There’s nothing worse than deciding to slip on your favorite pair of backless shoes and seeing rough, cracked skin. While a pedicure definitely helps improve the look of fugly feet, realistically you won’t always be able to get one, plus the results don't last more than a few days. Luckily, it’s easier than you think to keep your heels smooth at-home. Not only will DIY-ing it save you money and time, but it’ll also help ease the pain that dry, cracked heels can cause. Below, find expert-approved ways to heal cracked heels, so you can wear those sandals, sling-backs, and mules with confidence.
Step 1: Soak + Exfoliate
Once a week set aside a little time after you shower to treat your feet. If your heels aren't already softened up from your shower, soak them in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes to do so. If you’re feeling fancy, put in a few drops of your favorite essential oil or use a pre-packaged foot soak like Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt that has peppermint essential oil, baking soda, aloe and coconut oil in it to repair and refresh. Afterwards, physically exfoliate and slough off dead skin with a pumice stone like Natural Earth’s Lava Pumice Stone.
Step 2: Moisturize On The Reg
For hardened heels, it’s crucial to use a moisturizer daily. “Look for one with urea or lactic acid on the ingredient label as these will exfoliate as well as hydrate,” explains Emily Splichal, DPM, a functional podiatrist and human movement specialist.
Arm & Hammer’s Heels & Feet Moisturizer Plus Gentle Exfoliators is a great multitasker since it’s formulated with baking soda, alpha hydroxy acid (like citric, glycolic, and lactic) exfoliators, and coconut oil. Plus, it has a no-touch massaging brush so you can apply it mess-free.
You can also look to your pantry for a DIY solution. “You can put any oils — olive oil or coconut oil — on the heel but wait to do this until after you soak as oils acts as a sealant to moisture,” Dr. Splichal furthers. She also suggests sealing it into skin with saran wrap to lock in moisture (or you can always opt for moisturizing socks like these with built-in aloe).
Step 3: Choose The Right Footwear
If you’re constantly dealing with cracked skin, it may be time to reevaluate your shoe collection as certain pairs can aggravate heels—“especially tighter ones that are restrictive of movement like boots or pairs that have a stiff heel counter (the little plastic insert that’s used to reinforce the heel cup and increase support),” notes Dr. Splichal. Her favorite sole soothers? Shoes with softer fabrics that don’t have a heel counter such as All Birds or Coach loafers.
Step 4: Make Your Foot Care A Routine
Just like your skincare routine, it’s equally important to continue to give your feet some TLC—even after you’ve healed them. “The best treatment for cracked heels is avoiding it in the first place which means daily moisturizing and weekly exfoliating—this is important in both cold and warm weather,” advises Dr. Splichal, which in all honesty, is pretty easy advice for anyone looking to put their best foot forward.