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Rough, Dry, or Cracked Skin

How can I treat and prevent rough, dry, or cracked skin?

Dry skin on your feet, or anywhere else, can be treated in a few simple ways:

  • Moisturize:

    Moisturizers create a barrier that keeps moisture from escaping from your skin. You should moisturize the affected area several times a day, especially while your skin is still moist, like after a shower. Pat yourself dry, then apply. Thicker and heavier moisturizers work best, or try oils for a longer-lasting barrier.

  • Take warm, short baths:

    Long baths or showers in hot water take the natural oils out of your skin, leaving you feeling dryer. Keep your bathing time to 5-10 minutes, and use warm (not hot!) water.

  • Use gentle soaps:

    Avoid harsh, drying soaps in favour of more gentle cleansers. Some soaps even have added oils or fats for added moisturizing. Antibacterial soaps, fragrances, and alcohol are all drying.

  • Try a humidifier:

    Indoor air can be hot and dry, which can make itching and flaking worse.

  • Go natural:

    Fibres like cotton and silk let your skin breathe and are less irritating.

  • Calm the itch:

    Nonprescription hydrocortisone cream (no more than 1%) can be used to reduce itching or inflammation. You can also try a cold compress.