How are you protecting your feet from the ravages of winter? My poor feet were very cold when I finally finished digging out yesterday. I'm sure that cold exposure will translate into severe dry and cracking skin, so I have already started the "treatments."
My heels crack on the edges (check out ePodiatry.com for what causes cracked heels). Others get calluses or painfully dry skin. What to do?
I start with a lactic acid product at night (AmLactin from Costco or the drugstore [AmLactin even makes a foot cream] or the prescription Lac-Hydrin) work well. With a lactic acid concentration of 12%, these products have enough active ingredient to slough off the flaky skin and prevent more dessication.
Then, I go into overkill by using a second, very emollient, rich cream or gel over any cracks. I cover them with a bandage. They hurt and it's important to avoid infection. Eucerin's Aquaphor works well (actually, so does petroleum jelly) to cover my heel cracks. I just try to keep something gentle and healing on top of the cracks.
I have read that a good soak in epsom salts is a good idea, but I don't have that kind of time. Additionally, I think it's a good idea to avoid hot water when your skin is severely dry.
I'm not a fan of mechanical buffing, so I steer clear of foot files and other instruments of torture. The opportunity to damage your skin is too great. I will use scrubs in the tub or shower, though. I'm just not sure their benefit is more than superficial.
How do you take care of your feet in the winter?
Photo courtesy of clinicarea.info/foot-care