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Dry feet and heels are a common issue and can occur for numerous reasons. Our feet are under constant pressure throughout the day, whether it be from walking, standing or exercising - resulting in dry skin forming on our soles and toes. This formation is due to the fact that our feet hold fewer oil glands than other areas of the body, which naturally hydrate the skin and keep it soft in appearance. The discomfort caused by dry skin on the feet can be addressed by first understanding the condition of your feet and applying recommended techniques to prevent further issues from surfacing.

What are the Common Features of Dry Skin on our Feet?

Dry feet and heels can form as a result of extensive periods of time on your feet, unsupportive footwear, genetics or environmental reasons. Dry patches usually occur when an area of thickened skin which appears as a result of repeated friction, pressure or other irritation on the feet. This build-up of skin generally has visible signs of dryness around the heel, sole and toes

What Causes Dry Skin and Cracked Heels on Feet?

It can be difficult to narrow down what is causing your personal case of dry feet, as there are many potential contributing factors. However, developing an understanding of this can help to prevent this skin issue from occurring.

The sandals you wear

The common summer sandal, popular during the summer months, is associated with a range of stressors that can derail our foot skincare. One of the main issues is that most sandals have zero shock absorption, meaning your feet are experiencing quite a lot of impact throughout the day. The stress associated with the extra amount of pressure can be the cause of skin dryness. As a result of this pressure, the heel is forced to veer sideways and can produce a thick, dry appearance on the heel. To avoid this from happening, choose supportive and breathable footwear.

Not protecting against UV rays

Protecting against UV damage is essential in maintaining the skin’s health, on every area of the body. Spending time under UV Rays can dry out your feet, so it’s important to apply SPF to both the top and bottom of your feet to protect the skin.


You may be taking the necessary steps in caring for your feet with regular treatment, however, if the issue of dry feet persists, you may have inherited the problem. If you have ruled out all options of underlying health problems, it’s important that you remain diligent with a daily foot skincare routine, as genetics are set in stone. Cream application can be doubled in this case to twice a day, to ensure the avoidance of consistent dryness.

The impact of age

Age can take a toll on our bodies, especially on our feet. The amount of stress we place on our feet over a lifetime can cause a visible amount of wear and tear, with changes developing gradually as a result of slow cell turnover and a decrease in collagen production. As the skin loses a percentage of its essential proteins such as collagen during the natural ageing process, the skin will begin to thin. The gradual depletion of collagen, heightened by a lack of consistent foot care can lead to the formation of dry feet. Throughout the natural ageing process, it’s advisable to switch to a richer foot cream, and also increase the frequency of application.

Adapting to cold weather

When the temperature drops, and the air becomes noticeably drier, so can your skin. The colder climate can cause the natural oils of the skin to deplete, and due to our feet being naturally drier than other areas of the body, they can become victim to dry feet. To try and prevent the skin from becoming dehydrated, a foot cream application in the morning can help to seal in the moisture for the cold day ahead.

How to Care for Dry Feet and Heels

Understanding how to get rid of dry skin on feet will provide a greater sense of comfort. It’s important to treat the entire foot to ensure the skin stays hydrated.

1. Soak your feet in lukewarm water

To soften dry and dead skin, a light foot soaking for around 5-10 minutes for your feet. Remove the impurities of the day, but don’t go over 10 minutes, as it could cause further dryness to the skin.

2. Choose the right socks

The bacteria on your dry feet can transfer to your socks, so try to wear clean, breathable socks at all times. Cotton socks remain a good choice, as they are lighter and cooler, but never re-wear until washing them first.

3. Clip your nails

Nails can accumulate dirt so it’s important to keep them clipped for better foot hygiene. To do so, cut the nail back so that you are left with 1mm of white line and the nail edge meets the tip of your toe.

4.Maintain cuticle care

When the skin is not moisturised, cuticles can form, so make sure to gently push your cuticles back without too much force, using a rubber hoof. 

5. File your nails

To maintain a preferred length and build stronger nails, file accordingly in a gentle manner on the top edge of the nail tip, in a single direction.

6. Exfoliate and hydrate your dry feet

Lastly, it’s time to exfoliate and hydrate the skin to seal the moisture in and increase the water capacity. Apply CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream moisturiser for gentle exfoliation, avoiding the more sensitive skin between your toes. 

Finding the Right Treatment for Dry Feet  

By understanding which active ingredients are best used within a foot treatment product, you will be able to effectively approach your individual concerns towards dry feet. The exfoliating properties of salicylic acid are generally found in cleansers and moisturising creams designed specifically for rough skin, providing ideal exfoliating benefits for dry feet concerns. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), which penetrates into the skin to encourage a gentle shedding of dead skin cells. In addition to these exfoliating benefits, the hydrating properties of urea help to improve the appearance of dry, rough, and scaly skin patches, as the ingredient holds both humectant and emollient properties - absorbing moisture and softening the appearance of the skin. The moisturising effects of the CeraVe SA Renewing Foot Cream help to strengthen and maintain the protective skin barrier of the feet, by both moisturising and exfoliating the texture of rough skin. The range of CeraVe hand and foot creams are effective in providing the skin with hydration, formulated with the three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid for enhanced hydration, recommended for hard and dry skin application.

With various types of factors contributing to dry skin and heels, it’s important to find the right skincare routine for your individual skin concerns. CeraVe uses research-based ingredients to manage different skin types and concerns for visibly healthier skin. Choose skincare products that are developed with dermatologists for effective results. 

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