As seasons change, so do many things – temperatures, precipitation, daylight hours, and much more. Even our body requires extra care at different times of the year. And that, of course, includes our feet, the bedrock of our bodies.
One such difference at various times of year is that our moisture and natural oil levels fluctuate by our environment. Some times of year are drier than others, while some require additional planning around keeping our feet dry. One common condition caused by changes in our feet’s moisture and natural oil levels is dry skin and peeling skin. Dry feet, peeling skin, and cracked heels can all become severe if left untreated. However, much can be done to prevent dry skin and treat dry skin in the early stages to curb its worsening.
In this article, you’ll learn more about treatments and how to prevent dry and peeling skin, all from the comforts of your home.
What are dry feet?
Cracked heels are synonymous with dry feet. This condition refers to the drying of the skin. Over time, dead skin accumulates, and the skin begins to split, creating cracks in your heel and feet. In more severe cases, these cracks can grow and bleed and be prone to infection.
There are several reasons why dry skin and peeling skin arise. Some causes include:
- Cold (or hot) weather due to dry air or sunburns
- Skin allergies causing skin inflammation
- Skin diseases that inherently dry the skin, like psoriasis, contact dermatitis, or eczema
- Depletion of the fat pad, or cushioning, under the heel
- High humidity
Before we get into dry skin treatments, let’s differentiate dry skin from peeling skin.
What is peeling skin?
Skin peeling, like dry skin, can result from a disease or condition. Peeling skin is similar to dry skin, except that the dryness causes skin peeling instead of cracking or flaking. Peeling skin is a byproduct of dry skin once dead skin begins to layer off.
Now that you have an overview of the condition, find seven at-home treatments below for dry and peeling skin, using either household ingredients or accessible and affordable products.
At-home treatments for dry feet and peeling skin
There are plenty of DIY treatments for dry and peeling skin you can do at home. Try the following therapies to see what method works best for you and your feet. For more severe cases, consult a chiropodist.
1. Soak and exfoliate your feet
It’s important that when you bathe, you don’t immediately dry off. While your feet are still wet, consider applying a fragrance-free moisturizer to help keep moisture within your skin. Additionally, you can supplement your soaking with regular exfoliating to remove any dead skin.
2. Apply balms or thick moisturizers
Regularly apply balms or thick moisturizers, which help lock in moisture and keep your feet hydrated. Products we carry in-store include:
- Gehwol Lipidro Cream
- Gehwol Salve for Cracked Skin
- Dermal Therapy Heel Care Cream
- Gehwol Extra Universal Foot Cream
- Gehwol Fusskraft Soft Feet Cream
These foot creams will soothe dry and peeling skin and act as a preventative measure to help prevent this foot condition from returning.
3. Use sunscreen
Applying sunscreen is more of a summer treat. Still, this preventative measure is applicable for any time UV rays are intense or it’s hot outside (whether it’s summer in Canada or you’re heading south for the winter). Sunscreen can protect and moisturize your skin and prevent it from drying out due to heat. Additionally, it helps protect your feet – an often-forgot-about part of your body – from sunscreen and sun damage.
4. Use bath oils
Essential oils can have a healing effect on dry skin. Natural ingredients like peppermint, lavender, patchouli, cinnamon, oregano, or fat can be added to a carrier oil and applied to the skin.
5. Stop the hot showers
Hot temperatures in the form of showers or baths dry out the skin and can damage the surface of the skin. Heat draws moisture away from your skin. Additionally, gently towel off after a shower instead of aggressively rubbing your feet with a towel. Doing the latter can further irritate your dry skin.
6. Invest in the right footwear
Investing in the proper footwear isn’t just about finding the perfect fit. Your footwear should also protect your feet. So whether it’s covering your feet in the summer against the sun or choosing boots for the winter that keep your feet warm and dry, your footwear can help prevent dry and peeling skin.
7. Oatmeal bath
Finally, a warm oatmeal bath is another at-home treatment method for dry skin. Grind unflavored oatmeal to a fine powder and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.