image of manicured feet floating on pool raft

Want Salon Quality Soft Feet? How to Treat Dry, Rough or Cracked Skin

As important as they are, our feet often get neglected. It’s really surprising how many of us treat our feet so poorly even though we depend on them so much. If you have dry, rough or cracked feet, there’s no need to despair. With a little effort, you can actually get salon quality soft feet right in your own bathroom.

image of dry rough cracked heel

Regular attention to your feet is important for good hygiene and overall well-being so it’s best to set aside time every week for foot care.

Step 1: Cleanse

Even though the feet can get dirtier than pretty much any part of the body, many people don’t wash their feet properly in the shower. Since it can be a delicate balancing act, consider washing your feet separately while sitting down, either on the edge of a bathtub or in a chair using a basin for a foot wash. Simple warm water and soap is sufficient but you can also consider using a foot bath or foot soak with Epsom salt. Take the time to wash between your toes and clean underneath your nails using a nail brush or an orange stick.

image of close up feet with soap

Step 2: Exfoliate

Facial exfoliation may be a part of your regular beauty routine but have you considered your feet? The feet have a tendency to develop, thick, callused skin, especially if you’re active, and the longer you neglect the issue, the harder it is to address. Weekly exfoliation targets the build-up of dry, rough skin, leaving the feet smooth and soft.

There are a number of ways to exfoliate:

  • Foot scrubs contain abrasive particles which slough off dead skin.
  • Pumice stones and files can be used to smooth rough, hardened areas on the feet.
  • Electric callus removers use a spinning abrasive head to buff away calluses.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) gently soften and remove outer layers of dead skin cells without abrasives.
    • Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Exfoliating Foot Mask exfoliates in the form of slip-on booties infused with AHAs, essential oils and natural extracts. You simply leave the booties in place for 60-90 minutes and let them work their magic, leaving your skin feeling silky, smooth, and soft within days. 
    • Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Exfoliating Foot Lotion has a proprietary blend of ingredients to hydrate & exfoliate the thick, callused and flaky skin on the feet. The alpha hydroxy acids safely begin exfoliating while the Epsom salt and essential oils soothe irritated dry skin.
image of person applying cream to bottom of heel

Step 3: Moisturize

Once your feet are clean and exfoliated, it’s important to seal in moisture. There are lots of options for hydrating:

  • Apply a rich cream specifically formulated for dry skin such as Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Hydrating Foot Cream which repairs damage while rebalancing the natural moisture barrier of the skin. Urea in the cream starts working instantly to draw water deep into the skin and enables the Epsom salts and essential oils to penetrate and become more effective to help soothe irritated, dry skin.
  • If you’re headed to bed, consider wearing a pair of socks to keep the cream in place while you sleep.
image of woman wearing socks with feet resting on coffee table
  • Treat yourself to a moisturizing treatment such as Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Hydrating Foot Mask. The moisturizing formula is contained in disposable booties you wear for a half hour. During that time, your feet are bathed in a super-hydrating enriched formula of urea, humectants and essential oils to restore your skin’s natural moisture balance, leaving your feet feeling silky smooth and soft.
image of feet in a pair of foot masks
  • If you have serious cracks in your heels, consider a specialty treatment product such as Dr. Scholl’s Severe Cracked Heel Balm. The convenient stick applicator delivers extra help right where you need it. Intense moisturizers repair, hydrate and fill in cracks to leave the skin smooth and soft.
image of a touch ably soft heel

With some effort, rough, dry and cracked feet can be transformed into soft, smooth feet when you have the right tools and products. Foot care should be enjoyable and pampering, and it’s one investment that really pays off. The next time you’re tempted to neglect your feet, consider how vital they are and you’ll realize how important it is to make some time for some foot-centric TLC.


Frequently Asked Questions
How to treat dry cracked feet

The easiest way to treat dry cracked feet is with regular exfoliation and moisturizing. The feet are prone to cracks because the skin tends to be thick and dry due to regular friction and lack of oil glands. What’s more, the pressure from standing and walking can cause the skin to split.

Reducing dryness and cracks in the feet takes time. Dedicate some time every week for your feet. After soaking in warm (not hot) water, gently exfoliate rough skin on the bottoms of your feet. You can do this with a pumice stone or foot file. Try not to be too aggressive. You can avoid irritation by regularly exfoliating a little bit at a time.

