The feet tend to be more dry and cracked in the winter than the summer, for no other reason than they are more ignored during the winter months. But from November through February, when your feet are hidden away by socks and heavy boots this winter, you have to start to ask: What is the best way to heal the feet?
Soak Your Feet
For rough feet, it is best to soak them in a warm bath for 20-25 minutes before you are ready to exfoliate. This step softens the skin so that your exfoliating puff can more easily scrape away dead and flaky skin. Dr. Mikhail Borakovskiy of the Integrative Foot and Ankle Centers of Washington notes that a nice foot soak will also open up the pores so that ingredients may more easily penetrate the skin.
Online you will find recipes for numerous DIY foot soaks for rough feet, but few of these are powerful enough to give your skin a thorough exfoliation (even though they may make dry, cracked heels feel smoother and more hydrated). For the best soaks, we recommend using warm water, as hot water can actually zap existing moisture from the skin. Want to learn more about DIY feet exfoliating treatments? Check back in the next few weeks when we debunk some common myths and treatments!
Use AminoGenesis Cocoon, a Deeply-Penetrating Moisturizer
Freshly-exfoliated heels need to be moisturized and have their skin barrier fortified. To treat your heels, Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery suggests using a cream containing urea or glycolic acid worn under socks (to make ensure that the cream won’t wear off) (Popsugar). Urea has been shown to inhibit epidermal hyperproliferation, which is partly responsible for the development of hardened and scaly patches of skin (Acta Dermato Venereologica). In addition, research suggests that urea can exhibit antimicrobial activity, hydrate skin, and even improve skin barrier functioning (Journal of Investigative Dermatology). Likewise, topically-applied glycolic acid exhibits photoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, which is a bonus for those of us who live in sandals or who have painfully-dry skin (Dermatologic Surgery). You should also consider using moisturizers that contain other super-hydrators such as amino acids, glycerin, or coconut extracts.
While many DIY-ers rely on homemade concoctions, these seldom contain powerful exfoliating ingredients, or any exfoliating ingredients at that. For the best exfoliation, you should combine a serum or cream containing amino acids. If you have severely dried skin or large cracks and fissures, do not attempt to cure these at home; these require immediate medical attention. Attempting to treat these at home can lead to potential infection and injury (Dr. Chris Schach for OnlineDermClinic).
Exfoliating your feet doesn’t have to be difficult, but be careful when you read online about DIY “treatments” for dry, cracked feet. It is important to soak your feet in warm water for 20-25 minutes before you plan to exfoliate, so as to open up your pores and slightly soften dry patches. Use an amino acid-rich formula like AminoGenesis Cocoon, with ultra-hydrating glycerin and the 17 amino acids your skin needs to replenish itself.