What Causes Cracked Heels

What Causes Cracked Heels?

Typically beginning as a minor inconvenience, dry or cracked heels can become painful or even infected if left untreated. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to overcome this skin dilemma. Keep reading for the symptoms and causes.

Symptoms of cracked heels

There are a number of common symptoms which could indicate that you have or are developing cracked heels. Cracked heels are often superficial and not serious, however, they can sometimes be an indication of other medical issues. The following signs are some of the most common associated with cracked feet:

• Peeling or cracked skin
• Itchy skin
• Very dry skin
• Bleeding through cracked skin
• Red skin or rash
• Flaky skin
• Callus on or around heel

Choosing a hand cream for your skin type and condition

When the skin on and around the heel becomes dry, it can split and crack. There are a number of reasons why you may be experiencing dryness of the skin and cracked heels – some of which are lifestyle or environmental factors.

Improper footwear: Walking barefoot, wearing shoes which expose the heel (such as thongs or sandals), and ill-fitting footwear can all cause cracked heels
Standing for long periods of time: Especially on hard surfaces in improper footwear
Aging: Skin loses elasticity and moisture with age, making it more prone to dryness and cracks
Environmental factors: Cold weather, low humidity, and excessive sun exposure can all cause dryness of the skin
Very hot showers or baths: This can strip the natural oils and moisture from your skin
Naturally dry skin: Some people just have dry feet, which can develop into cracked heels if left untreated.

How to prevent cracked heels

If you’re prone to dryness of the skin or have experienced cracked heels in the past, there are some measures you can take to prevent it from recurring. Try the following techniques to prevent dry and cracked heels:

• Wear well-fitted, enclosed shoes that allow your feet to breathe
• Stay hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water per day
• Moisturise daily – we recommend NIVEA Creme and NIVEA Soft
• Increase your intake of omega 3 and zinc
• Moisturise after bathing and exfoliate regularly
• Avoid walking barefoot
• Avoid prolonged exposure to water or dampness and always dry feet properly after bathing
• Don’t over wash your feet, especially with non-moisturising soaps
• Avoid heating systems which cause low humidity
• Wash your feet with warm water instead of very hot water
• Don’t use products containing alcohol on your feet.

How to treat cracked heels

Along with the prevention tips above, healing your heels can be as simple as moisturising, depending on the severity of your case. Those with more developed cracked heels will also find the following treatments helpful:

Moisturise twice a day: Use moisturiser day and night to prevent dryness of the skin. NIVEA Creme contains glycerin, a key ingredient in many foot scrubs and home remedies for cracked heels, while NIVEA Soft works with jojoba oil and vitamin E. We think both are perfect for the job.
Give your feet a lemon bath: Soak your feet in a basin of warm water with the juice of one lemon for 20 minutes. The natural acid helps dissolve dead skin so it’s easy to remove. After soaking, use loofa gently on feet to wash away skin flakes and dead skin.
Oil massage before bed: Apply coconut, almond, or olive oil to your heels after bathing and massage each for ten minutes. Put on thick socks immediately afterwards and keep them on overnight. You should have noticeably softer heels in the morning. Continue this routine until the dryness has completely disappeared.
Exfoliating scrub: There are a number of great commercial foot scrubs or hundreds of recipes online for homemade scrubs that you can choose from. Exfoliate your feet daily until the dry and dead skin has been removed.
Try a homemade ointment, foot mask, or paste: Home remedies are often very effective, especially because they utilise mostly natural ingredients. Find some recipes you like from reputable health websites or beauty bloggers and give a few combinations a try. Common ingredients for cracked heel remedies include, glycerin, rose water, fruit, milk, honey, avocado, oatmeal, jojoba oil, rice flour, apple cider vinegar, shea butter, beeswax, paraffin wax, and vitamin E
Visit a podiatrist: If your cracked heels have graduated from pesky dry skin to painful bleeding, seek the advice of a it’s best to see a professional.

Don’t forget to check out NIVEA Creme and NIVEA Soft to prevent and moisturise your dry or cracked heels.