The sun is shining and spring is in the air. It's time to toss those snow boots, slip on your sandals and show off your toes. If the thought of bearing your soles in public fills you with dread, you're not alone. Winter's chill takes a toll on just about everyone's skin. Even when your feet are tucked away in wooly socks, they can still be parched from the dry, cold air. And summer's not much better: While you're hoofing it around in sandals, your feet can really take a beating.
It's not surprising that weather and wear can take such a toll on your soles. Feet have fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, which makes them especially susceptible to dry air. The problem only gets worse with age. Cells reproduce more slowly the older you are, so it takes longer for dry, dead skin to be replaced [source: George].
While a spa pedicure may offer relief for your tattered tootsies, it can do some serious damage to your bank account. Thankfully, there are a number of easy, effective home remedies to soothe your feet or help keep your toes tip top between pedicures.
Start at the drugstore, where you can find products such as pumice stones for buffing away dry, dead skin and deep-moisture foot creams [sources: Jacob, Guglielmetti]. There are also prescription foot creams available, but these will require a visit to your dermatologist [source: George].
Toenails and cuticles need attention, too. Rubbing toenails with Vaseline before bed every night will soften them up and make trimming easier. For dry cuticles, use cuticle oil at least every two weeks and soak your feet in warm water to loosen cuticles from nails [source: George].
If you take care of your feet throughout the doldrums of winter and the sandal season of summer, you can avoid skin that gets so dry it cracks. But if the damage is already done, read on to learn how to heal cracks and soothe your feet to their sandal-ready best.