How to smooth rough heels at home
Aug 02, 2023
Get healthy, happy, crack-free heels while saving money on countless trips to the nail salon
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Ever felt the not-so-glorious glory of a dry, cracked heel catching on your bedsheets, socks or pants? For some, it’s something painful; where cracks turn to tough-to-heal wounds that can make every step a real pain.
It’s not only the summer months (aka sandal season) that call attention to the state of our feet: dermatologists note there are many environmental, age- and health-related conditions that affect the health of our feet — particularly, our heels — all year long. From lower humidity in the winter months to skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, open-backed shoes to diabetes, there are causes a’plenty of rough heels.
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The good news? You don’t have to spend endless amounts of money at the nail salon or spa having them professionally treated to make a difference in how your heels look and feel. Following the lead of experts, we’ve rounded up some of the most-loved products on the market to help you say ‘Goodbye!’ to dry, cracked heels and ‘Hello!’ to smoother, less painful skin on those feet that carry you where you need to go.
It’s unanimous: step one is sloughing off the rough stuff. After giving your feet a dose of warm water (either in the shower, bath or an intentional soaking), try one of the products below to remove rougher, tougher skin and reveal the smooth softness hiding underneath.
Beauty By Earth Pumice Stone
Twice the size of standard pumice stones or blocks, the Beauty by Earth 100 per cent volcanic pumice stone gets into tough, built-up dry skin and calluses to smooth and remove dry, cracked skin that can catch on bedsheets, clothes and more. Rougher than non-volcanic pumice stones or blocks, it’s gotten a healthy dose of love for its texture and effectiveness. Rest assured: with thoughtful pressure, it won’t get too tough on your feet and toes.
Pro tip: As this stone is hand-held, it’s best used during or after a bath or with a foot soak. Standing in the shower and sloughing with this stone is not recommended.
Price: $16.99Where to buy: Amazon
Tweezerman Sole Soother Callus Stone
Ergonomic, sturdy, antibacterial? Yes, please. Celebrated for its ability to withstand some ‘significant elbow grease’ (you read that right!), the Tweezerman Sole Soother Callus Stone takes the traditional pumice stone up a notch with an ergonomic handle and silver infused in the ceramic stone for amped-up hygiene. Now in a fully waterproof design, it’s tub- and shower-friendly, meaning you can easily add it to a daily or nightly routine to keep up the smooth work.
Price: $28.00Where to buy: Sephora | Walmart
Foot File Callus Remover
A staple at most spas and nail salons, a callus file is incredibly efficient at taking dry, rough skin off feet. Noted by previous customers as being well-built and properly sharp, very little pressure is required to see a significant difference in the state of your heels, toes and soles. Want the smooth feet but nervous to give a file a try? Get brave at your next pedicure or spa appointment and ask for a quick tutorial on how to safely and effectively use a foot file. Or, if you’re brave enough to watch a video on it, give it a quick Google; there are ample creators online that can help you grow your filing confidence.
Price: $13.99Where to buy: Amazon
Once you’ve exfoliated, time to lock some moisture into the skin that’s freshly resurfaced. A cozy way to lock it in? Pop a pair of socks on after you moisturize.
Eucerin Advanced Repair Foot Cream
Tried, tested and truly a staple in so many homes and medicine cabinets across North America, Eucerin knows how to craft up one heck of a dryness-busting cream or ointment. This fragrance-free foot lotion does a deep dive into dry skin to help it lock in new moisture and maintain its newfound smoothness and hydration.
Price: $50.00 (for a pack of 3)Where to buy: Amazon
Gehwol Med Salve for Cracked Skin
While dry heels may not be genetic, Gehwol products first landed on my radar when I saw them in my mom’s medicine cabinet. Turns out, it’s a bit of a cult classic/cult favourite in the foot care world. With over 100 years in operation, German company Gehwol (which translates to ‘Walk Well’) is known for its array of foot and nail care products made from high-quality, natural ingredients. The salve in particular? It’s won folks over with its intensive penetration to tough, dry, rough skin and can double as a mask treatment when feet are well-lathered in the salve then wrapped in cling wrap and covered with socks (save that one for the cooler months).
Price: $16.39Where to buy: Amazon
L’Occitane 15% Shea Butter Foot Cream
Enriched with lavender and arnica, this foot cream gets rave reviews because of its “light” lavender scent, and its fast, non-oily absorption. Touted as ‘luxurious’ by many of the over 3000 reviewers leaving their love for L’Occitane, this deeply nourishing cream won’t leave you feeling like you need to wash your feet mere moments after applying. If anything, you may have visions of frolicking through lavender fields in Provence (that result is not guaranteed).
Price: $37.00Where to buy: Amazon.com | L’Occitane Website
An at-home spa moment? Yes, please. A little extra care — whether weekly or bi-weekly — can go a long way with routinely rough heels. Try these extra steps and mini-indulgences to keep your hard work as long-lasting as possible.
Baby Foot Peel Mask
It’s unanimous: the Baby Foot Peel Mask is — from what this writer can discern through ample internet sleuthing — the most loved at-home foot treatment for an added dose of both luxury and functional smoothing to rough or tired feet. Focused on smoothing out rough, cracked skin and removing dead skin, this peel contains lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid (be sure to check with your healthcare professional if you can use these if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding).
Price: $21.42Where to buy: Amazon
New Skin Liquid Bandage
If you’ve ever experienced a crack due to dry skin — be it on your hands or feet — you know how uncomfortable and downright painful it can be to try and heal the crack while getting on with your daily life. New Skin Liquid Bandage helps the healing process; creating a barrier over the crack to keep irritants or bacteria out, while giving you the opportunity to work on moisturizing your heels in the process. It’s fragrance, paraben, latex and BPA-free with no sting on application.
Price: $4.97Where to buy: Walmart | Amazon
Dr Teal’s Eucalyptus and Spearmint Relax + Relief Pure Epsom Salts
Add some of this pre-mixed (and gloriously scented) Epsom mix to your bath or a dedicated foot soak once a week to soften feet with some added oomph before a sloughing session. Loved by Amazon reviewers for this blend’s gentle scent and ability to not only help soften feet but calm aches and pains, the eucalyptus and spearmint epsom salts have the added benefit of revitalizing skin and supporting muscle recovery — so if your tired, well-trod upon feet are complemented by any achy legs, glutes or back muscles, you can get a whole-body benefit, too.
Price: $4.97Where to buy: Amazon
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