Cracked heels can occur due to a number of causes include lack of moisture, excessive dryness of the skin, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, a long time standing at work etc. It is a very common foot skin condition, which requires a proper care to treat it and prevent its relapses. It can affect both the genders, but it is more common in women.

Cracked heels cause discomfort while going barefoot. In severe cases, cracks in the heels can become deep and cause pain, irritation and even infection.

Causes of Cracked Heel

Here are some reasons that may cause cracked heels:

  • Use of harsh soaps and body liquids.
  • Soaking your feet in a hot bath for a long time.
  • Dehydration or not drinking enough water.
  • Walking barefoot on rough flooring.
  • Not moisturizing your feet regularly.
  • Scrubbing dry skin.
  • Having uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.
  • Cold weather or winter season.
  • Wearing open heeled shoes that expose the heel of the foot.

Natural Home Remedies for Cracked Heels

Read the article below to know how to keep your feet clean and free from cracks:

Keep It Moisturized

Feet Moisturizer

Moisturizing Feet

Cracked heels are nothing but, dryness in the epidermal layers of the skin, resulting in scaling, itching and flaking. It is important to keep your skin moisturized so that the epidermal barrier function is maintained. It further helps in protecting the underlying tissues and structures from infections and physical damage.

Moisturizing your skin prevents trans-epidermal water loss. It improves the texture of the skin on the underside of the foot by filling gaps and fissures.

It further replenishes the depleted essential skin proteins and improves the appearance by filling in the fine lines. Hence, regular moisturization of your feet may help in reducing moisture loss and reduce indicators of skin dryness, like flakiness, cracking, fissuring, flexibility and tenderness.

Choose an organic moisturizer, which does not contain more harsh chemicals. However, some people believe in the power of nature and opt for natural moisturizing agents, which include:

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is used as a traditional moisturizer for centuries. This oil possesses anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties, which prevents and protects the skin against infections.

A study observed that people with xerosis when applied coconut oil regularly had improved skin moisture levels. Besides this, an increase in the skin surface lipid levels was noted, which helps in improving the texture of the skin.

This effect of coconut oil is attributed to the presence of lauric acid in it, a type of fatty acid, which has the ability to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin and nourish them.

How to apply coconut oil

  • Liberally apply coconut oil on your feet before going to bed.
  • Next morning wash your feet as usual while having a bath.
  • Repeat this daily for at least 6 weeks to get best results and soft feet.

Almond Oil

Almond Oil

Cracked heels are associated with a defect in the skin barrier function. Almond contains fatty acids, which help in quick healing of cracked heels.

It further repairs the skin barrier function and protects the skin of the underside of the foot. Though almond oil does not penetrate deep into the skin, it still prevents the loss of water from the skin.

Bitter almond oil also ameliorates itching associated with cracked heels. Just like coconut oil, apply almond oil on the affected area of the foot before going to bed.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Olive oil has been used as a skin product for a long time in various cultures. Cracked heels if left untreated may develop into painful fissures.

Olive oil contains fatty acids and more than 200 plant compounds that help in healing cracked heels and damaged skin.

It is a great source of vitamin E and other antioxidants. It possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in dermal re-construction.

Topical application of olive oil on the cracked heels improves the integrity of the skin and skin barrier functions.

You can even combine olive oil with coconut oil and honey and apply on the cracked heels for quick relief.

Oats

Oats

Oats

Oatmeal is a popular breakfast option around the world, which is loved by people of different age groups and cultures too. But, a few people know that oats are an excellent agent for the skin.

A study revealed that oats are effective in the treatment of various skin barrier conditions like dry or cracked skin.

Anti-inflammatory compounds present in oats prevent itching and irritation associated with cracked heels. It further strengthens the skin barrier and prevents dry and cracked heels. This property of oats is attributed to the presence of plant chemicals in it, like:

  • Flavonoids
  • Avenanthramides

A study found that an oat protectant lotion was beneficial for dry and compromised skin conditions such as xerosis of the foot, hand or any other skin of the body.

How to Use Oats

Scrub 1

Make your own foot scrub by mixing powdered oatmeal and oil together. Some oil options include:

  1. Coconut oil
  2. Jojoba oil
  3. Bitter almond oil
  4. Avocado oil
  5. Olive oil

Apply this scrub on the cracked heels and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Rinse off with cold water and pat it dry.

This scrub will help in replenishing the moisture that is required by the skin.

Scrub 2

Mix 2 tablespoons powdered oats with honey and any of the above-mentioned oils.

