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Between lingering damage from seasons past and the dry air indoors, your feet may be a little worse for the wear. Although your cracked heels likely won’t be on display for most as you continue to self-isolate, that doesn’t mean you should leave them untreated.
“The big mistake women make is waiting all winter before they look at their feet,” New York-based podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera previously told FN. Dry skin causes peeling and cracks, which can leave feet more susceptible to infection (especially if you’ve been walking around barefoot at home). The issue can also be a sign of a foot condition such as eczema or psoriasis, which you’ll want to address with a doctor in order to find long-term solutions.
This time around, we asked Dr. Sutera about the best products for treating split heels. In addition to targeting dry feet, many of these are also great for helping you unwind at the end of a long day: Think foot soaks with soothing essential oils and more.
Conair Foot Pedicure Spa
The skin around cracked heels is often thicker and dryer, and tends to split when you apply pressure (e.g. walking on your feet). Soaking in a foot spa can help soften the skin there. This option from Conair is also “ideal for relaxing achy soles,” said Dr. Sutera, as it includes bubbles, jets, heat and rollers for full-on relief.
Daily Remedy Store Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak
Dr. Sutera suggests adding a dash of this tea tree oil soak to your foot bath for extra nourishing effects. The oil is moisturizing and antimicrobial to help prevent cuts from getting infected. What’s more, the soak contains a blend of eucalyptus, peppermint and other soothing scents for aromatherapy benefits, as well as Epsom salt, which is know to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The Body Shop Peppermint Foot Scrub
After you soaked, exfoliating is a great way to gently remove surface skin. Dr. Sutera recommends this foot scrub from The Body Shop, as it includes tough volcanic rock granules and a “peppermint scent that leaves feet feeling fresh!”
PurSources Urea 40% Foot Cream
Another recommended exfoliant, “urea is a powerful compound that helps break down calluses,” said Dr. Sutera. This foot cream from PurSources contains a high concentration of the ingredient, as well as a moisturizing agent called glycerin, which pulls water from the air and holds it into the top layers of skin.
Maple Holistics Store Pure Tea Tree Oil
Pure tree oil can also help moisturize cracked skin. Dr. Sutera advises massaging it directly into feet or adding a few drops to your bath or foot cream to further soften skin. (As an added bonus, the formula works well for reviving dry nails and cuticles, too).
ZenToes Moisturizing Heel Socks
Once you’ve applied your moisturizer of choice, try using gel heel socks to maximize softening benefits. They feature a gel lining to soothe cracked skin and a toeless design to keep feet cool throughout the day or night. “Socks like these help to lock in moisture while you sleep,” said Dr. Sutera.
Other products to consider:
MicroPure Electronic Foot File
Want an even easier approach to exfoliating? Try an electronic foot file that will buff away callouses with little to no effort on your part. Earning the title of Amazon Choice, this option from MicroPure is 100% waterproof and rechargeable, so you’ll never have deal with the hassle of batteries.
A potent over-the-counter option, liquid bandage is an antiseptic that helps seal and prevent infection. Try this version from Nexcare, as it comes in a nifty spray formula that’s super-easy to apply when you’re in a rush yet won’t budge like your average Bandaid.
As a sealant, petroleum jelly locks in water and the skin’s moisture — so make sure to keep this one handy after you jump out of the shower.
Honey has been proven to help moisturize and heal wounds, as well as prevent infection thanks to its antibacterial properties. Use it right after your soak or apply it as a foot mask overnight. This $12 option, which is also beloved by thousands of reviewers for breakfast time, comes in a 32-ounce size to help you get the most bang for your buck.