Dealing with Cracked, Flaky, Dry Skin on Feet and Hands

Why are my feet skin dry, scaly and rough?  Learn about the causes, conditions, disorders, and problems behind mildly or extremely dry or cracked skin on foot. Stay here and get an insight on creams to use, how to remove and get rid of this problem, and much more.


What does dry skin on feet mean? How does it look like? Below is a discussion on the potential reasons for the occurrence, an itching or painful one.

Harsh Soaps

One of the most common factors causing this problem the frequent use of harsh soaps and use of detergents.


What these detergents and soaps do is to strip of the important moisture leaving the more dried skin on feet. Examples are the deodorants and certain antibacterial soaps.

Harsh soaps can lead to cracking, peeling and dry palms
Harsh soaps can lead to cracking, peeling and dry palms

Corns and calluses

Corns and calluses are another second cause. These are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop on top of feet or under the foot. One major reason behind them is consistent use of too tight or ill-fitting shoes. Other causes are playing musical instruments using hands and loose socks.

Corns are smaller hard dry bumps that have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin and can be painful. On the other hand calluses are a bit bigger than corns and usually occur on the soles of your feet but are not painful. Some of the signs that can show up include:

  • Dry flaky or waxy,
  • Hard and raised bumps,
  • Tenderness or pain under skin

Excessively hot showers

Any form of heat that comes into contact with the skin can deny it the ability to retain moisture. One thing you need to know is that hot water depletes out the essential body oils and may cause the pores to shrink.

Allergic Eczema

Another possible cause is allergic eczema. Allergic eczema refers to a kind of an “itchy skin rash that develops when you come into contact with an allergen.” []

Some of the most common allergens are nickel, antibiotic creams e.g. neomycin, poison ivy, latex, soaps and other chemical cleaning products.

Individuals may react in various manners but the common symptoms amongst others are:

  • Inflammation,
  • An itchy, painful and feeling,
  • Formation of red bumps and crusts,
  • Thickened, dry scaly skin on feet and
  • Rough skin


Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system overreacts to stimuli such as foreign material leading to damage to body tissue. People with this condition have an abnormal growth of skin cells that “accumulate on the skin’s surface, resulting in thick patches of red, dry, and itchy skin.” []

This condition may run along family history but obesity, smoking, bipolar disorder and HBP medication are amongst the profile triggering factors for psoriasis.

Diabetes insipidus

How does diabetic Insipidus cause this problem? Although rare, diabetes insipidus is a condition that alters the normal functioning of the kidney i.e. regulating water circulation in the body. Water is an important hydrating element. The more water you lose the more likely to develop dry skin, the feet inclusive. One of the types of DI is Nephrogenic Diabetic insipidus caused by damage to the kidney.

Don’t ignore any signs of kidney malfunctions. Under severe cases, a diabetic condition may be characterized by this condition.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete foot or Tinea Pedis a fungal infection. The general symptoms of the athlete’s foot are skin peeling, scaling, itching, and redness. A sub-type of athlete’s foot called moccasin, however, presents itself in minor itching, irritation, and dryness or scaling.


Burns will happen occasionally and accidentally as injuries. The extent to which the dry skin on foot forms depends on the degree of burn on the foot. For instance, severe burns from hot substances and objects for sure will damage making the affected area to dry. First signs of scalding (burns from hot boiling objects,) includes pain, swelling, and reddening. As healing takes course dry skin feet and peeling is experienced.


There are two main things that occur to cause this condition as we age. One is to do with decreased cell division as we age. This means that metabolic rate goes down so as cells wear out they cannot sufficiently be replaced. The outermost layer made up of mainly dead cells (stratum corneum) gets thicker.

Owing to the fact that you cannot totally prevent the aging natural process, continuous care is significant in gradually reducing the drying. Keep on supplying your skin with good moisturizing creams and lotions, especially the feet.


Spending a lot of time in the sun causes sunburns. Dry skin feet may develop fast in diabetic patients if they go for sunbathing.

