For many people, cracked heels are a common foot problem all year round. They’re not only rough, but also can be uncomfortable, potentially affecting the way you stand and walk.
Although there isn’t much you can do to stop dry, cracked feet from occurring in the first place (especially on the heel of the foot), there are steps you can take to quickly return your feet to picture-perfect smoothness. What’s more, you can easily stay ahead of the problem so that dry heels don’t remain a constant bother.
While you don’t have the luxury to pop into Spa Royale at the Royal Palm Hotel to get special consultation (for now), the owner, Yuvati Shah, shares expert advice on all things to do with dry feet.
“Cracked feet are not the most glamourous of topics to discuss but it is one that most people suffer with especially during winter. Now is the time to give feet a little more TLC,” she says.
What causes the skin on our heels to crack? - There are many reasons why skin on our heels cracks, but the main one is a mixture of pressure and dryness. During winter, many people put on a few extra kilos and spend more time indoors with their feet in front of a heater. This can lead to the skin texture becoming a little dryer and, in time, this may often lead to cracks.
Cracked heels can also be caused by a lack of vitamins in your diet, especially iron and zinc. The hair and the skin are very much made up of the same chemical components and iron and zinc play important roles in hair and skin regeneration and repair.
What is the best way to reduce the cracks or get rid of them completely?
You can use a foot file to get rid of dry skin. However, you must only use it on a dry foot, never on a damp one. When the skin is damp or wet, it often becomes rubbery which makes it more difficult to file.
Place a paper towel or a newspaper on the floor and file your feet so you can see how much dry skin you get rid of. Once you’ve filed your feet, soak them in some warm water with your favourite oils or just simply lemon and salt. After you’ve soaked and towel dried your feet, apply and massage in foot cream and you’re done!
Many people make the mistake of applying the same cream or lotion they use on their bodies to their feet. Just as you wouldn't just use any cream on your face, why would you use any old cream on your feet? The skin on your feet is six times stronger than anywhere else on your body, so you need to use a specialized foot cream to make sure that it penetrates the extra layers on your feet.
3 homemade foot scrub recipes to pamper your feet:
While waiting for Spa Royale at the Royal Palm Hotel to open again, Yuvati Shah suggests trying these homemade foot scrubs that can be easily made in your kitchen to smooth and soften your feet.
Milk Scrub Treatment for Cracked Heels
• 1 cup milk
• 5 cups warm water
• 4 tablespoons sugar or salt
• 1/2 cup baby oil
• Favorite thick moisturizer
Pour 1 cup of milk and 5 cups of warm water in a foot bath tub or large basin and soak your feet for five to 10 minutes. In a bowl, pour baby oil and sugar or salt and mix well. Make into a thick paste and apply all over feet, massaging in circular motions. Rinse and pat feet dry. Then apply a thick moisturizer or petroleum jelly to the bottom of the feet. Put on thick, cozy socks and rest with your feet up for several hours or sleep with the socks on.
Homemade Foot Soak for Achy Feet
• Hot water
• 2 tablespoons vinegar
• Epsom salts or sea salt
Vinegar reduces inflammation and can make tired, achy feet feel much better. Fill a foot bath or large basin with hot water. Add the vinegar and mix in a handful of Epsom salt or sea salt. Soak feet for 20 minutes. Then, prepare the same mixture using cool water. Soak a towel in the cool mixture, squeeze out excess and wrap it around your feet for five minutes for a refreshing finish. Repeat several times a day to reduce inflammation and relieve achy feet.
Refreshing Lemon Foot Scrub
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup almond or coconut oil
• 6-8 drops of lemon essential oil
Combine sugar and almond oil in a clean, dry bowl and add oil slowly until you have a soft, wet-sand consistency. Add as much lemon essential oil as preferred and work into feet for five minutes before rinsing away in the shower. Your feet will feel like they’ve had a refreshing spa treatment. If you take care of your feet during lockdown, remember that we can add those extra special finishing touches once all is back to normal.
We look forward to welcoming you back to the SpaRoyale at the Royal Palm, Umhlanga for all your beauty needs. Visit www.sparoyale.co.za to find out what you can look forward to!