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Monday, March 20, 2017

Do you ignore your dry skin issues till they come back and bite you in the feet — quite literally? Pearl Mathias tells you why you need to pay attention to cracked heels and what you can do to soothe them

Unlike the skin on the rest of your body, the skin on your feet has no oil glands, which means that it’s more prone to getting dry and cracked. When the soles of your feet get dehydrated, your skin can become rough and cracked. Since the skin on your feet relies on your sweat glands to keep it moisturised, this can be a problem for people who don’t moisturise regularly. And, it’s even worse if you suffer from diabetes or athlete’s foot. Here we tell you what causes dry feet, how you can prevent it from occurring and the complications it may cause. And, we’re bringing you a few home remedies that can help soothe the issue.

Why do feet go dry?
Caused by a lack of moisture in your skin, the most common factors that contribute to this include:

  • The use of non-moisturising soaps
  • Low humidity levels in your office or at home
  • Taking an extremely hot shower
  • Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis that dry your skin
  • The process of ageing, which causes moisture levels in your skin to decrease

Concerning complications
Although mild symptoms may not be cause for concern, when the condition becomes severe, it may get difficult to manage. As the condition progresses, cracked feet can result in unbearable pain. And, if you pass it off as unimportant, it may soon lead to one or more of the following complications:

  • You may find it difficult to walk.
  • You may experience itchiness and burning every day.
  • Over-the-counter medication will no longer work.

Can it be prevented?
Make sure that you are doing these simple things to prevent your feet from falling to the condition.

  • The most basic thing you can do is to moisturise your feet after you take a shower.
  • As we mentioned earlier, heat from hot showers can contribute to dryness. So, consider using lukewarm water when you’re washing your feet.
  • Alcohol and caffeine make the dryness worse. So, it’s best to steer clear of these if you want to avoid dry, cracked feet.


Remedies to soothe the dryness

If your feet have already been subjected to dryness and cracks, we suggest you skip the creams and gels for a while, and try these home remedies listed below:

  • Honey wonders: Since poor circulation is one of the reasons for dry skin, a good foot soak will help rectify this. Simply dip your feet in a tub of warm water, with a cup of honey added to it. Soak them for 10 to 15 minutes at a time as and when you want warm comfort.
  • Oil helps: Thanks to its anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, coconut oil helps to moisturise your feet and fight infections. Soak your feet in water and scrub gently. Once you pat them dry, generously apply coconut oil on them and put on a pair of clean socks. Wash this off the next morning.
  • Lemon relief: Soaking your feet in lemon juice for ten minutes helps to get rid of dry and dead skin cells. Follow this with a loofah or a soft foot brush to help clean the dead skin.
  • Petroleum solution: After you wash your feet and dry them, apply one teaspoon of Vaseline combined with the juice of a whole lemon. Put on a pair of socks as you did with the coconut oil and exfoliate your feet in the morning.
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