We devote plenty of attention and so many efforts to our skin and our body by taking the best care of it. All of this to ensure that they are at their healthiest! But do we devote the same amount of attention and efforts towards our feet too? Often, neglect towards our feet can give rise to dry and cracked feet, a commonly faced concern amongst thousands!
CRACKED FEET AND HEELS- WHAT ARE THEY?
Cracked feet, or as they are medically termed, heel fissures are an extremely common foot condition. Often resulting from severely dry skin at the feet, it can result in intense discomfort and pain in some cases too.
In most cases, cracked feet start out as overly dry skin on your heels and sometimes at the base of your toes as well. If not tendered to the right way or even neglected, this dry skin slowly develops into cracks that grow deeper with time, causing a lot of adverse effects.
WHAT CAUSES CRACKS TO APPEAR ON FEET?
1. COLD WEATHER
The most common cause of dry feet and cracked heels is cold and freezing weather. The natural oils produced by and present in our skin often evaporate in the winter season, which makes our skin and body much drier than usual. Our feet being drier compared to other body parts face the most brunt with prominent cracks appearing on dry heels.
2. USING DRYING SOAPS
Often the soaps we use tend to be extremely harsh on our skin since they are loaded with chemicals. When we use these soaps to clean our feet, they disrupt the natural barrier of the skin leading to a massive loss of moisture and water. And alas! Our feet tend to become dry and flaky in nature.
3. SOAKING FEET IN HOT WATER
As relaxing and soothing as a hot water soak can be for your feet, were you aware of how damaging it can be for the skin? Hot water is responsible for depleting the skin of its natural oils and moisture. Not only does it damage the first layer of your skin, but also dries it out, causing it to appear cracked and dull.
Dryness of skin is directly correlated to dehydration. Yes, you heard it right, not drinking enough water and consuming enough liquids is linked to dry feet. With the skin at the heels being a little drier than skin elsewhere, lack of hydration can easily cause cracks to appear. So sip on as often as you can!
5. NOT MOISTURISING FEET
We all love moisturising our faces and watching them glow with radiance. But do we show the same energy towards moisturising our feet too? Our feet and heels need as much TLC if not more and failure to moisturise them with a nourishing cream or moisturiser can pave the way for dryness to show itself and cause flakiness.
6. STANDING FOR LONG HOURS
An unlikely reason for dry feet and cracked heels is subjecting your body to stand for several hours. It is common knowledge that our feet bear the weight of our whole body, so when we choose to stand upright for longer hours, we are essentially subjecting our feet to excessive pressure. This causes extra skin growth which tends to be drier than usual.
7. ILL-FITTING FOOTWEAR
Opting for footwear that fits you like a glove is of utmost importance. We might neglect this far too many times just to squeeze into our favourite pairs but we must not. Wearing any kind of footwear that is even the least bit tight fitting and does not offer enough support to your heels could lead to your feet and heels being put through some amount of pain and causing cracks over time.
8. MEDICAL CAUSES
Cracked feet are also caused due to a plethora of medical problems. Having poor blood circulation and a high amount of blood sugar leads to excessive dryness of feet. Fungal infections and psoriasis are the top skin conditions responsible for cracked heels too.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CRACKED FEET?
The first step to healing from cracked feet is to spot the early symptoms and begin taking care of them right away to prevent excessive damage. Dry feet are often characterised by bouts of incessant itching and inflamed skin which is red in colour.
One of the first signs of this condition is your feet experiencing severe dryness to appear and a white layer begins to form causing the skin to flake from time to time. If not paid attention to, this progresses to skin around the heels and toes thickening a little. This thick skin is often dry and hard to touch. Further neglect leads to the appearance of small cracks in this thick skin around the heels. If these small cracks are not tended to, they become deeper causing pain and discomfort, and in severe cases even bleeding.
BID THOSE CRACK CRACKS GOODBYE!
1. HOT WATER NO MORE
Due to its ability to heavily dry out the skin near your feet and your heels, it is advisable to avoid soaking your feet in hot water since it will suck out all the moisture and oils present. Opting for a cold or slightly lukewarm soak can prove to be beneficial and provide some retention of moisture.
2. GRAB THAT GLASS
Dehydration and lack of liquids can cause dryness to manifest more than usual. Drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day ensures all the parts of your body, including the soles of your feet and heels are hydrated, making them soft and supple.
3. EMBRACE THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR
Throw all those tight heels and shoes away and opt for footwear that fits you perfectly. Choosing correct footwear that is not open from the behind or even footwear as simple as flip-flops should be avoided if cracked heels are pestering you. This prevents any further cracks from forming.
4. PUMICING IT AWAY
Extra skin growth at your heels can often lead to deep cracks causing discomfort and pain at times. Scrubbing this growth away a few times a week with a pumice stone after your shower can cause dead skin to slough away and give you smoother skin and bid adieu to flakes.
5. SOCK IT UP
Yes, not everyone is a big fan of wearing socks but utilising 100% Cotton socks that are clinically tested can effectively reduce cracked heels and provide you with comfort. Cotton socks ensure that all the natural oils and moisture is locked in, preventing any dryness and allowing the skin on your heels to breathe.
6. OIL THE WOES
After using oils on our faces, body and hair- its time to oil the dryness away with a nourishing foot oil. The Shankara Foot Oil is enriched with the goodness of ingredients like Neem, Manjistha and Tea Tree, a combination of which soothes, heals and relaxes cracked feet.
7. ANCIENT REMEDIES
Go back to your roots with the Shankara Kansa Wand and its innate abilities to purify and detox. A little known fact is how the Kansa Wand can also be used to massage the soles of your feet- boosting circulation and making them supple and healthy by reducing the flakiness.
8. MOISTURISING WASH
Opting for moisturising soaps and body washes to cleanse your feet and heels thoroughly can result in a high reduction of dryness, further preventing any cracks. The Aloe Vera Soap by Rustic Art is exceptionally great at locking moisture in and soothing any inflammation. Even the Faith in Nature Avocado Body Wash is an ideal choice with nourishing ingredients like Vitamin E and Avocado.
9. EXFOLIATION IS FOR FEET TOO
The key to any kind of supple skin is exfoliation, exfoliation and exfoliation! Surprise, the flaky and dry skin at your heels needs to be buffed away all the time. The Strawberry and Shea Butter Body Polish by Bliscent is a perfect combination of exfoliation and vitality with Vitamin C and Sweet Almond Oil.
10. HEAVENLY SOAKS
Letting your overworked and cracked feet rest in specially curated foot soaks not only offer you deep relaxation but also deeply detox those feet, causing all the flakes and dryness to melt away. Bliscent’s Peppermint Foot Soak eliminates every pesky toxin and allows magnesium to be absorbed reducing any inflammation in turn.
11. CREAMY JOY
We can never stress enough on the importance of moisturising your feet with a deeply hydrating foot cream. The Tvam Hisbiscus Chamomile Foot Cream works overtime to soothe and moisturise your cracked heels and relieve them from irritation. Filled with exotic ingredients like Turmeric, Saffron and Grape Seed Oil- this foot cream will truly be all your cracked heels need.