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    How to Prevent Cracked Feet This Summer

    aos skincare image of feet on a beach

    It’s easy to not think much about your feet until the sun comes out. After a long winter of keeping your feet safely protected in socks and boots chances are they aren’t looking their best. Once the weather warms up and sandal and flip-flop season is upon us, it’s time to set those feet free. Sure, some people pamper and love their feet all winter long but many of us simply figure we’ll address foot care when the temperature goes above 70 degrees. Well, the time is now here and those feet need the love they have not been getting. 

    Where to start? First, we address the dry skin situation.

    Think about treating your feet similar to your face (after all, skin is skin!): Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and protect. 


    This is the easy part. Wash your feet well at the end of the day. When you've been in sandals or going barefoot in the garden, soaking your feet helps draw dirt out of the cracks and crevices and softens the calluses and dead skin. You can make this as simple or fancy as you like. Sit on the edge of the tub and soak them in some warm water with a little soap in it for a few minutes. Epsom salts help tremendously, so add a scoop if you have them on hand. I like to throw in some herbs from the garden like rosemary or mint (you can even use herbal tea you have in the cupboard- get creative!).


    Heels, calluses and the balls of our feet are all areas prone to getting dry, cracked skin- an issue that can be unsightly and also painful. You have several options for combating the dry skin on your feet: a foot file, pumice stone and use of sugar scrubs will all help do away with the dry, rough areas. When it comes to exfoliating your feet, it can be tempting to be too aggressive, but it’s best to proceed gently no matter the type of exfoliation you choose. 

    Foot scrubs are a quick and easy way to clean, exfoliate and soften the skin on your feet. In addition to sloughing away dry skin, they also cleanse and moisturize in one step. Simply scrub your feet in the shower as you do the rest of your body. Foot files and pumice stones are a good choice if the dry skin on your feet is thicker and can't be remedied with a scrub. Again, these tools work great, but use them properly and don’t overdo it. 

    For overnight exfoliation try using an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) product on your feet. These ingredients go deeper to help soften and dissolve the multiple tough layers of dry skin that can form on the feet. I use our Coconut Lactic Peel. Whatever product you choose, use it before bed for the best results.

    Before going to bed at night, put your exfoliant on the dry skin of your feet, then follow with a foot cream and top with socks. The socks will help hold the moisture in and it won't get all over your sheets. If your heels are cracked to the point of being painful, replace the moisturizer with Skin Doctor salve for an intensely hydrating treatment. Repeat this process 2-3 times per week to keep dry skin from building up.


    Make a habit of moisturizing your feet every night. My husband and I keep The Big Tin of Skin Doctor salve on the nightstand and give ourselves a quick foot rub before falling asleep. He swears he can't sleep without it!

    Soft feet aren't just for softies- the world's toughest adventure racers use our Skin Doctor salve daily (and sometimes more than once a day) to keep their feet in racing shape. They're such die-hard ambassadors that we sponsor the locals, the Bend Racing Team, providing them with the salve for every race and they now claim it's a key to why they keep winning. Keeping calluses soft and pliable and the rest of the skin on our feet strong and healthy prevents cracks and blisters from forming.


    Summer is the season that’s hardest on our feet and wearing proper footwear for the summer activity you’re participating in will help keep your feet healthy and blisters at bay. As much as going barefoot is part of summer, avoid doing it too often. In addition to sunburn, it can expose your feet to infection, injury, athlete’s foot and make dry, cracked skin worse. When going into the water, consider wearing water shoes to protect your feet from cuts and abrasions.

    During the day, treat your feet as well as you do the rest of your skin. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Sandal clad feet are one of the most exposed and often forgotten areas of the body. Burnt feet are painful and unnecessary!

    If it all feels like too much, or you just want someone to rub and pamper your feet, start by getting a professional pedicure and then maintain the results from there yourself. When I'm consulting with someone who has thick calluses and/ or deep cracks, I almost always suggest starting with a professional pedicure. They have the tools and products to quickly and safely remove thick calluses and get you well on your way to soft, smooth skin.

    Happy Adventuring!

    NEXT: Read 5 Ways to Prep Your Skin for Summer Sun



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