Wondering what causes cracked feet and how to fix them?
Have you ever played with play dough? It is soft, supple, and easy to manipulate. When left out of the container for too long though, it hardens and grows a powdery white layer as the salt separates from the mixture. Now, imagine pressing down on that dry piece of play dough. Can you see the ball squashing down and expanding sideways beneath your hand? Chances are cracks appeared around the edges too.
A strange analogy in a foot care article but you see, the fat pad (corpus adiposum) under the heel of your feet is much like that ball of play dough. When exposed to air, with no moisture or protection, it dries out, becomes flaky and hard. The daily use and pressure you place on your feet, cause your heels to squash down and expand outwards. When your skin is not moisturised and supple enough to withstand this pressure, cracks start to develop.
Cracked heels occur when the skin barrier on your feet becomes dry or damaged. The soles of your feet have a layer of dead skin cells which are tightly bonded together at a cellular level. This layer thickens to protect your feet from daily use, friction, and pressure. Without a daily moisturising routine, this layer dries out and cracks can be painful. On parts of heavy ongoing friction, callouses form. There are many factors, personal habits and even some medical conditions which could contribute to this.
Lack of Moisture
The main cause of cracked heels is dried out skin. Your feet have fewer sweat glands than the rest of your body and so this skin is naturally drier and less supple. When exposed to air, your heels dry out further and cracks develop.
Your daily routines and habits can contribute to dry and cracked feet. Standing for long periods of time place excess weight and pressure on your feet. Incorrect posture when standing or walking can place pressure on parts of your feet not designed to withstand it. Obesity also plays a role in placing added pressure to our feet, as does excessive running. Washing your feet with harsh soaps reduces moisture as well.
Thongs may be great in summer but wearing open-back shoes or walking barefoot can expose your feet to dry humid air, which draws moisture out of your feet even more. Shoes that fit incorrectly can cause chaffing and irritation on the heel or sides of your feet, encouraging callouses to develop for protection.
Various medical conditions can contribute to dry and cracked feet. Vitamin, mineral and Zinc deficiencies hinder your skin’s ability to produce its own moisture and stay supple. Other medical condition like Fungal infections, Excessive sweating, Psoriasis and Eczema can lead to cracked heels as well.
How do you treat cracked heels?
If your feet are dry and cracks have set in, we recommend The Baby Foot ® Exfoliation Peel. An at-home foot peel designed to penetrate this thick layer of dead skin and remove the dead skin cells. This natural acid foot peel disrupts the bond between cells and actively lifts dead skin away. The Baby Foot ® peel has ingredients including a combination of natural acids, called Alpha Hydroxyl Acids, from 17 fruits and flowers. Each chosen for their strong astringent, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and skin conditioning properties. It is the ultimate, natural foot peel that gently exfoliates while leaving your feet nourished and silky smooth.
Prevention is better than cure. So, it is best to set a daily moisturising routine in place after your feet have peeled from our exfoliant foot peel. Start with cleaning and soaking your feet in warm water, ideally daily. Then massage a rich foot cream or heel balm into your feet until absorbed. We recommend the Baby Foot ® Extra Rich Moisturising Foot Cream which is enriched with Shea Butter to maintain your new baby soft feet. And, when you have a special occasion to attend where you’d like to have your feet feeling extra hydrated and looking gorgeously glowing, our Intensive Hydrating Foot Mask is all you need to add the final touch.
Goodbye cracked heels. Hello, beautifully soft, smooth feet.