Summer has set in and with the temperature soaring well into the 30s it’s time to stow away the boots and grab your favourite pair of sandals or thongs.
But if you suffer from dry and cracked heels you could be a little nervous about slipping into your summer shoes. You may feel a little uneasy about your feet being on full display, but not only that, cracked heels can be quite painful.
As the skin on the heel becomes dry and splits sometimes bleeding can occur and in the worst cases you could even develop an infection. And while you may want to stick with your enclosed shoes all through summer to hide them, there are ways to get those silky-smooth heels you long for.
Exfoliating your face and body to remove any dead skin is likely already a part of your beauty routine, and the same can be done for your feet too. When you’re constantly on your feet throughout the day, it’s easy for the skin around your heels to become thick and dry.
While the temptation to pull away at loose skin can be hard to resist, try not to do this when your feet aren’t wet. You could damage the skin further.
Instead, to soften the skin, soak your feet in hot, soapy water for around half an hour a day and if it’s not too painful, scrub away at any hard parts of skin with a brush, loofah or pumice stone. Always be sure to moisturise when you’ve finished giving your feet a soak and scrub as well.
Be careful doing any scrubbing though if you have diabetes as the condition can make it more difficult for you to sense pain in your feet, which could mean you scrub off too much skin. Meanwhile, poor blood flow can mean it takes longer for injuries on your feet to heel.
It sounds simple, but it’s really important to keep your feet moisturised. If you get into a habit of moisturising regularly, you’ll find that the skin slowly starts to soften up and become smoother. Even if your heels aren’t feeling too dry and cracks haven’t formed, it’s still a good idea to moisturise every day.
Any normal body moisturiser should do the trick, but if you’re heading to the chemist, keep an eye out for special heel balms. They will help to get your heels silky smooth.
It may feel a little uncomfortable, but after you’ve exfoliated and moisturised it’s best to cover up your feet – a plain old (clean) pair of socks will do the trick.
If you leave your feet bare, dirt and other bacteria can easily enter the cracks which can cause an infection. When you cover up the affected area, your feet will stay moist.
It can be really easy to reach for your trusty old thongs or sandals that you’ve had for decades, but they could be the cause of your dry heel problem. Throw them in the bin and buy a new pair with a thick, comfortable sole.
This will prevent heavy impact on your heels when you’re walking and keep your feet off the ground, which minimises the chance of dirt and other harmful bacteria entering your cracked heels. Meanwhile, when you’re pottering around outside or doing your daily chores, try wearing enclosed shoes instead.
You’ve no doubt been reminded countless times how important it is to stay hydrated during summer as the temperature starts to soar. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps keep headaches away, but it also helps to keep your skin, including that on your feet and heels, hydrated.
Where possible, try and keep your fluid intake high, especially when you feel your heels starting to crack. It won’t heal the dryness completely, but it will help with the process of getting silky smooth heels.
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