How To: Heal Dry Feet

Recently my brother in law asked me how he might heal his cracked feet so I thought I’d compile a list of solutions for those tired dry or cracked feets. Use all or a few of these solutions to see what works best for you.

1.  Lotion + Socks

This is my favorite approach. Simply pick a good thick emollient cream, body butters would work best, that is really intensive and deeply moisturizing. Many brands can fit the bill here, depending on what you personally prefer. I usually opt for the most natural choice and tend to use oils, which you can see in the next point. Just slather that all over your feet and throw on a pair of socks. I like the fuzzy plush ones for extra luxury but plain thin athletic socks work just as well. You can do this at night before bed and sleep in them (if you don’t mind sleeping in socks) or you can do it fresh out of the shower (preferably after #4.) I usually do this after showering, but feel free to do both if your feet are really in need of care.

2. Oils

Oils are probably going to be the best route for intensive skin healing since they create a water repelling barrier over the skin, instead of a water based lotion that will just evaporate or rub off when walking. You can use any number of oils, in any combination depending on what you have (or are willing to spend $$ on.) Some of the most effective oils are:

  • Castor Oil: This is one of the best for intensive healing due to the viscosity (which is like molasses), best used overnight.
  • Coconut Oil: For anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, high in medium chain fatty acids.
  • Avocado Oil:  Very intensive and moisturizing (although you may want to eat it instead)
  • Olive Oil: Known to be very moisturizing
  • Apricot Oil: Use more for daily moisturizing
  • Almond Oil: Use more for daily moisturizing
  • Vitamin E Oil: Use more for daily moisturizing
  • Jojoba Oil: Use more for daily moisturizing
  • Tea Tree Oil: For antiseptic properties, add a few drops to a foot bath or mix in with oils. Can also be used to get rid of smell or unwanted foot issues like fungus.

There are many other oil options that I haven’t listed so feel free to mix and match. The ones I wouldn’t use is vegetable oil, palm kernel oil, corn oil, peanut oil…ect you get the gist.


3. Soaking Foot Baths

There are quite a few options out there on what to put into some warm to hot water for dry feet. Here are a few, some I’ve tried, some I have not.

  • Listerine Mouth Wash Soak + Vinegar ( Ever popular on Pinterest. Although I suspect the alcohol in the mouth wash is what helps, so try substituting vodka if you don’t have mouth wash)
  • Baking Soda
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (also good for stinky feet, fungus or planters warts)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Shaving Cream (I assume this works due to the emollient nature of shaving creams to moisturize as you shave, although I haven’t tried it myself)
  • Epsom Salts + Essential Oils (Not necessarily intensively healing, but aromatherapy is great for relaxation and Epsom salts can soften the rough dry bits)

4. Exfoliation

This is one of the most important points for healing dry feet. You need to get rid of old dead skin in order to stimulate new skin growth to repair any fissures, cracks or roughness. It’s best to exfoliate after you’ve soaked your feet and allowed them to re hydrate. Here are some good ways:

  • A pumice stone (probably the best, quickest way to get rid of dead skin)
  • Sugar scrub (lighter exfoliation, but still useful mix with an oil)
  • Epsom salt scrub (same as sugar, but more exfoliant since they don’t dissolve as easily)
  • Textured Spa Gloves (can be bought at any drug store, they’re just gloves that are used to exfoliate the skin)

5. Other Options

  • Wax dip (Used for the deepest cracks, you literally dip your feet in a warm wax)
  • Vaseline
  • Vaporub
  • Raw Honey (Raw honey is a humectant which will lock in moisture. Hopefully no pets are around to lick your feet)
  • Lemon Juice + Glycerin ( I wouldn’t use on cracked skin, just dry since it would sting)


Take away here is consistency. It takes time to heal and persistent hydration to reverse cracks and dryness. Find what works best for you and work it into your routine as tolerated. Generally, as an example, I use a pumice stone on my feet every time I shower and then throw on coconut oil and socks while I do make makeup..ect. I don’t have deep cracks, however.

I hope this helps your tootsies this summer!

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips and tricks I haven’t mentioned!




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