If you are among the people who just want to hibernate during the winter primarily because it makes your skin including your feet dry, then you are not alone. Whatever your age is, we all have experienced itchy and flaky skin especially when the weather gets chilly. Besides winter wind, other factors that can cause discomfort especially in our feet include dry indoor air, too much exposure to sunlight, low humidity, and harsh soaps. However, let us address the itchy feet problem that is primarily due to the winter season.
The skin on our feet is dry in nature compared to other parts of our body such as the face and the hands. This is because it has no oil glands and only solely relies on sweat glands to keep it moisturized. This can be one of the problems faced by people who don‚Äôt regularly moisturize their feet. Dry, itchy feet are more common in adults and in those who are diabetic and who have athlete‚Äôs foot. However, as mentioned above, cold weather especially during winter is another factor that causes dry feet.
Symptoms of Dry Feet
Dryness of the feet may or may not have underlying causes. Usually, it is associated with other symptoms such as:
- Rough skin
- Cracks or fissures
- Peeling skin
- Flaky skin
These symptoms worsen as the winter months approach.
Complications of Dry Feet
Now, while you may think that having dry feet isn‚Äôt something serious, think again. What you probably don‚Äôt know is the complications that can arise if you leave it untreated.
The symptoms associated with dry feet may not cause alarm initially but they can develop into severe problems.
Apart from being painful, additional complications of dry feet can include:
- Difficulty in walking
- Development of skin conditions such as dermatitis or psoriasis
- Limitations in using your feet
- Regular itchiness and burning sensation
- Expensive treatment in cases when over-the-counter medicines no longer work
Treatment of Dry Feet
Addressing the underlying causes of dry feet is the first step in treating it. However, if your dry feet are solely due to the cold weather, here are some things you can do to keep it soft and smooth:
It is best to moisturize your feet regularly to keep it away from drying. Apply an oil-based moisturizer after you shower in the morning and after cleansing your feet before bedtime. Go for thick, heavy products which have more staying power. Basic moisturizer ingredients like petroleum jelly, mineral oil,and glycerin can also do the trick.
Take lukewarm showers and baths only
While taking hot baths and showers can feel divine and relaxing, it actually strips off your skin with its natural oils. Plus, it can also worsen the itchiness of your feet. So, instead of going for hot water, choose to use lukewarm water in bathing and showering and keep your cleansing ritual short. Lukewarm water helps retain the moisture of your skin including that of your feet.
Use gentle products for your feet
Scented foot lotions, creams or deodorants can be harsh and can strip off your skin‚Äôs essential oils. This is why you must use unscented foot products instead like baby lotion, which is gentler to the skin.
Maintain a healthy diet
In your battle against dry (and perhaps itchy) feet, having a diet rich in healthy fats like omega-3s help in maintaining your skin‚Äôs natural moisture-retaining oil barrier.
Hydrating yourself from the inside is one of the best ways to deal with dry feet effectively. For optimal skin hydration, drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
Hydrate your house
Dry indoor air also contributes to the drying of your feet. This is why you have to keep your home moist during winter. You can use a humidifier and add indoor plants. Investing in a humidity monitor called hygrometer will also be of huge help.
Home Remedies for Dry Feet
You can also use ingredients that you can find in the kitchen as home remedies for your dry feet. However, it is best to consult your doctor first before trying any.
- Soak your feet in lemon juice for a few minutes. Its mild acidic properties help remove dead skin cells. You can use a loofah or soft toothbrush to scrub your feet after. Just make sure that you don‚Äôt have cuts or wounds when you try this as it may hurt your feet.
- Combine a few drops of lavender oil and a spoonful of olive oil to create a moisturizing cream for your cracked heel. Shake it together until a milky solution is formed. Use as needed and always shake before use.
- Apply vegetable oil to your clean feet before bedtime and wear socks overnight. Results will be visible in a few days.
Prevention of Dry Feet
The treatments above can also be used to prevent dry feet, but here are a few more prevention tips:
- Avoid scratching or rubbing the affected area. You may use an ice pack instead for temporary relief.
- Don‚Äôt wash your feet too often.
- Pat dry your feet after washing instead of rubbing the towel on it.
- Wear comfortable shoes that allow your feet to breathe.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen the itchy feeling that accompanies dry feet.
By maintaining proper foot care regimen, you are preventing your feet from being dry in spite of the winter season. When you follow these simple steps, the symptoms associated with dry feet can be easily alleviated. Remember, your feet are very hardworking parts of your body that calls for constant pampering. If you nurture it well, it will never fail you no matter the challenges required ‚Äì standing for long hours, running, walking, and more. Your feet will be glad to receive the kind of attention that it deserves. Everyone will definitely envy your well-groomed, soft, and healthy feet!