Tips to Soften Dry, Cracked Feet

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Dry skin can spread from head to toe, but dry cracked skin on the feet can be especially frustrating to cope with. Maintaining a healthy skin barrier starts with gentle skincare, and gentle skincare starts in the shower. Over the counter gentle cleansers such as Dove bar soap or Eucerin body wash can be used during short, lukewarm (not hot) showers. 


Moisturizers are best absorbed when applied after bathing when skin is still slightly damp. Cream-based moisturizers are more hydrating than lotions and generally preferred during dry winter months. Adding Vaseline or Aquaphor ointment on top of moisturizers where skin is thickened and dry can provide added skin healing benefits. This can be occluded by wearing socks at night, which increases absorption.


Chemical exfoliants can be found in lotions and help buff away scale or dead skin. Key ingredients that act as chemical exfoliants include urea, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids (ie lactic acid). Over the counter Eucerin Roughness Relief Spot Treatment Lotion contains a higher concentration of urea that is gentle enough for daily use on the feet. Baby Foot Peel, another over the counter product, is a stronger exfoliating foot treatment that can be used less frequently to provide a more dramatic skin sloughing effect.


Fissures that form in dry, cracked skin can be painful and even debilitating. While it may seem unconventional, superglue is a helpful healing agent of deeper skin fissures. A few drops of superglue into the clean, dry skin of fissures can promote healing from the inside out and provide a shield against infection. Aquaphor ointment will also promote healing of cracked skin. 


Dry skin can accompany a variety of inflammatory skin disorders, chronic health conditions, infections or even skin cancers that require further examination to properly treat. Schedule an appointment with Megan Quinn, PA-C, at Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute in Lansdale or Fort Washington to help diagnose and discuss treatment options.