How to soften feet and heels overnight | Treatment tips from a dermatologist
- Posted on: Aug 25 2023
Rough, cracked feet and heels are common year-round. From walking barefoot and wearing sandals in the summer to dealing with cold, dry air in the winter, life in Colorado can be extra harsh on our heels.
Sometimes you can treat cracked heels at home, and sometimes they require a dermatologist’s care. If left untreated, cracked heels can develop deeper fissures that increase your risk of infection over time. The skin care experts at Asarch Dermatology are here to prevent that from happening.
So, let’s heal your heels! Keep reading to find out what causes cracked heels, the best remedies to care for them, when you need to see a dermatologist, and more.
What causes cracked heels?
There are many potential causes for cracked heels, so it may take some time to figure out the exact reason behind yours. For example, cracked heels can be caused by:
- Age – Our skin changes as we age. The combination of decreased natural oil production, reduced thickness, and years of sun damage all make older skin drier and more prone to cracking.
- Eczema – Eczema, an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchiness, dry skin, and scaly patches, is most common on hands and feet.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes and other conditions that affect circulation are at a higher risk for foot health concerns.
- Chronic foot issues – People with flat feet or heel spurs, or those who spend lots of time standing, experience cracked heels more frequently.
- Improper footwear – Open-heeled shoes (such as sandals and flip-flops) expose your heels to dry air, while poorly-fitting shoes can rub and irritate skin.
- Lack of moisture – Many people forget to moisturize their heels, even when they moisturize the rest of their body.
The best remedies to soften feet and heels
Start by giving your feet and heels some extra attention, moisturizing them at least twice a day with a thick moisturizer (such as Eucerin or Cetaphil). Some moisturizers contain skin-softening agents like urea, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid to help remove dead skin. Asarch Dermatology offers a full line of skin care products, including moisturizers – ask your dermatologist to learn more.
Bathing too long can dry out your skin, so limit baths or showers to 5-10 minutes at most. Be gentle when drying your heels with a towel, and apply moisturizer immediately afterward.
Treat them overnight
Gently rub your feet and heels to remove any dead skin, then coat them with a heavy, oil-based cream or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline). Put on a pair of thin cotton socks, which also helps protect your bedding, and the healing will happen as you sleep.
Once a week, set aside some time to exfoliate your feet and heels. Soften them in warm water for 10-15 minutes first, then use a foot scrubber to exfoliate any dead skin. Be sure to add moisturizer after exfoliating is complete.
Preventing cracked heels
In addition to twice-a-day moisturizing, here are some other ways to help prevent cracked heels:
- Say yes to socks – Don’t limit your sock-wearing to nighttime. Socks add an additional layer of protection between your skin and the environment, limiting damage to the outer layer of your feet and heels. Thankfully, Colorado weather is often sock-friendly – so we recommend wearing them whenever you can.
- Wear the right shoes – Shoes that expose your heels and tighter shoes that restrict your heel movement can both cause cracked skin.
- Avoid harsh tools – Callus shavers, graters, and even pumice stones can aggravate your skin if you use them too often. And never rub or file over inflamed, itchy, or sensitive skin, which can make it worse.
When to see a dermatologist
If you’ve tried everything listed above and your heels still have not improved, it’s time to seek professional help. Schedule an appointment with your Asarch dermatologist today, so we can determine what’s causing your dry skin and discuss available treatment options.
Let Asarch Dermatology care for you and your skin
The board-certified dermatologists at Asarch Dermatology are committed to providing you with personalized attention, state-of-the-art technology, and exceptional skin care from head to toe – including your feet and heels.
Asarch Dermatology treats patients of all ages, with three convenient office locations in Englewood, Castle Rock, and Lakewood. Contact us today to get started!
Posted in: Skin Care