As the chilly winds of winter sweep across the landscape, there’s no denying this season’s magic and beauty. The world transforms into a winter wonderland, and being cozy by the fireplace with a warm cup of cocoa has never been more tempting.
However, while winter’s charms are abundant, so are its challenges. One challenge many of us face during cold months is the painful and unsightly problem of cracked heels.
As temperatures drop, our skin becomes susceptible to dryness and dehydration, and our feet are no exception. Cracked heels are not just a cosmetic concern; they can also lead to discomfort and pain.
In this blog, we will explore the causes of cracked heels during the winter and offer some tips and remedies to keep your feet healthy and beautiful all season long.
How winter weather affects your feet
Here’s how winter weather affects your feet and what you can do to prevent and treat dry, cracked heels:
Winter air is drier, which depletes the moisture in your skin. When the air lacks humidity, your skin loses its ability to retain water, leading to dryness and, in some cases, painful cracks in the heels.
Hot showers and baths
Long, hot showers or baths can be tempting in cold weather. Fair warning, though: Hot water on your skin can strip your skin of its natural oils, worsening dryness and making your feet more susceptible to cracking.
Exposure to cold constricts blood vessels in your feet, reducing blood flow and making it harder for your skin to repair and rejuvenate. Cold temperatures can result in dry and damaged skin.
Indoor heating systems can create a dry environment that further robs your skin of moisture. Transitioning between the cold and warmth – outdoors and indoors – may cause abrupt changes in temperature and humidity, which can stress your skin.
What to do to prevent dry, cracked heels in winter weather
To prevent and treat dry, cracked heels during the winter, consider the following:
Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall skin health. Drink plenty of water to help your skin retain moisture.
Regularly apply a good-quality foot cream or lotion to your feet, especially after bathing or showering. Opt for products with ingredients like urea, shea butter, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid, as they can help lock in moisture.
Gently exfoliate your heels to remove dead skin cells. You can use a pumice stone or a foot file, but be careful not to overdo it, as excessive scrubbing can worsen the problem.
Wear proper footwear
In winter, it’s crucial to wear proper footwear, such as moisture-wicking socks and insulated, comfortable shoes or boots. Proper winter footwear will help keep your feet warm and dry.
Limit hot showers and baths
Use lukewarm water for showers and baths when possible, and keep them relatively short to avoid over-drying your skin. Avoid overly drying your skin with a towel, and abrasion can further dry your skin. Bathing more than once a day can also remove the natural oils from your skin.
Use a humidifier
A simple at-home addition is a humidifier. Using a humidifier in your home can add moisture to the indoor air, helping to prevent skin dryness.
Protect your feet
Wear warm, waterproof boots when outside in cold weather to protect your feet from extreme conditions. Over-the-counter insoles that provide extra cushioning under the heel can also help fend off cracked heels.
A chiropodist can treat cracked heels by removing callused skin surrounding fissures to repair the skin’s elasticity and offload pressures on the heels to help the fissures close. You may also opt for a medical pedicure, which, among other benefits, includes an intense and comprehensive moisturizing treatment. Consider consulting a chiropodist for professional advice and treatment if your heels become severely cracked and painful.