How to get rid of dry skin on the feet

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin on the Feet

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If you’re wondering how to get rid of dry skin on the feet, then there are actually quite a few effective ways to do it. Dry skin on the feet is a common problem that can strike almost anyone at any age and although the biggest complaint from sufferers is the unsightliness of dry, cracked feet, it can also cause discomfort and sometimes be painful to walk on.

The feet actually have a pretty rough time of it when you consider their living conditions. They’re often confined inside a tight, hot, sweaty shoe or sock with little to no air to breath, in an environment that is a prime location for bacteria growth and if you’re of the female variety, chances are that you’ve squeezed the poor little soles (pun intended) into a shoe or two that just wasn’t made for their size, shape or overall wellbeing.

When you think about what we put them through especially us ladies, they could easily be considered as one of the most ill-treated and neglected parts of the body but foot abuse aside, dry skin on the feet can be caused by many different factors.

What causes dry skin on the feetWhat Causes Dry Skin on the Feet

If the way we treat them wasn’t enough, the skin on the feet is already naturally drier than the skin anywhere else on the body so it’s easy to see why feet suffer from dryness more often than any other area. The lack of moisture is often the cause but sometimes medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, eczema, and psoriasis can also be a causing factor.

Other causes can include the use of harsh soaps that can strip the skin of essential protective oils which can lead to further dryness. A lack of certain essential fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flaxseed or pumpkin seeds or gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in starflower oil or evening primrose oil can also contribute to the problem.

Excessive hot shower or baths are another common cause as hot water is known to cause drying of the skin. In the same sentence, colder weather and low humidity can be as equally responsible mainly due to the dry air created by indoor heating. Being on your feet for long periods of time or wearing unsuitable or uncomfortable footwear can also be a contributing factor.

How to Treat Dry Skin on the Feet

There are many simple ways to try and tackle the problem but there are also ways to try and prevent it too. Sticking to lukewarm showers or baths is one way to avoid overly drying out the skin and always pat dry your feet rather than rubbing them excessively. Moisturising is extremely important and a good specially formulated foot moisturiser is an excellent addition to your skincare routine and don’t forget to change those socks daily to keep your feet fresh and clean.

pumice stone for dry feetFoot Filing

One of the most common ways to treat dry skin on the feet is either the good old-fashioned pumice stone or a foot file. A foot file is best used on dry skin but a pumice stone can be used on either wet or dry skin depending on your preference. While some prefer to use the pumice stone on dry skin, others prefer to use it in the shower on damp skin as they feel the skin is softer, making it easier for the dry skin to be removed.

Another alternative is to use one of the many specifically designed devices like the ped egg although some people may be a bit dubious about using something that resembles a cheese grater on their feet but there are roller type variations that are more like sandpaper which isn’t quite as scary.


Whilst some may have never heard of this particular product, those who have had a baby will be all too painfully familiar with it. Lanolin is used by breastfeeding mothers to help heal the nipple area when it becomes dry, cracked and usually extremely painful. It is a very thick, vaseline-like gel that is extremely effective at relieving dry or cracked skin.

Apply Lanolin to the feet liberally before bed and then cover with clean socks and leave on overnight. In the morning remove socks and clean feet. The process can then be repeated again and left on during the day if you wish for a quicker result.

oil treatments for dry feetOvernight Oil/Vaseline Treatments

Another popular treatment is the use of vaseline or coconut oil and although many people also do the treatment with vegetable oil or olive oil, vaseline seems to be the most popular choice.

Much like the Lanolin treatment apply the vaseline or oil of your choice liberally to the feet and cover with clean socks. Leave on overnight then wash clean in the morning.

Again this process can be repeated during the day but some people don’t like the moist feeling in their socks while they’re working away at their day job so unless you can cope with the initially soggy sensation, this one may be better kept for use at night only.

Epsom Salt Soak

An Epsom salt foot soak is another popular remedy that is said to help with dry skin on the feet. Simply fill a foot tub with warm water and add ¼ cup of Epsom salts, let feet soak for ten minutes then remove and rub gently (while still wet) with a wet pumice stone. Place your feet back in the foot tub for a further ten minutes then remove and pat dry thoroughly and apply a moisturiser specially formulated for the feet area or continue with one of the above overnight treatments.

This treatment should not be overused though as it is said that too much soaking in Epsom salts may actually cause the opposite effect and cause excessive drying. Use this treatment once or twice a week but monitor your skin closely in case any further dryness occurs. This treatment is not suitable for those with certain medical conditions including diabetes so always check with your doctor first.

Final Thoughts

There are a few remedies mentioned above that you can try and although all of them can be used on their own, you could use a combination of them together for a more comprehensive treatment.

If you do decide to give any of them a go, I would love to hear all about your results so please feel free to tell me all about it in the comments section below.






  • shrey

    Dry skin on feet is so embarrassing and it actually makes me want to hide my feet whenever I go barefoot. I try filing it but even then they are rough and easily attract dust onto them.
    I face severe dry skin on the feet during the winter season and sometimes it gets so bad that my feet start to bleed.At that point I really don’t understand what treatments to go for?
    Any suggestions?

    • Jessie

      Hi Shrey

      I had a very similar problem in the center of one particular foot a few years ago . It got so dry that I ended up with a large deep split in the skin that was so painful I couldn’t go near it with a foot file or pumice stone. In the end, I put Vaseline on it every night before bed and that seemed to work wonders. Lanolin is also really effective but it is more expensive.

  • Shirley

    This is such a terrible problem for me, I just don’t know what to do. I’ve tried the vaseline thing but it just irritated my skin too much. I find that walking on the beach helps but that’s not practical in the winter. I’m wondering if there’s a natural remedy that’s more effective than vaseline, any ideas?

    • Jessie

      Hi Shirley

      If the Vaseline is irritating your skin, you could try either coconut oil or argan oil. Just follow the same instructions as for the Vaseline treatment but change the product. There’s quite a few different natural oils you can try so maybe play around with a few different ones until you find one that suits your skin but coconut oil or argan oil would be the most popular. I hope that helps.

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