What Causes Dry Skin on our Feet?

What Causes Dry Skin on our Feet?

We put our feet through a lot – wearing high heels, standing all day for certain jobs, running around after children, to mention but a few – so it’s not surprising that we often end up with dry, sore skin on our feet. There are also some health conditions that can contribute to getting dry skin on feet.  

Unfortunately, our hard-working feet often end up neglected, which can make dry skin worse and can also lead to more serious issues such as cracked heels.

However, the good news is that with a little care and attention, you can easily eliminate dry skin on your feet – read on for our top tips.

what causes dry skin on our feet

The causes of dry skin on our feet

The skin on your feet is much thicker than the rest of the body – 4mm thick compared with 0.5mm on your eyelids. This makes sense when you consider the weight our feet have to put up with!

The skin on our feet doesn’t produce oil, making it very easy for your feet to become dry, and you may suffer from cracked heels

There are several things that can cause dry skin on your feet. These include:

  • Ill-fitting shoes – whether it’s a pair of sky-high heels, or trainers that aren’t properly fitted, shoes can rub our feet, leading to dry skin, calluses and cracking.

  • Winter – colder months mean less humidity and drier air, which can dry out our feet. We also tend to wear closed shoes and socks during these months which can lead to a lack of moisture.

  • Pregnancy – hormonal changes both during pregnancy and in the post-partum period can lead to drier skin all over the body, including feet.

  • Getting older – as we age, our skin produces less collagen and becomes thinner and less elastic, which can make it more susceptible to drying out.

  • Certain conditions such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism can affect foot health, as well as poor diet.

A 2012 survey revealed that 20% of American adults suffered from cracked heels, with women reporting a much higher rate than men.

Foot Spa what causes dry skin our our feet

DIY treatments for dry foot skin

If you want to transform your tootsies from rough to radiant, it’s very easy to create a wonderfully relaxing and effective spa experience in the comfort of your own home.

Follow this simple Three Step Foot Pampering for instant results:


Step 1

Soak your feet in warm water for five minutes, then give them a gentle massage with a homemade scrub. We love the sound of this coffee and sugar scrub! Grab the recipe here.

For tired feet, try our Neem and Hemp Sugar Foot Polish for its soothing warmth – get a FREE sample with every purchase of our Foot Repair Treatment Balm whilst stocks last.


Step 2

Gently buff any dry areas with a pumice stone or a foot file. Take care not to scrub too vigorously if you have cracked heels as this could make them worse.

Have you been caught out with over-vigorous foot brushing? Here are a few watchpoints to be aware of when using a foot buffer or pumice stone:

  • Limit DIY exfoliation to once a week unless there is excessive build-up of dead skin or stubborn calluses. Limit professional pedicure to once a month.
    • To avoid cuts and injuries, some aestheticians advice against the use of grater-style foot files.
    • Diabetics should inspect feet for cuts and injuries and check the water temperature before soaking feet. Exfoliate with care to avoid brush burns.

what causes dry skin on our feet

Step 3 

Finally, finish with a moisturizing balm or cream to avoid skin hardening. For feet that need extra attention, use as an overnight treatment with a pair of cotton socks.

Highly recommended, our Foot Repair Treatment Balm is full of natural ingredients your feet will love, expertly marrying ancient Indian plant-based wisdom with scientific know-how.

After a few days of use, you'll notice a huge difference as the skin on your feet improves and starts to look healthy again. To learn more click here.


Vitamin E and lecithin refresh dry skin, naturally antibacterial neem oil relieves any inflammation, while rice bran wax, kokum butter and soybean oil lock in moisture and create a protective barrier.

Patchouli and lemongrass essential oils not only smell amazing, but also have soothing and antibacterial properties too.


It’s worth noting that if your dry skin doesn’t improve after trying the simple steps above, or is itchy, sore or scaly, it could be caused by a fungal infection, which may require further treatment. Visit: Home Remedies For Foot Fungus that Really Work to learn more.


what causes dry skin on our feet

Easy ways to care for your feet

There are also some simple steps you can take to minimize dry skin on your feet and help keep your feet healthy and happy.

Firstly, take good care of them! Keep up your at-home treatments, and wear well-fitting shoes and socks that allow your feet to breathe. In winter, moisturize and condition feet well to prevent skin dehydration and dryness.

1. Avoid any products containing a high percentage of alcohol, fragrances and added dyes as these can irritate your skin and dry it out. Shower and soak feet in warm, not hot, water, to avoid drying them out, and gently pat them dry rather than rubbing them too briskly.


2. Adopt the use of gentle moisturizing cleansers over a foaming foot wash to avoid skin irritation and to retain skin’s natural protective barrier. Our Fresh Feet Cleanser is low foaming and packed with naturally moisturizing ingredients and available here. The leave in/rinse off gel is gentle on skin and can be used on the go or as a foot wash to revive and refresh tired feet.


3. Apply sunscreen that offers protection against UVA and UVB rays to protect the skin’s protective barrier. This protection is more critical post skin exfoliation (e.g. chemical exfoliation) that can leave skin more susceptible to sun damage.


4. Finally, avoid vitamin deficiencies by eating a diet that’s rich in omega 3 fats, Vitamins A and D, calcium and zinc will also help maintain healthy skin. And the good news is that this will benefit your whole body, not just your feet!  

        Sanjeevita creates safe, green products that work hard to restore, heal and protect your skin. Click here to check out our full range.


        Further reading/Links:

        1. https://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/Vitamin_Deficiency_and_Dry_Skin
        2. https://www.thehealthy.com/foot-care/homemade-foot-scrub-recipes/
        3. https://www.ipfh.org/foot-conditions/foot-conditions-a-z/cracked-heels
        4. https://www.histology.leeds.ac.uk/skin/skin_layers.php
        5. https://www.podiatrytoday.com/guide-dry-skin-disorders-lower-extremity


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