What can be done for dry skin on the feet

Dry skin on the feet can be uncomfortable and may lead to issues like cracking, itching, and even pain.

A number of steps can be taken:

Moisturize: Apply a thick, hydrating foot cream or lotion daily, especially after bathing or showering. Look for products with ingredients like urea, shea butter, glycerin, or coconut oil, which can help lock in moisture.

Exfoliate: Gently exfoliate your feet to remove dead skin cells. You can use a pumice stone or foot file, or choose a foot scrub with natural exfoliants like sugar or salt. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can worsen dryness.

Soak your feet: Soaking your feet in warm (not hot) water for about 10-15 minutes can help soften the skin. You can add Epsom salts or a few drops of essential oils for a relaxing and moisturizing foot soak.

Avoid hot water: Hot water can strip natural oils from your skin. When washing your feet, use lukewarm water instead.

Use mild soap: Choose a gentle, moisturizing soap or cleanser when washing your feet. Avoid harsh, drying soaps.

Pat dry: After washing or soaking your feet, gently pat them dry with a towel. Avoid rubbing, as this can irritate the skin.

Wear moisture-wicking socks: Opt for socks made of natural, breathable materials like cotton. Avoid synthetic materials that can trap moisture and exacerbate dryness.

Choose the right footwear: Wear shoes that provide good support and allow your feet to breathe. Avoid excessively tight or ill-fitting shoes, as they can cause friction and lead to dry, cracked skin.

Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is crucial for healthy skin. Drink enough water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated from within.

Consider a humidifier: If you live in a dry climate or use central heating, a humidifier can add moisture to the air and help prevent your skin from drying out.

Foot masks: Consider using hydrating foot masks or overnight treatments. These can provide intense moisture to your feet.

Tinea Pedis

Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet, particularly the spaces between the toes and the soles. This condition is both common and discomforting, impacting millions of individuals worldwide. Tinea pedis can vary in severity, with some cases causing mild irritation and others leading to more severe symptoms. In this essay, we will explore the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of tinea pedis, shedding light on this often underestimated condition.


Tinea pedis is primarily caused by dermatophyte fungi, with Trichophyton rubrum being the most common culprit. These fungi thrive in warm, damp environments, making the feet an ideal breeding ground. The infection spreads through direct contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces, such as shared showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Wearing tight-fitting, non-breathable shoes for extended periods can also contribute to its development.


The symptoms of tinea pedis can vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. Common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Itching: The most characteristic symptom is persistent itching, often accompanied by a burning sensation. The itching can range from mild to severe and can become quite distressing.
  2. Redness and scaling: Infected skin typically appears red and scaly, often with cracks or fissures. This is more commonly seen between the toes and on the soles of the feet.
  3. Blisters: Some individuals with tinea pedis develop small, fluid-filled blisters that can be painful and may rupture, causing additional discomfort.
  4. Peeling skin: As the infection progresses, the skin on the feet may begin to peel, leading to flakiness and further irritation.
  5. Foul odor: The infection can also produce a foul odor due to the buildup of sweat and bacteria in the affected areas.


The treatment of tinea pedis is essential to alleviate symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading. Over-the-counter antifungal creams, lotions, or sprays are often the first line of defense against mild cases of athlete’s foot. These medications typically contain active ingredients such as clotrimazole, miconazole, or terbinafine, which effectively combat the fungal infection.

For more severe or persistent cases, prescription-strength antifungal medications may be necessary. These can include oral medications or stronger topical treatments. It is essential to follow the prescribed treatment regimen consistently to ensure complete eradication of the fungus.

In addition to medication, there are several steps that individuals can take to aid in the treatment process:

  1. Keep feet dry: Moisture is the enemy of tinea pedis, so ensuring that the feet are kept dry is crucial. This can be achieved by changing socks regularly and using antifungal powders or sprays.
  2. Wear breathable footwear: Choose shoes made from natural materials like leather or canvas, which allow the feet to breathe. Avoid tight-fitting or synthetic shoes that trap moisture.
  3. Practice good foot hygiene: Regularly wash and thoroughly dry the feet, paying special attention to the spaces between the toes.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items: To prevent the spread of the infection, avoid sharing towels, socks, or shoes with others.


