How to remove dry skin from the feet: 5 ways and prevention

Are your feet as dry as the Sahara? Do you shy away from wearing open-heels and wear enclosed shoes to avoid revealing cracked heels and thick layers of dead skin? Dead skin and dry skin patches typically emerge due to lack of care and moisture.

However, many people who take good care of their skin with expensive foot creams and foot scrubs also experience excessive dryness. This can eventually lead to dead skin patches. It is essential to understand that dead or loosely hanging skin on the feet is a natural process, where your feet are exfoliating and shedding off dead skin cells to allow the development of healthy skin cells.

Dead skin typically emerges from a lack of moisture, which happens when the feet are regularly suffocated in closed shoes or heavy socks. Athlete foot, or the friction created by running or walking, can also promote dead skin. If you dont have a regular foot care regime of exfoliation, moisturizing, or vinegar foot soaks, you are more likely to experience this problem.

Dead skin can emerge on the bottom of the feet, causing the feet to emerge excessively dry and cracked. If it is caused by eczema, athletes foot, or other severe infections, dead skin can be quite painful.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most effective ways to remove thick layers of dead skin. This is not quite the same thing as removing corns or calluses

Heres everything you need to know.

Foot soaks are indeed a relaxing part of foot care; they invigorate not only the feet, but also allow the mind and body to relax. Soaking your feet in hot water, infused with essential oils and skin-softening agents, will allow you to feel the relaxing sensations traveling from your feet and refreshing your mind.

If you find it challenging to make time for foot care in your busy schedule, this is a remedy that requires very little effort on your part. You need to fill a foot soak tub or basin with warm water and pour in some essential oils that boast skin-softening properties. Coconut oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and argan oil are all great picks.

The warm water will seep deep into the cracked heels, restore moisture, hydrate your skin cells, and loosen the dead skin. You can then use a pumice stone or a foot file to remove the thick layers, which will come off easily.

A pumice stone is one of the most effective foot care tools to add to your daily skincare regime. It is a stone made with natural lava. A high-quality pumice stone, such as the one from love-Lori, is vital to a foot care regimen. It aids in removing dead skin and callouses, alongside treating athletes foot and other infections.

In order to use the pumice stone, you will need to prepare a foot soak with hot or lukewarm water. Start by dipping your feet in the warm water for at least 10 minutes; this is important to soften the dead skin, so it comes off without much struggle.

Then, start moving the stone across your feet in sideways or circular motions to remove the dead skin gently. Its best to keep dipping the pumice stone in warm water, as it helps make the process easier. Dont be overambitious when it comes to removing thick layers and larger patches. Instead, focus on removing the top-most layer and gradually work your way towards the entire area.

If you remove the entire patch of dead skin, it can cause bleeding, bruises and it can compromise healthy cell turnover. Once youre done, be sure to apply some tea tree oil or your regular foot cream to soften the feet. If you have any injuries or soreness, avoid using a pumice stone in that area.

The dead skin layers created by infections, such as athletes foot, are slightly different and more severe. Since they can be painful and give rise to severe infections, they require more care than most average cosmetic remedies. Consider using a pumice stone featuring this tea tree oil and antifungal ingredients for effective results.

A notable remedy for softening hard skin and removing dead skin patches, paraffin wax is also a popular feature of most high-end pedicure and spa foot treatments. Paraffin wax has a soft consistency that is achieving my melting the wax at a moderate temperature.

Its very easy to give your feet a paraffin wax treatment at home. You need to prepare a paraffin wax foot bath, or you can take the easier route and melt the wax in a saucepan. Once it is melted, add it to a bowl or tub where you can comfortably dip your feet. You will have to dip your feet in the paraffin wax multiple times to ensure that every inch has been adequately covered.

Be sure to avoid applying overly hot wax to your feet as it can leave burn marks and cause irritation. If youre unsure about the temperature, do a small patch test or use a candy thermometer for accuracy. Once you have applied several layers of wax on your feet, take some plastic sheets and wrap your feet nicely. The wax will harden, and you can remove it easily. As you remove the wax, the dead skin patches will also come off naturally, leaving behind a natural softness.

If you have low blood circulation, open sores, bruises, or rashes on your feet, it is best to avoid using paraffin wax. People who suffer from loss of sensation in their feet, as in the case of diabetic neuropathy, are also advised against using paraffin wax.

