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AAD Highlights Care for Dry, Cracked Heels


The American Academy of Dermatology released tips on how to treat dry, cracked heels including limited bath times, using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, and more.

Winter weather causes the feet to become dry and cracked easily, which is why dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) have given tips to prevent and treat dry, cracked heels at home.

“Cold, dry weather; walking barefoot; and long, hot showers are just some of the reasons why you may have dry, cracked heels this winter,” says board-certified dermatologist Patrick Blake, MD, FAAD. “Understanding what causes dry, cracked heels and taking steps to prevent them can relieve the itch and pain that they can cause and leave you with softer, healthier skin this winter.”

Blake recommends the following tips:1

  • Limit baths and showers to 5 to 10 minutes becausebathing for too long can dry out the skin, making dry, cracked heels worse. Also, be gentle when blotting the skin dry with a towel.
  • Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser as it willhelp the feet retain their natural oils.
  • Moisturize within 5 minutes of bathing and use a moisturizing cream that contains 10%-25% urea, alpha hydroxy acid, or salicylic acid. The lotion needs to be appliedto the heels immediately after bathing while the skin is still damp and whenever the heels feel dry to lock in moisture.
  • Before bed, apply plain petroleum jelly and consider wearing socks at night to avoid getting grease on sheets or other bedding.
  • Protect the heels. During the day, apply a liquid bandage over the cracks in the heels to create a protective barrier, which can help reduce pain, speed up healing, and stop germs from entering the skin.
  • Wear the proper shoes. If you have dry, cracked heels, avoid open-heeled shoes, such as flip flops or slingbacks, shoes that are worn down, or shoes that don’t fit properly.

“Sometimes, cracked heels are caused by a medical condition, such as diabetes,” Blake said. “If your dry, cracked heels are severe or do not improve after following these tips, talk to a board-certified dermatologist.”


1. How to care for dry, cracked heels.American Academy of Dermatology. GlobeNewswire NewsRoom. Published February1, 2022. Accessed February 14, 2022. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/02/01/2377094/0/en/How-to-Care-for-Dry-Cracked-Heels-American-Academy-of-Dermatology.html

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