Talk to us about dry skin and feet...
“Dry or cracked heels is a common foot condition, which for many won’t be serious and might just be a little unsightly. Often you’ll notice thickened skin on the heel and perhaps yellowish calluses around the edges. Lack of moisture is often the culprit, mainly because the heel has only a small number of sweat glands, which means the skin is unable to keep up moisture levels and in turn it becomes fragile, losing its suppleness and elasticity.” – Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics
How can you prevent it?
“Drink plenty of water during the day and regularly use a good foot cream like CCS Foot Care Cream that has urea as a key ingredient.” – Dina Gohil, founder & MD of DG Podiatrist, and Footner brand ambassador
“Try and identify whether or not there is an underlying cause. Avoiding any allergens or irritants should make a difference – soap is a common irritant.” – Adam
If you’ve already got dry skin, how do you fight it?
“There are several things you can do. A simple one is to use a foot file then moisturise afterwards. Another quick and effective option is to use foot exfoliation products, like a peel mask or exfoliating socks.” – Dina
Let’s talk about exfoliation…
“Exfoliation is achieved with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), known as keratolytics. These are the active ingredients in foot exfoliation products. The benefit is the shedding of mild to moderate hard skin over 1-3 weeks, leaving feet soft and smooth. It’s a painless, easy-to-do, at-home treatment that shows good results.” – Dina
“The trick to exfoliation is to do it after a warm bath when the skin is soft. Do not overdo it or you may worsen the condition.” – Adam
Foot peels, exfoliating socks – what exactly are they?
“They’re products used at home to help shed hard, dry and dead skin on the feet. Usually, their active keratolytics help break down the hard skin. Different products vary in how you use them, but in general you keep the socks on for 30-60 minutes, then rinse with water straight after. Exfoliating socks can help remove hard, dead and flaky skin. They can take 3-5 days for the peeling to begin, so it’s not instant, but it is worth it.” – Dina
And how effective are they?
“They can work for mild to moderate hard skin. If you suffer from more chronic areas of hard skin, they may not achieve the results you would like. For the majority of people, they will certainly help in reducing any unsightly flaky skin on your soles and cracked skin on the heels.” – Dina
Any ingredients to look out for?
“Look for anything with moisturizing or anti-inflammatory properties like tea tree oil.” – Dina
And any to avoid?
“It's best to avoid very high concentrations of salicylic acid as this can irritate the skin if you have sensitive skin, open wounds, diabetes, poor circulation, dermatitis or eczema. It will be listed on either the front or back of the product.” – Dina
“I’d suggest avoiding products containing high levels of fragrance, especially if you’ve not used the product before, as a contact allergy can develop.” - Adam
Finally, when should you see a professional about dry, cracked feet?
“When you have tried all DIY options at home and you’re not seeing the results you’d like, if you are getting pain from the areas or if you are unable to do DIY treatments yourself at home.” – Dina
“In the event the condition is unmanageable, it is essential to see a dermatologist to try to work out whether there is an underlying disease and to exclude a contact allergy. Treatment of the underlying condition or identification of an allergen might bring about great resolution.” – Adam
All clued up? Here are your best over-the-counter options…
Boots Detoxifying Foot Socks Charcoal & Blueberry, £1.99
These socks have been designed for weekly use and are enriched with detoxifying charcoal and vitamin E, which help to strip any clogged-up dead skin, while blueberry extract leaves feet smooth and soft. For best results, keep them on for roughly 20 minutes.
Available at Boots.com
Tonymoly Shiny Foot Super Peeling Liquid, £12.50
This product comes with two sheets you wrap around your feet. Ingredients include alpha and beta hydroxy acides (AHAs and BHAs) as well as all-natural peppermint, lavender and argan oils to leave feet silky smooth. Keep them on for an hour before removing the socks and rinsing your feet, leaving the dead skin to peel off naturally.
Available at BeautyBay.com
Skin Republic Foot Peel Mask with Foot Socks, £9.99
Skin Republic’s dual-layered socks remove dry skin within seven days. Using an exfoliating serum made from plant extracts and AHAs, they rid feet of calluses and brittle skin, as well as boost moisture. The outer layer of these socks stays dry, so you can get on with your day without needing to worry about damaging the socks or the exfoliation process.
Available at Superdrug.com
Boots Foot Peel Socks Tea Tree and Peppermint, £8.99
Another Boots own-brand product, but this time with an ingredients list that includes both AHAs and BHAs to strip dead, flaky skin from your soles and heels. The addition of peppermint and tea tree extracts help to soothe any irritation. Use once every three months.
Available at Boots.com
Footner Exfoliating Socks, £9.99
Footner’s exfoliating socks soften hard skin and cracked heels, getting your feet ready for summer. Slip the socks on and leave them to work for roughly an hour before removing. Over the following week or so, you’ll shed any dead skin that has built up, leaving you with rejuvenated feet and heels.
Available at Boots.com
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