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Dry and cracked skin

 dry-vector  Dry and cracked skin can happen because the nerves in your legs and feet do not get the message to keep your skin soft and moist. Dry skin can become cracked and allow germs to enter. If your blood sugar is high, sugar feeds the germs and makes the infection worse.
  • Caring for your feet
  • Xerosis
  • Treatments
  • Cracked Heels

There can be a number of causes for dry skin on the feet: a fungal infection causing the skin to dry, an allergic reaction to some component of her shoe, sensitive skin on the bottom of the feet, sweaty feet as that causes dryness, change in soaps or cleaning habits. The typical treatment would be to scrape the skin on the feet to make sure there is no fungus and then treatment with Elidel a non cortisone or a mild cortisone.
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Most people experience rough feet at some time in their lives. Going barefoot and wearing sandals or thongs can make feet even rougher. Dry weather is also a main cause of rough feet. Cracked, peeling skin is unattractive and many times can also be very painful. Rough feet do not have to plague you for the rest of your life. A few simple techniques and a little time each day will give exceptional results. Feet that are very rough and have been for a long time may take a little longer but within a few days, you will begin to see results if these simple steps are followed.

Caring for Your Feet

A wonderful tool in making rough feet smooth is a pumice stone. These come in many shapes and sizes. The beauty industry now makes many different types. The basic pumice stone can be found in a hardware store or in the cleaning section of a grocery store and is relatively inexpensive compared to the beauty pumice appliances

If feet are very dry, cracked and rough, use caution when you use a pumice stone. It can be painful if you rub too hard. A pumice stone can be used on wet or dry feet. Begin by using it on dry feet. With a back and forth motion, rub the pumice stone over rough heals or balls of your feet. Do not rub hard, just rub lightly back and forth. It will work like sand paper, taking off layers of rough skin. Dont try and do it all in one day, just begin for a few minutes.

Next, in a tub of water with a little liquid soap in it, or in the bathtub, soak your feet for at least five minutes.

Wash well with a soap filled washcloth. Once again using the pumice bar, repeat the back and forth motion very lightly. This will take off skin much faster so be very careful. Dont try to make your feet perfectly smooth the first time. You may take off too much skin and cause more problems. Depending on the roughness of the feet, if your feet are not dry and cracked, you can easily make them soft with a pumice bar in one use.

Dry feet well. If you are going to bed, cover the foot with a light coating of petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Carefully put on a sock. This will need to be an old sock that you no longer care about. A thick sock also works better. The thickness helps the vaseline not leak out to the sheets. Do the same procedure on the other foot. Sleep overnight with the socks on. If you are not going to bed, rub your feet with a non-greasy lotion and put your shoes on as usual.

Repeating this entire procedure two or three times a week; with help your feet become smooth and attractive. With a little constant effort, feet need not be rough.

An added note, people who wear shoes and socks all of their waking hours have incredibly soft feet. This is the best way to never get rough feet.

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Xerosis is a medical term for dry skin. When it results in skin that is scaly and itchy, the condition is called pruritus. This occurs when natural moisture is drawn out of the skin.

The skin needs moisture to protect itself. The best way to relieve dry skin is to use a moisturizer. Too much water can cause the skin to dry out. Habitually showering or bathing more than once a day should be avoided to prevent dry skin.

Eczema is dry skin that develops into red, itchy, or painful patches that become cracked (fissured). The skin protects the body against infection, and if the outer layer of skin (epidermis) becomes cracked or broken, the chance of infection, including cellulitis (inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue), increases. This condition must be treated immediately by a physician.

Xerosis can be caused by many factors, including:
  • washing with excessively hot water,
  • using nonmoisturizing soap,
  • showering or bathing more than once a day, and
  • bathing for long periods of time.
Risk Factors
Environmental factors such as excessive sun exposure and pollutants in the air can damage the skin. Dry skin is often a problem in cooler climates, especially during winter months when home heating systems are used regularly. This unhumidified heat is dry and draws moisture from the skin. Outdoors, cold winter air causes the body to protect itself by drawing blood away from the skin. When this occurs, the skin is not well nourished and xerosis can result.


The goal of therapy is to reverse fissuring and scaling and add moisture to the skin. Because water provides skin with its flexibility, moisturizing the outer layer of the skin is most important. Emollients are creams that can be applied to the affected area to prevent water from evaporating from the skin's surface. Emollients also smooth over the scaly edges that can flake off and cause intense itching. Emollients should be applied after bathing and frequently throughout the day.

Oils can be added to bath water, but they are not as effective as emollient creams. Bathing for long periods or bathing more often than once a day can be detrimental to treatment, even though it may appear to give relief.

Creams and lotions that contain keratolytic agents, such as urea, salicylate, lactic acid, vitamin A, and propylene glycols are also available. These lotions are not as hydrolizing as emollients.

The cause of the xerosis determines the best treatment option. For example, if the cause is an infectious agent, such as a viral or a bacterial infection, a systemic medication may be necessary. Xerosis in the absence of an infectious agent may require frequent and prolonged moisturizing therapy.

Severe xerosis may require treatment with a prescription medicine that is stronger and more effective than over-the-counter remedies. If lotions do not relieve the dry skin, or dryness lasts longer than 2 weeks, a podiatrist should be consulted for a diagnosis and treatment options. There may be another cause for the dryness. Athlete's foot, for example, is a common skin problem that can cause dryness and itching.

cracked-heelA photograph of a Heel Fissure.

Causes Of Cracked Heels

  • In active sweat glands
  • Dry skin
  • Prolonged standing
  • Obesity
  • Open backed shoes can be a contributing factor
  • Surgery to the lower extremities
  • Heel Spurs
  • Mal-aligment of the metatarsal bones (the bone structure of the sole of the foot)
  • Flat feet and high arched feet
  • Abnormalities of gait (walking)
  • Using excessively hot water is a contributing factor
  • Eczema and psoriases can also be contributing factors
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