TODAY -

Got cracked heels? It's a common problem

Shahnaz Husain *



Heels are at their worst in winter. Painful, cracked heels also referred to as heel fissures are a common skin condition, especially in winter when humidity is low and the outdoor temperature is cold. It is generally caused due to lack of moisturization as the skin on the feet lacks oil glands. When the skin becomes too dry, it loses much of its elasticity.

This can result in cracked heels which can fracture into deep cuts, or fissures, that can be pretty painful and even get infected. The way homes are heated in the wintertime also has an effect. Fireplaces, woodburning stoves, central heating and space heaters all reduce indoor humidity, and that dries out skin and further hampers proper blood circulation to the feet.

If you happen to be suffering from eczema, diabetes, thyroid, psoriasis with medical conditions of a compromised immune system, an infection can become a serious health risk. Heels can crack when the skin around the rim of your heel becomes super dry and thick, and increased pressure on the fat pad under the heel causes the skin to split.

Cracked heels are one of the most common foot issues that can arise if you don't pay proper attention. Cracked heels are especially prevalent when you walk barefoot or feet are exposed through open-back shoes as we call them in Hawaii chappals. In some cases, cracks in the heels can become very deep and cause extreme pain.

Dry/cracked feet are a sign of lack of attention towards your body and one of the worst nightmares for most women. The skin around your heels is prone to dryness. The cold dry weather especially during extreme winters causes loss of moisture and further hampers proper blood circulation to the feet. The skin of the feet suffers as a result.

The skin on the heels is harder and thicker than most other parts of the body. Loss of moisture causes the living cells to change into dead horny cells. Therefore, there is a build-up of dead cells. If the lack of moisture proceeds unchecked, cracks develop on the heels and may even extend beyond the dead cells, causing pain. But don't despair, yet there are natural ways to get baby soft foot skin.

Give yourself weekly foot treatments at home to revitalize the skin. Soaking the feet in warm water helps to soften the skin and remove dead skin. For daily foot and heel care, apply pure almond oil on the feet daily before your bath and massage it into the skin. After your bath, apply a cream while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture. Massage the cream into the skin.

The feet will remain soft and smooth. Honey is a natural remedy for common foot problems. Honey contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which can heal and cleanse deep cracked wounds and moisturise the skin. Mix one cup of honey in five litres of lukewarm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes. You can use honey as a foot scrub after the soak or apply it as a foot mask overnight.

You can repeat it twice in a week. You can opt for a cheap and home remedy available on your kitchen shelf. Take lemon halves and some quantity of sugar. Dip the lemon halves into sugar and scrub on the heels daily and wash off with fresh water. Follow a daily treatment for cracked heels for one week. At night, before retiring, soak the feet in hot water for about 20 minutes.

Add some coarse salt and shampoo to the water, before soaking the feet. Hot water helps to soften the dead skin on the heels. With the help of a pumice stone or a heel scrubber, rub the heels gently, in order to remove the dead cells. Avoid metal scrubbers. After washing the feet, massage them with a cream, rubbing it into the skin. A cream containing lemon and turmeric would be ideal.

Bandage the heels with clean cloth. Then wear cotton socks and go to sleep. This way, the cream will remain on the heels and not get on to the bedclothes. Keeping the heels smeared with cream all night will soften the skin and replenish moisture loss. Repeat this every night for one week. Coconut oil contains antiinflammatory and antimicrobial properties which can help your skin retain moisture.

It is widely used for treatment of dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. Not only does coconut oil help retain hydrating water on the skin's surface, but it also removes dead skin cells. On top of that, coconut oil can help strengthen tissues underneath the epidermis. Coconut oil can be used in place of your regular foot lotion to prevent cracked heels; consider using it daily.

Apply the oil liberally on your feet before going to bed. You'll have smoother heels in the morning. Moisturize your feet with coconut oil twice a day when you experience deep cracks. Prevent cracked heels by soaking, scrubbing, and performing the hot olive oil treatment on your feet twice a week.

Apply olive oil with the help of cotton balls and gently massage your feet in circulation motion till the oil is soaked in the skin. Cover the foot with cotton cloth and wash it after some time with lukewarm water. Apply the oil before going to bed night daily for better results. Rub olive oil on your heels as soon as you emerge from a shower or bath in the morning, and apply the oil again each night before bed.

Wear socks to bed to keep the oil on your feet and off your bedding. Sesame oil is very useful in treating cracked heels since it is considered to be very nourishing and moisturizing. Sesame oil contains vitamins, nutrients and minerals along with its antifungal properties. Apply sesame oil on your heels and other parts of the feet and allow it to soak in the skin naturally.

You may wash the feet with normal freshwater. Sesame oil softens and soothes dry and cracked feet very efficiently. Make sure that you bear closed back shoes and socks since open backs can cause cracked heels and make them deep which causes severe pain sometimes. Also, be sure to match your footwear to the season.

Select weather appropriate footwear to give appropriate protection to your feet and help prevent cracked heels. Use cotton socks and avoid synthetic material, woolen socks during winters which can irritate the skin and cause dryness. Avoid soaps and shampoos which contain strong, harsh chemicals and use home made skin cleansers with organic ingredients.

Make sure to keep cracked heels protected by covering them with a thick layer of cotton cloth to create a protective barrier on the surface of the skin to moisturize dry skin. Consider eating a diet rich in vitamin E, calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids to maintain optimal skin health.


* Shahnaz Husain wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is international fame beauty expert and is called herbal queen of India
This article was webcasted on December 05 2020.



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