When you’re done, rinse your feet thoroughly with warm water, pat dry, and then apply a moisturizer. Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Hydrating Foot Cream is a good choice for dry cracked feet. The therapeutic blend hydrates while repairing cracks in the skinFor extra exfoliating benefits, consider a foot moisturizer with alpha hydroxy acids such as Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Exfoliating Foot Lotion. The soothing formula contains Epsom salts and essential oils for added benefits.

If you have diabetes and notice foot issues, consult your doctor. People with diabetes need to take extra care with their feet. In some cases, dry skin may be a sign of a medical condition. If your dry skin persists, you may need prescription creams or ointments. 

How to treat cracked feet

The treatment for cracked feet varies depending on the source of the cracks. Dry skin is the most common cause of cracks, and the issue is most prevalent on the heels. However, athlete’s foot can also cause cracks in the skin, usually between the toes. If you have cracks accompanied by scales, peeling skin and a hot, itching sensation, you may have athlete’s foot. 

Exfoliants and moisturizers can effectively treat cracked feet caused by dryness. When exfoliating, you can use a number of different products and tools, including a foot scrub, foot file or a pumice stone. You can also exfoliate with Dr. Scholl’s® Ultra Exfoliating Foot Mask. This unique product consists of treatment-infused disposable booties. The exfoliating formula softens and hydrates cracked feet to leave the skin softer and smoother.

If your cracks are caused by athlete’s foot, your healthcare provider may recommend an anti-fungal treatment product such as Dr. Scholl’s® Instant Cool Athlete’s Foot Treatment Spray. The medicated spray fights athlete’s foot while soothing itching and burning.

If you have questions or concerns about your cracked feet, see your doctor.

How to treat calluses on feet

There are several ways to treat cracked calluses on feet. Calluses consist of dead, thickened skin so regular light exfoliation is an effective way of addressing the issue.

You can reduce calluses by gently exfoliating with a file or pumice stone. It’s best to first soften the skin by soaking the feet for a few minutes in warm water. Don’t try to remove too much of the callus at once as this could cause discomfort.

You can also use a callus treatment product with salicylic acid. Dr. Scholl’s® Callus Removers with DURAGEL® technology consist of a medicated disk and a protective cushion. The medicated disk softens the callus while the cushion reduces pain and pressure. Dr. Scholl’s® Extra Thick Callus Removers are ideal for especially stubborn and problematic calluses.

If you have diabetes, check with your doctor before attempting to treat cracked calluses on your feet.

How to treat cracked feet naturally

You can treat cracked feet naturally with simple tools and ingredients. If your cracks aren’t too serious, regular soaking, scrubbing and moisturizing can help reduce fissures and promote softer, healthier feet. 

Follow these steps:

1. Fill a basin or tub with warm water and let your feet soak for five minutes.
2. Using a natural pumice stone, gently buff away the rough, hard skin around the foot cracks. You can also exfoliate with a natural foot scrub. Consider making your own scrub with natural ingredients such as brown sugar and coconut oil. 
3. Apply a natural moisturizer to your feet, avoiding the areas between the toes. Natural ingredients like shea butter and olive oil both contain hydrating properties.
4. Cover your feet with lightweight cotton socks to keep the moisture in.

How to treat cracked peeling feet

If you have cracked peeling feet, you may have athlete’s foot. Cracks commonly develop on the heels primarily due to dryness. However, if there are cracks between the toes along with peeling skin, this may be an indication of athlete’s foot. See your healthcare provider if you suspect you have athlete’s foot. The condition can usually be treated with an over-the-counter anti-fungal treatment such as Dr. Scholl’s® Instant Cool Athlete’s Foot Treatment Wipes. These handy, no-mess wipes tackle the fungal infection while providing soothing relief from itching and burning. For the treatment to be effective, it’s important to follow directions carefully and use the product for the full specified duration.

Spread and Re-infection is possible with athlete’s foot so it’s also important to keep your feet clean and dry and avoid walking barefoot in public areas.

In some cases, athlete’s foot is very stubborn and doesn’t clear up despite over-the-counter treatments. See your doctor if your symptoms persist. There are prescription topical anti-fungal products and oral anti-fungal medications available for athlete’s foot infections that don’t improve with over-the-counter treatment. 

