While cracked heels (also known as fissures) are mostly a nuisance and just don't look very pretty when exposed in jandals or pretty sandals, in more severe cases they can cause daily discomfort, even becoming painful, or lead to more serious problems. Read on to learn about the steps you can take at home, for taking care of and preventing cracked heels...
Safety first: if you know that your cracked heels are caused by a medical condition (such as diabetes), you should not treat your feet on your own, but instead visit a Podiatrist (professional foot doctor). Furthermore, if your cracked heels are so severe that they sometimes bleed, it is also recommended you have this professionally assessed by a Podiatrist, regardless of your medical history.
Step 1: Soak...
Cracked heels usually go hand in hand (or should that be foot in foot? 😉 ) with thickened/calloused skin on the heels. Therefore it is not much use applying an ordinary moistuiser, as it would take far too long for the moisturiser to get through the thickened/dead layers of skin before actually getting into the cracked skin.
The most effective step to start taking care of cracked heels is to exfoliate this thickened skin on the feet and heels: start by soaking your feet in lukewarm water in a bath or bucket (not hot! - as this will dry out your skin further). Ideally with some non-foaming, gentle/pH-neutral soap (again regular soap is too harsh for the skin's natural balance, and strips off the good oils too!).
Step 2: Exfoliate...
After 15-20 minutes of soaking, use a loofah or pummice stone to gently scrape off any thicker chunks of dead skin which may have loosened during soaking. The goal is to remove dead skin, without damaging the healthy layer, as this helps protect the skin against infections.
Experts recommend you do not use a metal file and steer away from razors and scissors as this can do more harm than good. Again, if you suffer from diabetes or neuropathy you should not use any of these, and see a podiatrist instead.
Once you have removed as much loose, dead skin as possible, rinse and gently pat the feet dry, and you are ready for the next step...
Step 3: Moisturise...
It is likely that your soak and exfoliation will not have been able to remove all the dead skin layers. Therefore cracked heels require more than a regular moisturiser.
Heel creams or balms usually contain so called keratolytics. These soften the skin by gently exfoliating to further help remove dead skin. Examples of keratolytics include: alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid & glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and urea.
Products that contain both keratolytics and humectants (substances which attract and lock in moisture) may be the most useful.
Urea (as used in the Spirularin Cracked Heel Cream) for example, is both a keratolytic and humectant that moisturises and removes dry, cracked, and thickened skin, killing two birds with one application!
A note on socks...
Some sources recommend to put on cotton socks after applying a heel balm or cream to ensure that A. you do not spread grease around your floors and B. help the product absorb more quickly. Should you wish to wear socks, please ensure that they are in fact 100% cotton. If they are not, your feet can get too moist, which also isn't beneficial for already damaged skin. Furthermore, applying a urea cream and then wearing socks made from an occlusive (non-breathable) material such as lycra, can - in worst case scenarios - lead to open wounds, as the urea works too intensely!
Step 4: Protect
Last but certainly not least, it is necessary for the cracked skin to be protected against infections. Healthy skin is able to protect itself due to a natural skin protection barrier (sometimes referred to as microbiome). In the case of cracked heels however, the skin is already broken, making it even easier for bad bacteria and fungi (which are all around us) to enter and cause infections.
That's why it is essential that your cracked heel care also includes active antimicrobial protection against a range of problematic bacteria and fungi. While some ingredients such as coconut oil have antimicrobial properties, they usually don't protect against a range of bacteria and/or fungi.
Spiralin microalgae extract on the other hand...
That's what makes the patented Spiralin microalgae extract ingredient (also included in the Spirularin Cracked Heel Cream) so unique, as it provides active protection for the skin against bacteria, fungi and virus, without damaging the skin's natural barrier, and on the contrary accelerating cell-renewal for cracked skin to heal even faster.
Products For Cracked Heels & Dry Feet
For extremely dry, cracked heels use Spirularin Cracked Heel Cream including urea, and with a gentle warming or cooling effect.
For general dry skin or skin conditions (eczema, hyperkeratosis, psoriasis etc.) on the feet and legs (or body) - use the Spirularin Skin Gel.