Wearing flip-flops and walking barefoot may be one of your favorite things about Summer weather, but unfortunately it can damage the skin on your feet. The constant exposure to air dries out your delicate skin, creating calluses. The pressure of pounding your feet on the ground when you walk or run exasperates the issue and causes heel fissures, or cracks in the skin. If you continue to walk or run, the cracks can split open and become deeper, which can lead to bleeding and infection. Aside from not looking the prettiest, they are also really painful.
Here's what you can do to heal your cracked heels and prevent fissures in the first place.
To heel your fissures, you must get rid of the dry skin on your feet. If you're heading to the beach, you can naturally remove dry skin by walking barefoot along the shoreline in the wet sand. Also try this home spa treatment: Before going to bed, soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Then scrub your heels and other dry areas with a pumice stone, being careful not to irritate the cracked areas. It will gently slough off dead skin cells, revealing smoother skin. If you already have small cracks, be careful not to irritate those areas. Rinse off your feet, pat them dry, then liberally apply foot cream, salve, body butter, or another thick moisturizer. Slip on a pair of socks, and you'll wake up to happier feet. Repeat this process until all the cracks are gone.
If neither of these remedies is working because the skin on your feet is extremely dry or you already have a big crack, make an appointment with a podiatrist. The doctor can help get rid of the hard, dry skin on your feet so that your fissure can heal. If you're an avid runner and are suffering from a deep heel fissure, pounding your feet will only make it worse, so switch to walking until your cracked skin is under control.
To prevent heel fissures in the first place, wear shoes that cover your feet to help keep the skin moist (yes, even in the Summer). Drink lots of water throughout the day to help moisturize your body from the inside out. And if you live in a dry area, use a humidifier in your home to moisturize the air. Continue using a pumice stone in the shower a few times a week, and don't forget to moisturize your feet daily.