A buildup of dead skin cells on the feet can be painful. Fortunately, your podiatrist can get rid of those excess cells for you.
Your skin constantly sheds dead cells. Usually, that’s not a problem. However, if the dead skin cells continue to build up on your feet, you could be left with dry, cracked heels or see pieces of skin hanging from your foot.
If the dead skin makes you uncomfortable, or you don’t like the look of brittle heels, you can visit a podiatrist who is trained in how to safely remove dead skin. Before treatment begins, your podiatrist will review what conditions possibly led to the buildup of dead skin cells. You’ll also learn at-home remedies to take care of your feet following treatment. The goal of treatment and after-care is to prevent dead skin cells from becoming a recurring issue.
What causes dead skin on the feet?
We can attribute dead skin cells on the feet to several different causes, including:
Dry skin. Chapped, dry heels are almost always caused by dry skin. Your heels contain very few sweat glands to moisturize the skin. Standing all day puts pressure on your heels, which may also lead to rough, parched skin.
Athlete’s foot. You don’t have to be an athlete to catch the fungal infection that causes this condition. If you spend time in a warm, moist environment, such as a communal shower room, you can pick up the infection if you walk barefoot. Common symptoms of athlete’s foot include peeling skin and a burning sensation.
Certain skin conditions. Psoriasis and eczema can flare up anywhere on the body but can often be seen on the bottom of the feet. Thick, cracked, peeling, and itchy skin are signs of eczema, while psoriasis can thicken the skin when dead cells accumulate.
How to treat dead skin on the feet
After assessing your feet, your podiatrist will remove the dead skin with special tools, most likely a scalpel or an electric file. This process is not painful. Don’t try to remove the dead skin with a razor or scrapers at home. You may cut your skin, leaving it open to infection.
Your podiatrist may recommend special socks, heel cups, or orthotics to take the pressure off cracked heels and give the skin time to heal. A warm wax treatment may also be applied to the feet to increase blood flow and hydrate the skin. After treatment, ask your podiatrist about lotions and ointments to keep your feet moisturized.
Home-based remedies can also rehydrate parched skin. Done regularly, these three easy methods can also prevent dead skin cells from multiplying:
Pumice stone. A pumice stone is a popular way to clear away dead skin cells and keep heels smooth. Before you use the pumice stone, dip it in warm water. Then, soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes. Using a circular motion, gently rub the stone on the skin to slough off the first layer of dead cells. Apply lotion or oil afterward but avoid using any that contain alcohol, which could dry the skin again.
Epsom salt soak. To relieve dry, cracked heels, mix a half-cup of Epsom salt in a foot bath filled with warm water. Soak your feet in it for about 20 minutes. To remove even more dead skin, use a pumice stone or foot brush following the soak. Vinegar can also be used in a foot soak, but steer clear of lemon or baking soda that could irritate the skin.
Foot scrubs. Foot scrubs, which are available in drugstores or pharmacies, can heal dry skin. You can also make a scrub at home by combining two tablespoons of sea salt with baby oil. After smoothing the mixture directly on the skin, gently scrub away the dead skin cells with your palm or a foot brush. Rinse the scrub off with warm water once you’re done.
Time to take care of your feet!
Dry, cracked feet can be painful. But treatment can relieve the discomfort. At Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group, our sole focus is healing your feet and getting you walking and playing again with no pain. Contact us today for a consultation.
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Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.