Preventing tinea pedis is as important as treating it. To reduce the risk of infection, individuals can follow these preventive measures:

  1. Keep feet clean and dry: Regularly wash and dry your feet, especially between the toes, and make sure they are thoroughly dried after activities that cause them to sweat.
  2. Wear moisture-wicking socks: Opt for socks made from materials that draw moisture away from the skin, like cotton or moisture-wicking synthetics.
  3. Choose breathable footwear: Select shoes that allow proper ventilation, and alternate between different pairs to allow them to air out.
  4. Use antifungal powders: Applying antifungal powder to the feet and inside shoes can help prevent fungal growth.
  5. Be cautious in communal areas: When using public showers or locker rooms, wear flip-flops to reduce the risk of coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is derived from the leaves of the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), which is native to Australia. It has been traditionally used by Indigenous Australians for its medicinal properties. Today, tea tree oil is widely recognized for its therapeutic uses and is commonly found in various skincare, haircare, and healthcare products and has some podiatric uses, despite the lack of evidence for its use and potential dangers of the product.

Antimicrobial Properties: Tea tree oil is perhaps best known for its powerful antimicrobial properties. It contains compounds such as terpinen-4-ol that can help kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This makes it useful in treating various skin conditions caused by these microorganisms, including acne, fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot and nail fungus), and even cold sores.

Acne Treatment: Tea tree oil is a popular natural remedy for acne. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the severity and frequency of acne breakouts. It’s important to dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil (like coconut or jojoba oil) before applying it to the skin, as undiluted tea tree oil can be harsh and irritating.

Skin Conditions: Tea tree oil can be used to treat a range of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritated skin and reduce itching.

Dandruff and Scalp Health: Tea tree oil is often added to shampoos and conditioners to help treat dandruff and promote a healthy scalp. It can help reduce the yeast that can contribute to dandruff and relieve itching and flakiness.

Wound Care: Due to its antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil can be applied topically to minor cuts, scrapes, and insect bites to help prevent infection and promote healing. However, it should be diluted before use on open wounds.

Oral Health: Some toothpaste and mouthwash products contain tea tree oil because of its ability to combat bacteria in the mouth. It may help reduce bad breath and improve overall oral hygiene.

Nail Care: Tea tree oil can be used to treat nail fungus (onychomycosis). Applying diluted tea tree oil to affected nails may help inhibit the growth of the fungus and improve the appearance of the nails

Aromatherapy: Inhaling the scent of tea tree oil through aromatherapy can have a calming and soothing effect. It is sometimes used to alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions like congestion and coughs.

Tea tree oil appears to have many therapeutic benefits, but it can be irritating to some individuals, especially if used undiluted or on sensitive skin. It should be used with caution and preferably in diluted form.

Foot Creams

There are a lot of different foot creams that are available on the market with almost every one of them claiming to be the best and capable of working miracles to fix every case of dry skin on the feet. If you do have skin on the feet that is dry or skin around the heel that is cracked, then a good foot cream is going to be helpful. It is going to be a challenge to find a way through all the marketing hype and claims made by all the different brands and types of creams that are available to find one that is most useful for you.

foot creams

Unfortunately, there is no research that has been done that has looked at comparing the different types of creams and how they can affect the dry and cracked skin on the feet. It is surprising that no research has been done whilst at the same time different brands claim to be better when there is no research showing that they are. There has been plenty of research done into the different skin conditions and the physiology of the skin conditions, so a lot is known about that. What a lot is not known about is what cream to use and when to use it.

One thing that the research has shown is that in every case of the many different conditions that cause dry skin, there is a documented deficiency of urea in the skin. Based on that it could be speculated that if you need a cream for your feet, then a good place to start would be one that contains urea. There is not a lot of research that has consistently shown other deficiencies to help indicate what else in combination with the urea may be useful. This means that it may be a matter of trial and error until you find one that suits your skin. This can prove to be somewhat difficult as the individual response to the different foot creams is quite variable.

The urea creams, such as the Walker’s Foot Cream come in several different strengths with each different strength have a different affect. The lower strengths of urea, up to 15-20% are better at re hydrating dry skin. The moderate strengths of urea, around 25% are best for both re-hydrating the skin as well as help remove some of the dead dry skin. Strengths of around 40% can be used under occlusion to help with the thicker cracked hard skin and dystrophic nails. There are various other ingredients in these urea based creams and other brands have differing amounts of other ingredients, so it could be a matter of trial and error to find what suits you.

Probably of more importance that the choice of brand or type of skin cream is actually using it. There is no point getting a cream and not using it regularly. Initially the cream probably should be applied twice a day and then once a day after it has improved. It has to be used in order to help.