Apply it on your feet and affected the area for 20-30 minutes. Wash your feet with lukewarm water and pat them dry. Apply any of the oats scrubs daily for best results.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a very simple and inexpensive remedy for cracked heels. It heals the rough and dry skin by removing the dead skin cells. This action of lemon juice is attributed to the presence of citric acid in it.

Because lemon is a great source of vitamin C, it helps in the production of collagen, a skin protein that helps in the growth of new skin cells. It further provides firmness and strength to the skin and allows the skin to repair itself.

Moreover, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that fights oxidative stress. Free radicals damage the skin proteins like collagen and cause cracks, dryness and fine lines on the skin.

Vitamin C scavenges free radicals and reverses the damage caused by these harmful and unstable molecules.

How to Use Lemon Juice:

  • In a tub, mix warm water and lemon juice together. Soak your feet in this water for 10-15 minutes. You can even add glycerin to this lemon-water mixture. Now with the help of a soft brush, scrub your feet gently. Repeat this procedure twice a week for effective results.
  • You can even prepare a lemon juice, coconut oil and honey foot mask. Apply this on the cracked heels and leave it for 30 minutes. Wash your feet with cold water and pat them dry.
  • Mix lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil or bitter almond oil together. Apply this foot mask on your feet and leave it for 15-20 minutes. Wash your feet with lukewarm water and pat them dry.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera gel keeps the skin soft, moisturized and reduces dryness and skin cracks. It removes the dead skin cells and helps in filling the cracks and fissures.

The skin softening property of Aloe Vera is attributed to the presence of certain nutrients and compounds in it like:

  1. Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and B-complex vitamins.
  2. Enzymes: Aloe Vera contains 8 different enzymes. These enzymes reduce inflammation associated with cracked and dry heels.
  3. Minerals: Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Selenium, Chromium.

These minerals are powerful antioxidants that help in the regeneration of the skin and prevent skin damage.

Topical application of Aloe Vera gel increases the synthesis of collagen, which helps in the formation of new skin cells. This helps in healing cracked skin, dryness and improves overall skin texture of the feet.

How to Use Aloe Vera Gel

  • Apply Aloe Vera gel on the cracked heels and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash your feet with warm water and pat them dry.

Honey

Honey

Honey

Honey is a natural moisturizing agent. It traps the moisture and prevents its loss from the skin. It further softens the skin and helps in healing dry and cracked skin.

Besides this, honey is an anti-bacterial agent. Topical application of honey on the cracked heels penetrates deep into the skin and prevents infections, which are common if cracked heels are left untreated.

This natural antiseptic revitalizes the skin and strengthens the skin barrier as well.

How to use honey:

  • In a tub, mix 1 cup of honey to a half tub of warm water.
  • Soak your feet in this soothing mixture for around 20-30 minutes.
  • With the help of a soft brush, scrub your feet gently.
  • Wash your feet and pat them dry.
  • Repeat this procedure daily to get rid of cracked heels.

Note:

With proper care and regular application of these natural products, the first signs of healing will become visible within 1 or 2 weeks. Make sure you keep your feet well moisturized and do not expose them to pollution. Choose the right kind of footwear because choosing the wrong one can also affect the heels.

References

  1. Justin Parker, Rolf Scharfbillig, Moisturizers for The Treatment Of Foot Xerosis: A Systematic Review, Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, Volume 9, 2017 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5297015/)
  2. A Study Evaluating Three Treatments for Cracked Heel Skin (http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN63765263)
  3. Lima EB, Sousa CN, Cocos nucifera (L.) (Arecaceae): A phytochemical and pharmacological review, Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, Volume 11, 2015 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26292222)
  4. Lin TK, Zhong L, Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 1, 2017 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29280987)
  5. Agero AL, A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis, Dermatitis, Contact, Atopic, Occupational, Drug, Volume 3, 2004 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15724344)
  6. Ilnytska O, Kaur S, Colloidal Oatmeal <em>(Avena Sativa)</em> Improves Skin Barrier Through Multi-Therapy Activity, Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Volume 6, 2016 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27272074)
  7. Juliet M. Puller, Anitra C Carr, The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health, Nutrients, Volume 8, 2017 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/)
  8. Amar Surjushe, D. G. Saple, Aloe Vera: A Short Review, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Volume 4, 2008 (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/38060213_Aloe_vera_A_short_review)
  9. R.H.S.S. Ediriweera, Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee’s Honey – A review, An International Quarterly Journal for Research in Ayurveda, Volume 2, 2012 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3611628/)