Cracked feet aren't just an eyesore; they can also be painful [source: George]. But don't despair! Treat them right, and rest assured, your feet will be smooth, supple and ready for your best summer shoes in no time.
To help heal your heels, start by using a pumice stone to file dry skin while you're in the shower, where the warm water helps soften your skin and slough the dead skin away. Repeat this treatment several times a week. As your skin becomes softer, you'll be able to use your pumice stone less often [source: Guglielmetti].
Apply a foot cream as soon as you get out of the shower, when the bottoms of your feet are still a little bit damp. Look for a foot cream that contains salicylic acid, lactic acid or urea -- all of which work great on super-dry skin [source: Guglielmetti]. Some creams have extra ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax or coconut oil that boost the moisturizing effect. When your feet are cracked, you'll want to use the foot cream twice a day. Just be sure to wash your feet first and apply the cream immediately after [sources: Guglielmetti, George].
Once you've closed up those cracks and returned your feet to baby-softness, you can maintain your supple soles by using a few professional pedicure tricks at home skin. Start by taking your feet for a regular soak -- every week or every other week will do. Create a footbath by adding Epsom salt to a bowl of warm water, and soak your feet for several minutes to soften your skin. After your footbath, attend to any calluses or rough spots with a pumice stone. But be careful not to rub too hard -- you don't want to accidentally remove too much of the callus and damage the tender skin below. And don't be tempted to use a razor or anything sharp in place of a pumice stone -- nicks or cuts in the skin can easily become infected [source: George].
Finally, if you really want to pamper your feet, consider giving them spa-grade treatment -- a mask. Simply substitute a facial mask cream for your usual foot cream. After you rub the facial mask on your feet, wrap them in plastic wrap or a towel. Relax for about five minutes. When you're done, you'll have spa-quality feet for a fraction of the cost [source: Matlin].
For even more tips and tricks, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- George, Rebekah. "For Feet's Sake." Prevention Magazine. July 19, 2008. (Accessed 9/6/2009)http://www.prevention.com/cda/article/for-feet-s-sake/1d0358dda8b3b110VgnVCM10000013281eac____/lifelong.beauty/anti.aging.arsenal/skin.care
- George, Rebekah. "Smooth Summer Skin."Prevention Magazine. June 2, 2006. (Accessed 9/6/2009)http://www.prevention.com/cda/article/smooth-summer-skin/19acd08f88803110VgnVCM20000012281eac____/lifelong.beauty/anti.aging.arsenal/products
- Guglielmetti, Petra. "Buh Bye, Ugly Feet: Meet My New Pedi Secret." Glamour Magazine. October 14, 2008. (Accessed 9/6/2009)http://www.glamour.com/beauty/blogs/girls-in-the-beauty-department/2008/10/a-secret-to-prettier-feet.html
- Jacob, Stephanie Tweito. "Top Foot-Smoothers." Allure Magazine. July 21, 2009. (Accessed 9/6/2009)http://www.allure.com/beauty/blogs/reporter/2009/07/top-footsmoothers.html
- Matlin, Jessica. "Save Money: Do Your Own Toes With This At-Home Pedicure." Allure Magazine. October 13, 2008. (Accessed 9/6/2009)http://www.allure.com/beauty/blogs/reporter/2008/10/save-money-do-your-own-toes-wi.html
- Matlin, Jessica. "The Three Commandments of DIY Pedis." Allure Magazine. February 4, 2009. (Accessed 9/7/2009)http://www.allure.com/beauty/blogs/reporter/2009/02/three-commandments-diy-pedis.html