Without the luxury of being able to pop into Boots and grill the sales rep for advice, we’ve enlisted the expert advice of podiatrist Dr Bharti Rajput.
Dr Rajput has the answers to literally every single one of your hoof-related questions, from debunking exactly why we get cracked heels to the best at-home remedies to swap scales for softness. I really hope my mates read this…
Without booze-fuelled weekends and awkward first dates to reminisce on, my group Whatsapp chats are alight right now with pretty banal chat. One topic of conversation that dominated a good two hours of our conversation yesterday was dry feet. Yes, I miss pre-lockdown life too.
Whilst not the most glamorous of topics, cracked feet are something that are plaguing a lot of us right now and with more time spent bare-foot inside, our poor trotters are in desperate need of some TLC.
What are your best tips for getting rid of dry skin on your feet?
You can get rid of dry skin on your feet by using a foot file but always use on a dry foot, never on a wet foot. When the skin is wet, it tends to become more rubbery. So on a dry foot, you can actually buff the skin down. Put a piece of kitchen towel or newspaper on the floor and you’ll get great pleasure in seeing white powdery hard skin getting rubbed off your feet. Then what I would do is soak your feet in some water, choose something that you have at home, like a bit of lemon or some salt and give your feet a soak.
Then what I always recommend is applying a urea based foot cream such as Flexitol Heel Balm if you have really dry skin on your feet, as it is medically proven to provide relief from dry, cracked skin on the heels and feet.
Many people just use any kind of lotion on their feet but the skin on your feet is six times stronger than anywhere else on your body, so you need to use a specialised cream for your feet to penetrate the layers. Just as you wouldn’t just use any cream on your face, why just use any cream on your feet?
So why is it that the skin on our heels cracks?
The skin on our heels cracks for various reasons but mainly cracked heels develop due to a mixture of dryness and pressure. Sometimes if people have put on a bit of weight or if they’re spending a lot of time indoors and the heating is on, the skin texture can become a little bit dryer and that can often lead to cracks.
Wearing open-back shoes in the summer time may cause the skin to crack as your bare heels are always hitting the back of the shoe which can cause a lot of pressure and then cracks at the same time.
Cracked heels can also be caused by lack of vitamins in your diet, such as iron and zinc. The hair and the skin are very much made up of the same chemical components and iron and zinc playing important roles in hair and skin regeneration and repair.
Are there any home remedies to smooth skin?
Why not try making a foot scrub for a DIY pedicure? All you need is two tablespoons of sea salt mixed with a little bit of olive oil mixed in with a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or tea tree. Then, apply it to your feet and tie two plastic bags around your ankles. This is a great way to hydrate your feet and remove any dead skin cells and it feels like a treat, too.
The best type of tool is a foot file that resembles sandpaper on a stick. I find it better than an electric foot file because you are more in control of the amount of pressure you’re using.
There is a fine line of how much you can take off and people tend to overdo it when they try to remove hard skin, they’ll either scrub too hard back and forth, especially with one of those metal cheese grater type of files, which is a definite no go.
What’s the most common mistake you see people making when taking care of their feet?
One is they cut their toenails far too short, which causes them to be sore. If somebody cuts their toenails so short and then they come to the clinic, it’s so hard to do anything about it because you can’t get the toenails to grow instantly.
The other one is that a lot of people go too far with trying to get rid of hard skin such a cutting it with various implements such as scissors or razors, which again you should not do.