Feet carry our whole body weight. They are used every waking moment of our busy day. Yet they are often the most neglected part of our body in terms of health and beauty care. The result? Cracked heels.
Lack of attention to any body part leads to painful and unhealthy conditions. The same goes for our heels. When our heels are exposed to dry air that lacks moisture, they begin to dry up too. Add negligence and improper care along with an unhealthy diet and they will begin to crack. Conditions like aging, using wrong footwear and standing for long lengths of time on hard surfaces are also responsible for cracked heels. Other causes of cracked heels may be psoriasis, eczema, calluses, corns, thyroid issues and diabetes.
The best cure for cracked heels comes from our own kitchens. My discovery of this fact is a tad amusing. My friend lived very near our college. Every day I would go to her house and we would both go to college together. I would always notice a smell in her house which seemed familiar but which I could not quite place. Once, when my mother opened our ghee container while preparing a dessert, it hit me. My friend’s house smelled quite strongly of ghee all the time! When I asked her whether they used ghee a lot, she revealed that her grandmother used it every day to soothe her cracked heels. She applied it topically, hence the smell. It also caused inconveniences like slippery floors and stained walls! I was most surprised that ghee could be treated as a remedy for cracked heels.
When I suffered from this condition, I remembered my friend’s grandmother’s cure but was reluctant to try it out for fear of the persistent smells and stains. When I looked up alternate home remedies I was surprised to see a host of them. You can try them out without much ado as they are easy to follow and extremely handy. Here goes:
1. Vegetable oil: Apply any vegetable oil like coconut oil, olive oil or sesame oil to the cracked heels. The oil prevents dryness and treats and heals the heels. You can get the best results when you try this remedy at night before you go to bed as there will be sufficient time for the oil to penetrate and nourish your skin. Covering your feet with socks will solve the problem of smells and stains too!
2. Honey: Honey is a natural antiseptic. So when it is used to treat cracked heels it helps to soothe them. Pour a cup of honey into half a bucket of warm water. Soak your feet in this water for about 20 minutes. After you scrub them dry, they will feel soft and clean. Doing this on a regular basis will help you get rid of cracked heels.
3. Epsom salt: Epsom salt is effective in soothing rough skin and also in relaxing tired feet. Use it regularly in warm water to soak your feet. It will help to remove dead skin and make heels soft.
4. Rice flour: Make an exfoliating scrub with rice flour and use it to remove the dead skin from your heels. This will prevent dryness and cracking.
5. A mix of rosewater and glycerin: A mixture of rosewater and glycerin works very effectively in soothing cracked heels. Rosewater has vitamins A, B3, C, D and E, is an antioxidant and also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Glycerin makes the skin soft. Make a mixture with equal amounts of rosewater and glycerin and rub it into your heels meticulously before going to bed.
6. Paraffin wax: In severe cases of cracked heels, a paraffin wax treatment is recommended. It provides instant relief as it functions as a natural balm to heal and soften the harsh skin. Melt a bar of paraffin wax and mix in two tablespoons of any vegetable oil. Once the wax cools, dip your feet in it. Repeat this several times, till several layers of wax stick to your feet. Leave your feet covered in plastic for about 30 minutes and then peel off the wax. Repeat the treatment at least twice a week till your heels are healed.
7. Vaseline: Vaseline, combined with the juice of a lemon or orange, is great for cracked heels. Be sure to clean your feet well and dry them before applying the mixture over all the cracked parts. Wear socks, preferably woolen ones and sleep in them. The woolen socks help to trap body heat which speeds up the healing process of the mixture.
8. Indian lilac: When skin gets itchy or infected because of cracked heels, Indian lilac or neem comes to the rescue. The fungicidal properties of neem soothes the inflamed skin and fights the infection too.
9. Lemons: Never throw away the rinds of lemons after squeezing the juice. Rub the rinds on your cracked heels. The acidic property of the lemons helps to soften the rough skin of the heels, which is the reason for them cracking in the first place. You can also try soaking your feet in warm water with lemon rinds or juice added to it. After about 15 minutes, remove from water, pat dry and scrub with a pumice stone for soft and smooth heels.
10. Oatmeal: Oatmeal has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Used in a pack for curing cracked heels, it will succeed in removing the deal skin cells and leave the heels moisturized and soft.