisturizer such as The Sole Mate, a skin-softening foot balm powered by beneficial oils, vitamins and antioxidants to provide comfort. softening hydration to cracked heels and dry soles,” the expert tells TZR.

Whatever moisturizer you use, it’s important to look for vitamin E as it’s a key ingredient in keeping heels in their best shape. You can then use a weekly foot file or pumice stone to remove any additional dry skin. And if you’re using the foot file, Correa encourages using an up-and-down motion instead of a straight-up motion across the foot. “The up and down motion follows the natural cracks and curvatures of the skin, minimizing the chances of creating cracks or cuts.”

Foot care tip #4: Apply lotion directly after showering

The best time to apply creams and lotions to your feet is right after showering when the pores are open, allowing the product to better penetrate the soles of the feet. It’s also important to use foot cream and not body lotion, as thicker creams absorb better. “Most foot creams contain ingredients like oils and urea to target dryness, cracks and infections that body lotions don’t,” Correa told TZR.

And if your soles are really dry, Charloff recommends taking it a step further by adding a few drops of cuticle oil like MiniLuxe Nourishing Cuticle Oil Dropper to your favorite foot balm for extra hydration.

Foot Care Tip #5: Don’t Skip the SPF

By now you should be fully aware of the benefits of daily sunscreen: it protects against UVA and UVB rays, and reduces the signs of aging and skin cancer, to name a few. And while you’re used to applying SPF to your face, neck, and arms, the same energy should be shared with your feet. As one of the most exposed areas during the summer, your feet will need as much sun protection as your face to protect them.

Foot care tip #6: Invest in a nighttime routine

Correa recommends moisturizing your feet daily and pairing a heel protector at night with a foot cream or medicated exfoliating cream like Tetra Kamea G. This will help slough off dead skin while you sleep and soften and moisturize the feet.

Foot care tip #7: Change your socks

If you happen to wear socks and sneakers during the summer, experts all recommend changing your socks throughout the day. Feet trapped inside socks could cause sweating, invite bacteria and bad odors, and remove any moisture they had, causing dry skin and cracking.

Foot Care Tip #8: Sterilize Shoes

For open-toed sandals or socks and sneakers, Correa suggests always sterilizing your shoes, especially during the summer, to kill any bacteria. The pro recommends a UV shoe sterilizer to prevent and protect against harmful bacteria, fungal infections, and dryness.

Ready to invest in a solid foot care routine to prevent cracked heels? Here are some of the expert favorites.

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