How to treat cracked feet at home

There are several ways to treat cracked feet at home. However, treatment depends on the cause of the cracks. You may need to see a healthcare provider such as a podiatrist in order to determine the source of your cracked feet. 

If you have cracked heels due to dry skin, you may be able to treat the cracks at home with exfoliating methods and rich hydrators formulated especially for the feet such as Dr. Scholl’s Severe Cracked Heel Balm. The stick applicator makes for easy application, and the thick balm formula hydrates and softens while filling in cracks.

If you have cracked skin between your toes because of athlete’s foot, you may be able to treat your cracked feet at home with an anti-fungal product. Dr. Scholl’s® Odor-X Antifungal Spray Powder targets athlete’s foot while reducing moisture and odors.

See your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve with home treatment. Some skin conditions require prescription treatment.

How to treat dried cracked feet

If you have dried cracked feet, you may benefit from some home pampering that includes regular exfoliation to reduce hardened, thickened skin as well as a regular application of foot cream. 

To prevent your feet from getting dry, avoid wearing open-toed shoes and make sure your footwear fits well to avoid friction that can lead to thickened skin, which is prone to cracks.

A good skin care routine can also help you address dried cracked feet. Wash your feet daily using a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of moisture. Opt for warm water when you cleanse, making sure the water isn’t too hot since heat can also strip the skin of moisture. Be sure to apply a foot cream or lotion right after your bath or shower. It can also be helpful to put on a light pair of cotton socks once you’re done in order to prevent moisture from evaporating.

For severe cracks, you might want to apply a bandage or liquid bandage while the skin heals. Don’t exfoliate if your cracks are red, swollen, warm in color or bleeding. Instead, contact your healthcare provider since any of these symptoms may require medical attention. People with diabetes need to take extra care of their feet and contact their healthcare provider if there are any sores or indications of infection.

How do you treat cracked feet?

There are several methods for treating cracked feet although the best treatment depends on the cause of the cracks.

Cracks most commonly occur on the heels of the feet, primarily due to dryness. It’s very helpful to gently exfoliate and moisturize on a regular basis in order to treat cracked feet caused by dry skin.

Cracks can also form on the feet due to athlete’s foot. Cracks caused by fungal infections such as athlete’s foot usually form between the toes. Skin scaling and peeling, itching and burning are also common symptoms of athlete’s foot. Anti-fungal products can be used to treat athlete’s foot at home. Once the infection clears, the cracks will usually resolve. 

See your doctor if your skin doesn’t improve with home treatments. In rare cases, cracked feet may require medical attention.

How to treat cracked feet and heels

Dry skin is the primary cause of cracked feet and heels. Because the heels are prone to a great deal of pressure, they can be particularly susceptible to thick, callused skin as well as cracking.

Regular exfoliation is the first step in treating cracked feet and heels. You can exfoliate by soaking your feet in warm water for several minutes and then gently scrubbing thickened skin with a file or pumice stone. You can also use a foot scrub containing abrasive particles. Another option is an exfoliating product with alpha hydroxy acids.
After exfoliating, rinse your feet and pat dry with a towel. Follow with a thick moisturizing foot cream.

Aim to exfoliate once a week. Moisturize daily to prevent your skin from drying out.

Occasionally, cracked feet and heels can be serious and require a doctor’s visit. Seek medical attention if you have any signs of an infection or if you have severe cracks that don’t improve with home treatment.

How to treat cracked skin on feet

The most common and effective way to treat cracked skin on feet is with a combination of exfoliation and moisture. Cracks form most frequently on the heels due to dryness and calluses. Many people successfully treat their cracked skin by regularly soaking their feet in water and gently scrubbing away dead, thick skin. Applying a foot cream or lotion to the skin right after bathing and showering can also help treat cracked skin on feet.

Foot cracks can also be caused by athlete’s foot, which is a fungal infection. In cases of athlete’s foot, the cracks usually occur between the toes. Along with cracks, athlete’s foot can cause the skin to peel and produce scales. It’s also common to experience painful itching and burning. Anti-fungal medications can help treat cracked skin on feet due to athlete’s foot.

See your doctor if you have concerns or questions about cracked skin on your feet.