Removing hard skin and aged layers of dead skin cells can prove difficult and painful, which is why it is crucial to maintain foot care as part of your daily skincare regime. Foot scrubs are an easy way to prevent dry skin patches from emerging and heal damaged skin with a consistent and effective approach.

You can choose any off-the-counter foot scrub that features ingredients to heal crack skin and eliminate dead patches of skin. It is best to invest in a foot massager, scrubber, and cleaner, as it makes the process incredibly easy and rewarding. A scrubber will become an integral part of your daily foot care and showering rituals.

If you prefer natural homemade scrubs, there are many remedies and natural ingredients that are effective at softening tough skin and eliminating dead skin and calluses. The easiest trick is to mix two tablespoons of sea salt with baby oil and lemon juice to make your own scrub. Apply the scrub evening across your hard, dry feet and gently rub it with your palm. It is best to use the scrubber if you are dealing with tough layers of dead skin and excessively dry feet.

Oatmeal scrubs are a popular traditional remedy to exfoliate the skin from deep within and remove dry skin. You can make your own oatmeal scrub at home by mixing oatmeal with some milk and rose water. For effective results, apply the oatmeal scrub to your feet and work its magic for at least half an hour. Then, take a foot file, pumice stone or foot brush to exfoliate the feet and peel off the layers of dead skin.

Once youre done, consider soaking your feet in hot water to rinse off the excess. Be sure to apply moisturizer or a good antifungal foot cream after drying your feet.


3. Pumice stone or foot file

People can use a pumice stone or metal foot file to remove dry skin and calluses from the feet.

They can do this by following the steps below:

People can buy pumice stones in drug stores or choose between brands online.

Regularly moisturizing the feet will help reduce existing dry skin and prevent new dry skin from accumulating. Moisturizing the feet after using an exfoliator or a pumice stone will help the skin lock in moisture.

It is best to avoid lotions, creams, and moisturizers that contain alcohol, added fragrances, and artificial colors as these ingredients can worsen dry skin.

Instead, a person should look for products that contain:

  • humectants, such as urea, aloe, and hyaluronic acid
  • emollients, which include plant-based butter and oil
  • occlusives, such as petrolatum, lanolin, and coconut oil
  • 5. Wear moisturizing socks to bed

    For extra hydration, a person can try using moisturizing gel-lined socks. These are available to purchase online, or people can create their own.

    Gel-lined socks contain natural oils and vitamins that help hydrate and repair dry skin on the feet. The individual just needs to slip on a pair and wear them around the house for a few hours. Afterward, they can place the socks in the washing machine and let them air-dry.

    People can get similar results using their usual moisturizer and a good pair of cotton socks. At bedtime, they can apply a generous amount of moisturizer to the feet before slipping on a pair of breathable, cotton socks. In the morning, they should remove the socks and rinse the feet.

    People can use the following tips to help prevent dry skin on their feet:

  • practicing proper foot hygiene, which includes thoroughly cleaning the feet, removing dead skin, and keeping the skin hydrated with a good moisturizer
  • avoiding lotions, soaps, and body washes that contain alcohol, added fragrances and colors, and other potential irritants
  • using warm, rather than hot, water for showers, baths, and foot soaks
  • wearing shoes that fit correctly
  • instead of vigorously rubbing the feet after a shower, gently patting them dry with a clean towel
  • Wearing the wrong shoes or spending too much time standing can result in dry, itchy feet and areas of irritated or scaly skin. Without treatment, dry skin can thicken and crack open, leaving the feet vulnerable to infection.

    People can use pumice stones, exfoliators, and foot soaks to remove dry skin from their feet at home. Regularly applying moisturizer and removing dead skin will help keep the feet healthy and hydrated.

    Certain medical conditions, such as eczema, hypothyroidism, and diabetes, can cause very dry skin on the feet.

    People who have severely dry skin on their feet might want to consider contacting a specialist foot doctor called a podiatrist or another healthcare professional to discuss possible treatment options.

    Last medically reviewed on April 8, 2019

    1. Pumice stone

    A pumice stone is a natural lava stone that can help remove dead skin and callouses from your feet.

