Cracked skin happens usually when our skin becomes way too dry. As our skin dries, it loses flexibility and the pressure of everyday use causes it to crack. These cracks can be painful but they’re also a giant beacon for infections and is an avoidable situation mostly for those already suffering from chronic ailments such as diabetes or lowering immune system due to age or illness which may retard the treatment of cracked heels.
Medically, cracked heels are also known as heel fissures. Fissures are regular linear cut wounds and mostly affect the surface level which comprises of the epidermis. Though cracks in the skin may arise anywhere in the body the most common is area is the rim of the heel and web of toes, which happen to be the most frequently or constantly used parts of our body.
Causes for Cracked Heels
Here are the most common causes that lead to cracked heels:
• Prolonged standing at work or home. Hard floors may also cause cracks in the feet.
• Being overweight may increase the pressure on the normal fat pad under the heel, causing it to expand sideways and if the skin lacks flexibility the pressure on the feet lead to cracked heels.
• Back-open sandals or shoes allow the fat under the heel to expand sideways and increases the possibility of cracks on the heels.
• Disease and Disorders-Athlete’s foot, Psoriasis, Eczema, Thyroid disease, Diabetes and some other skin conditions may also cause cracked heels.
• Continuous exposure to water – especially running water, can rob the skin of its natural oils and this can leave the skin dry and rough. Standing for prolongedperiods in a damp area such as a bathroom can cause dry and cracked heels
Care for cracked skin:
1. Check for infections. You should start by checking for signs of infection. If the area is swollen, releasing pus or blood, or is very tender and painful, you should go immediately to your doctor or local health clinic. Skin cracks are very prone to infection and these infections require professional treatment.
2. Soak your skin with a disinfectant. Start treatment of basic cracks by soaking your skin. Sanitize a bowl, bucket, or tub and then fill it with warm (not hot) water. You’ll then want to pour in a little apple cider vinegar to help disinfect your skin. Use about 1 cup per gallon of water. Disinfecting will help cut down on chances for the cracks to become infected.
3. Gently exfoliate. Using a clean washcloth or smooth brush and gently rub the affected area. This will remove dead skin cells and allows the products you’ll place on your skin to absorb better. Be sure to be gentle and that the washcloth you use is clean.
4. Apply a layer of moisturizer. Give your skin a final rinse and then apply a layer of moisturizer. You’ll want to lock in the moisture that your skin received with the soak, or else you risk drying out your skin even more.
– Make a long term moisturizing routine. Once you’ve started to heal the cracks in your skin, your best bet is to start a long term routine to prevent more cracks.
– Look for the right ingredients in other moisturizers. Many moisturizers will include lots of natural, healthy sounding ingredients but they won’t actually help your skin very much. You’ll want to instead look for these in the ingredients: Humectants, which draw moisture into your skin. Examples include glycerin and lactic acid. Emollients, which protect your skin. Examples include lanolin, urea, and silicon oils.
– Apply a light layer directly after bathing or soaking. Every time you bathe or expose your cracked skin to water, you’re washing away natural oils which protect your skin. Apply at least a light level of moisturizer after every shower, as well as any time you soak your feet.
– Apply a thick layer of moisturizer at night. If you can, apply a thick layer of moisturizer before going to bed at night. This will give your feet time to really soak all of that healing product, while making sure that you’re not bothered by squishy skin. Cover your skin thickly in moisturizer and then cover to protect the moisturizer while it soaks in.
5. Keep the area clean and protected until the cracks heal. Now you just have to be patient while the cracks heal. Be sure to keep the effected area clean and covered, to prevent further irritation. If the cracks are on your feet, wear socks which are clean and change them at least once (if not twice) a day until the cracks heal. If the cracks are on your hands, wear gloves when you’re outside and for activities like washing dishes.
There are several home remedies for cracked heels that you can try to resolve the problem.
1. Oil Massage
Oils are the best natural moisturizers, not only for your dry feet but also for your skin anywhere. You can either use any hydrogenated oil alone or mix them to get added benefits of their different components.
Almond oil; or Grape-seed oil; or Olive oil; or Sesame oil; or Coconut oil Warm water; Socks
Use one or a mixture of these oils (for example- a mixture of almond, grapeseed and olive oil). Wash your feet with warm water at night before going to bed. Massage your heels with any of the oils or an oil mixture. Wear socks and go to sleep. Continue this till your cracked heels are cured!
2 . Fruit Mask
Fruits have many enzymes and other wonder components and that’s why they are so healthy! They can even get rid of your cracked heels. You just need to pick certain fruits like banana, pineapple, avocado, papaya etc. and mash them to massage your feet. Banana and papaya are the best options as you can mash them easily. Rub them alone or make this fruit mixture.
Banana- 1; Avocado- half of it; Coconut flesh- from half coconut
Mash banana and avocado. Add coconut flesh to this. Mix well to get a paste. Apply the mashed fruits mask on your heals. Leave for 15 minutes. Wash off with water. Do this everyday till your cracks are healed.
3. Rice Flour Scrub
Make a natural exfoliating scrub for your cracked feet. This home made scrub not only uses rice powder for the natural grained scrub but also the very beneficial honey and apple cider vinegar.
Rice flour (fine yet coarse)- 3 tbsp; Honey – 2 tsp; Apple cider vinegar- 1-2 tbsp; Olive oil or sweet almond oil (optional)- few drops; Warm water- to soak feet
Soak your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Rub gently with a towel or cloth to drop off the dead skin cells. Now take the rice flour and add honey and apple cider vinegar to it to make a thick paste. If using oil, add to the mixture and mix well. Now apply this coarse rice flour scrub to your heels and rub gently. Massage for about 10-15 minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water. Do it daily till your feet become cracks free.
Home remedies have some of the best cost effective and result oriented solutions one can try and experiment with. But it is important to note that when home remedies do not cure cracked heels it is wise to make an appointment with your general physician.
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