Low Humidity

Whenever we have low levels of humidity the surface of the skin loses more moisture in vapor form. During the winter when the temperature drops, humidity in the air also decreases leading to the parched or rather dry skin. Indeed, low humidity causes this problem, especially between the toes.

Ichthyosis Vulgaris

This condition is characterized by “dry, dead skin cells to accumulate in patches on the surface of your skin.” []

Gene mutation is thought to bring about Ichthyosis vulgaris. Though the major occurrence is mild, severe cases can lead to painful and severely dry cracked skin on feet esp. the bottom of the foot. Ichthyosis vulgaris is characteristic of thick skin covered with scales. It is also found occurring at birth and has a few associated with other disorders such as atopic dermatitis or eczema and keratosis pilaris.

Dry flaky or scaly feet

What causes the dry flaky feet? When the skin on your feet loses a lot of the topmost layer then the result is a dryness and flaking. The symptoms include dry peeling skin on feet and dropping of scales (desquamation), itching and irritation. This can be due to any of the following:

  1. Psoriasis,
  2. Actinic Keratosis,
  3. athletes foot or Tinea PedisMoccasin athlete foot type
  4. hypoparathyroidism,
  5. allergic eczema,
  6. contact dermatitis,
  7. Ichthyosis vulgaris.

On hands and feet

While corns and calluses account for hard dry skin for both hands and feet, other causes on both hands and feet include Eczema or atopic dermatitis, Psoriasis and hypothyroidism.

How to get rid, treat or relieve the dryness

How can I treat my dry skin feet? The most significant step to remove is to treat the underlying cause using various ways such as topical creams and so on.

Moisturiser and cleansers

Using mild moisturizing soaps during bathing is yet another means to cure this problem. To ensure that your skin on the feet is kept moisturized even after taking bath, apply lotions/moisturizers containing ingredients such as tea tree oil or Shea butter. Examples are Aveeno, Cetaphil, and Cereve creams.

If you are suffering from Ichthyosis vulgaris wash your body regularly using fragrance-free, and dye-free washing soaps. You could also get positive results if acquire moisturizers that contain urea and propylene glycol, (according to Mayo Clinic). For example, 10% Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Foot Cream.

Creams – topical

Your second option is using available creams for this condition available at your local drug stores. Your doctor may prescribe for you the recommended products according to your condition of the dry skin feet.

Topical treatments

Most topical treatments are creams and solutions that will help you to reduce the dryness and relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling.

If you are in Canada you can go for Flexitol Intense Hydrating Lotion, Flexitol for severe or very dry feet skin and hands. Dry and cracked heels? You deserve Flexitol Heel Magic which is scent-free. What more? It will assure your allergy-free condition and get results for which you need for less than a week! Diabetics’ Dry Skin Relief Foot Cream is a foot cream for dry cracked feet.

These creams and products are available for sale. Why shouldn’t you use them to get rid of this problem? They are easy to use and can keep your feet moisture for 24 hours.


What can I use to exfoliate or remove the hard dry skin from my feet? You may apply exfoliating creams to provide relief to the seemingly tired dry feet from calluses or extremely dry foot. Look to see that you have the right and effective creams. Ask for those with salicylic acid or AHA e.g. Bliss Foot Patrol, Blue Spa Tough Love Spa-Strength, AHA. The removal process is gentle to be a little patient while waiting for the results.

There are other exfoliating tools such as pumice stone or foot scrubs for the hard dry skin on feet removal.

You will need to apply baby lotion immediately after having a bath. Baby lotion is good for dry feet because it does not have alcohol that can irritate it even more.

Home remedies

What else can help you to meet your objectives? Learn how to get rid of dry, cracked skin feet by sticking to simple guidelines.  As an alternative to treatment from a podiatrist, you can try the following home remedies.

Mentholated rub

This is your home remedy that works for dry cracked feet. In addition, it will help you to remove the fungus causing infections to the toenail.