  • Dip the pumice stone in warm water. You can also soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes to soften them.
  • Gently move the stone in a circular or sideways motion around your foot to remove dead skin. Focus on removing the top layer of the skin and not the entire area of dead skin, which will help promote healthy cell turnover.
  • Apply lotion or oil afterward to help soften your feet.
  • Never use a pumice stone on injured or sore areas.

    2. Paraffin wax

    Many nail salons offer paraffin wax as an add-on for a pedicure treatment.

    Paraffin wax is a soft wax that’s melted at a medium temperature of around 125°F (51°C). The wax shouldn’t be hot enough to burn or irritate your skin.

    You can also do a paraffin wax treatment at home using an at-home paraffin wax bath, or you can melt the wax in a sauce pan and then transfer it to a bowl for dipping your feet.

    During a paraffin wax treatment, you’ll dip your feet in the wax several times. After several layers of wax are applied, wrap your feet in plastic.

    After the wax hardens, you can remove the wax. Any dead skin on your feet will be removed along with the wax. Your feet should feel soft afterward.

    Do not use paraffin wax if:

  • you have poor blood circulation
  • you have a rash or open sore on your feet
  • you’ve lost feeling in your feet, such as from diabetic neuropathy
  • If you use paraffin wax at home, be very cautious and monitor the temperature of the wax with a candy thermometer.

    Most pharmacies and drug stores sell different foot scrubs over the counter. Look for one with granules that will help scrub away dead skin.

    Or, you can even make your own by diluting two tablespoons of sea salt into equal amounts of baby oil and lemon juice.

    To use a foot scrub, apply the scrub directly to your foot and rub gently with your palm. Or use with a foot scrub brush or sponge to remove dead skin.

    Rinse scrub thoroughly with warm water after use.

    Causes of Dead Skin on Feet

    Dead skin build-up links closely to dryness. Many internal and external factors can affect the skin of the feet and cause excessive dead skin.

    Common causes of dry feet and dead skin build-up include:

  • Weather – As the seasons change, our skin may react negatively. Cold weather can cause the feet on the skin to dry out.
  • Diabetes – “Diabetes can cause changes in the skin of your foot. At times your foot may become very dry. The skin may peel and crack. The problem is that the nerves that control the oil and moisture in your foot no longer work,” explains the American Diabetes Association.
  • Calluses – When feet experience high pressure or friction due to footwear, sports, or daily activities, calluses can build up on the foot.
  • Showering – “Dry skin is mainly caused by too much bathing and soap (soap dermatitis). Soap removes the skin’s natural protective oils. Once they are gone, the skin can’t hold moisture,” says Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Age and Hormones – Skin, including the skin on the feet, may experience dryness due to changes within the body.
  • Skin Conditions – Patients suffering from skin conditions such as eczema are more likely to experience dryness of the foot and dead skin build-up.
  • Everyone’s feet will shed dead skin. It is a natural function of the human body. However, if you are experiencing excessive dead skin on your feet, visit your podiatrist. Your foot doctor will examine your feet’s skin condition and assess whether there could be underlying causes requiring medical attention.

    It is possible to treat most cases of dead skin build-up on the feet at home.

    How To Remove Thick Dead Skin From Feet

    You can create an Epsom salt scrub by mixing some salt with olive oil, coconut oil, or even hot water. Use a sponge to apply the scrub all over your feet and rub gently to exfoliate and remove the dead skin. Be sure to wet your feet before applying the scrub and moisturize your feet once youre done to prevent dryness.

    Begin by soaking your feet, and then secure the plastic booties to your feet with an adhesive. Let the booties work their magic for at least an hour before removing then and washing your feet with soap. It is essential to prepare regular foot soaks to encourage peeling and ensure the removal of dead skin layers within a week or less.

    A vinegar soak will not only help you relax after an exhausting day at work, but it will also soften your feet, making it easier to remove dry, dead, and cracked skin. You can use any vinegar you like; white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are the most popular options, and people usually stock them in the kitchen.

    Baby foot peels come with plastic booties that need to be applied to the feet for at least an hour for effective results. These booties contain gel-like liquid solutions, which include skin-softening agents, moisturizers, and fruit acids that aid in shedding off dead skin and restoring smooth feet.

    A crystallized form of magnesium sulfate, a mineral compound, Epsom salts are brimming with numerous health and skin benefits. Epsom salts are an excellent ingredient to remove dry and dead skin and restore the smoothness of your feet. You can make an Epsom salt scrub or even a foot soak.

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