  • All you need to do is apply some mentholated rub on dry feet.
  • After that, you put on a pair of clean well-fitting socks to avoid dirtying the bedding.
  • Start by washing your feet using warm water. Remember to apply some light moisturizer to avoid dehydration. Repeat this procedure daily until you can notice some change in.

Paraffin wax

Warm small amount of paraffin wax and then add some coconut oil. Before it cools down apply keenly on to the thick dry cracked feet. Put on some soft cotton socks. Leave it overnight and clean the feet thoroughly in the morning.

Magnesium Epsom Salt

Prepare a solution of Epsom salt and warm water by adding four tbsp.

  • Soak your feet in the solution for at least 10 minutes.
  • You may do scrubbing slightly before letting them dry.
  • Apply your favorite moisturizer or petroleum jelly.
  • Repeat this procedure at every day for a week.

Listerine Vinegar

Prepare this dry skin foot soak to ensure that your feet are soft all time. You need at least a cup of cool mint Listerine, Vinegar, and warm water.

  • Mix the ingredients in a bowl that can cover your feet well.
  • Soak your feet for about 20 minutes. You can add a little hot water if you realize it going cool then continue to soak.

Natural Scrub

Ingredients: Fresh apple cider vinegar, honey, coarse rice powder. This is another important remedy for dry skin on your feet.

  1. Prepare this foot scrub by adding 1/2 glass apple cider vinegar to rice powder.
  2. Add few amount of honey to make a thick paste.
  3. Prepare your feet – soak in Luke-warm water for 15 minutes.
  4. Apply the paste and leave it overnight then rinse your feet in the morning.

Repeat the procedure three times a week to reduce cracking and dryness.

Dry and cracked

In most instances, dry skin is accompanied with cracked feet there are many home remedies, treatments, and creams you can use. Since we are not going to dwell on dry cracked feet, let us just give you some of the best creams to use.

Best creams for dry cracked feet

If you are embarrassed creams will be getting the situation right back in time. These are recommended as the

top creams to smooth, soften and take extra care and recovery.

  1. Sally Hansen Cracked Heel Cream,
  2. Lippmann Soul Mission Foot Scrub, besides its softening power this foot treatment provides a solution for dry cracked feet: good for exfoliating dry patches of rough skin.
  3. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula for treating and moisturizing the dry skin around feet and the ankles. It is buffed with extracts of Aloe Vera, glycerin, and natural non-greasy conditioners.
  4. Curel & Foot Cream. Has an ability to penetrate and moisturize deeper skin layers and entire foot.

Best ways

What is the best way to deal with for dry cracked feet? It is a bit of task to treat and get rid of dry cracked feet. Before you should begin by making regular visits to your qualified podiatrist for diagnosis of what exactly causes the cracking and dry.

It is not sensible to conclude that a certain way is the best unless you already know its cause.

How to prevent and stop dry skin on feet

Besides the treatment and prevention methods, we have looked at the following are more extra preventive measures and tips to stop this problem.

  • One major step is to avoid alcohol. Whether the alcohol is consumed directly or found in lotions for skin, it is harmful. The chemicals found in alcohol act as dehydrating agents.
  • Stay away from steam baths as much as possible. Heat is one of the contributing factors of dry skin feet. Instead, use Luke-warm water for bathing.
  • How frequently do you wash your feet with fragrant soaps? Do not wash frequently because water washes away important naturally occurring body oils.
  • Use a humidifier in place of the heater in your home and working offices and be to elevate the level of humidity.
  • Turn around your dietary by including foods rich in vitamin C and E such as Calcium.
Reference and Sources

1 thought on “Dealing with Cracked, Flaky, Dry Skin on Feet and Hands”

  1. Thank you for your suggestions that I could do .Four months the Dr. gave me a pill and in 3 hours I broke out my whole body my skin is red
    in spots my head is flaking bad my hair is falling out it is getting better but my feet and hands are dry and cracking and head is still flaking DR. said it is a allergic reaction from the pill and it will take time so it is 4 months what do I have help


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