Fix my ashy feet?
August 29, 2014 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Along with ashy elbows and knees, I appear to have inherited my mother's ashy, hobbity feet. They are tough, dry, and often flakey or cracked at the heels. What products or routines can I try to make my feet softer and more attractive?

Here's my current routine: in the spring/summer, I am barefoot or in flip-flops 98% of the time, which I'm sure doesn't help. But: year round, at night I'll rinse off my feet and then slather my feet in foot lotion and wear socks. A couple of times a week I'll have a go at them in the shower with exfoliating gel and a pumice stone. (The rest of the time I just wash them down with soap). I don't lotion after showering because I'm usually headed out the door and it makes my feet too slippery in the sandals and/or too great a magnet for dirt.

This regimen doesn't seem to make an impact at all. My feet will look great for less than a week after a pedicure, and then go back to their terrible state. Tips?
posted by TwoStride to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
You need an Emjoi micro-pedi and a tube of L'Occitane foot cream. Use the Emjoi first on dry feet, then slather on the foot cream and massage in for a few minutes. Then put a little bit more on your feet and put on some socks and go to bed. Do this every night if you can.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:47 PM on August 29, 2014 [6 favorites]

I think your routine is nearly perfect, but lotion before bed (if you can stand sleeping in socks, even better, but either way your feet will be softer and more primed for exfoliation in the morning if they've marinated all night) will make a big difference.

You may also want to switch to the cheese grater-style shower heel scraper, or a Ped Egg.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:48 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, I do the lotion+socks before bed (though in winter I worry that it's gonna marinate some foot fungus?).
posted by TwoStride at 5:50 PM on August 29, 2014

I use hemp oil is lieu of foot lotion, and that works better for me. The Body Shop makes it. I can't do lanolin, which is in most heavy-duty skin balms, so it's the next best thing.

Is it possible to stop wearing sandals, or to wear sandals that have a heel cup? My cracks and roughness are infinitely worse if I leave my heels exposed for more than a city block.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:55 PM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ped Egg changed my life. Thirty seconds, each foot, once a week and my cracked, bleeding heels are no more! To think, I've ruined so many sandals so needlessly!
posted by theraflu at 5:56 PM on August 29, 2014

Ped Egg + coconut oil (the coconut oil is good for nails/keeping fungus away, too, so you can slather it on them as well).
posted by three_red_balloons at 5:58 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I know the answer to this one!! As people have said above, a foot file is the answer - pumice does nothing. I use the one from this package and most of the time that's enough. But, if I need a supplement, heeltastic at bedtime is the ONLY thing that has ever helped -- better even than A&D, and certainly better than any lotion or cream. I am naked-heeled most of the summer, and before I went on this regimen I always had terrible deep cracks in my heels. No more!
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

This stuff is kind of stinky....but it does the trick like nothing else.
posted by pantarei70 at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2014

The Ped-egg was not enough for me and I used it often. One day with emjoi-pedi changed my life. I can't recommend it enough.

(I also did heeltastic and lotion with feet in baggies, etc)
posted by beccaj at 6:12 PM on August 29, 2014

Compeed Overnight Cracked Heel cream is miraculous. Scholl has a similar product, I think.
posted by ontheradio at 6:12 PM on August 29, 2014

What type of lotion are you using? The 12% lactic acid cream or lotion works great for dry skin and there are different brands available at drugstores and on amazon. Don't use it on open cracked skin though.
posted by tangaroo at 6:52 PM on August 29, 2014

Honestly I never had super dry, cracked skin on my feet until I started wearing flip flops constantly. I think your best bet is to wear shoes with socks more often; that comepletely eliminated the problem for me.
posted by JenMarie at 6:53 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

joan_holloway and I share identical bedtime rituals (when it comes to our feet anyway) and I can attest to its efficacy.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:55 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wear sandals almost all the time and dry weather makes my feet crack. I tried a few heel creams (flexitol, miracle) but found them too expensive to keep buying. I got almost the same results for much less money with the St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter product. Regular dead-skin scraping with a ped-egg type product is also essential.
posted by telstar at 6:58 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Foot Balm

Bed, Bath, and Beyond sells it in their stores but it appears they're now putting it in a pedicure kit at an increased price.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:02 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Look for creams with a high urea content!
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 7:41 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I order this thing called Baby Foot that is like plastic socks you leave and and two days later the cracked or dry skin literally peels off. It really worked and my feet were awful and really cracked. I think I did the first two times sort of close together and then again about 6 months later and they still seem fine. The only problem with skin flaking off your feet is what to do in yoga class.
posted by katinka-katinka at 7:42 PM on August 29, 2014

oh, sorry, it's not just plastic socks, it has some sort of liquify gel that is what gets your skin to peel.
posted by katinka-katinka at 7:43 PM on August 29, 2014

High quality olive oil. After a shower use a spray bottle filled with oil and spray the palm of your hand and then apply to whatever area. Then hold the hand under some water to get it wet and massage the oil in. It will evaporate in 15 minutes or so. For feet, an added routine is to first soak them in warm water for a few minutes, then take them out and massage oil into them. Then put on an old pair of socks and leave them on for a half hour or so. You will see results in a week or two. Then just keep doing this.

I learned this from a guy that was over a hundred years old. It cured the dry paper-like skin of my arms. Now I use the technique on arms and legs everyday. Skin is so soft and healthy looking now.
posted by rmmcclay at 7:46 PM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Baby foot really works. I used it twice about two months apart (starting in April) and it's kept my feet soft and uncracked all summer for the first time I can rememeber. I will use it again in a month or two. It's also extremely satisfying to peel the old dead skin off (for me anyway). I also use a microplane about twice a month on the heel calluses.
posted by caryatid at 8:13 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I swear by CO Bigelow Rose Salve at bedtime. Good for cuticles too.
posted by jrobin276 at 10:32 PM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gold Bond makes effective reasonably priced products. I heard about them here. What was noted also is that Gold Bond is apparently an enlightened company that is good to employees.
posted by Cranberry at 11:45 PM on August 29, 2014

If you're worried about foot fungus, cut the toes off your socks before leaving your oiled feet in them.

Also any moisturiser absorbs much better if your skin is damp when you apply it. Even common-or-garden petroleum jelly.
posted by glasseyes at 4:06 AM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've used this callus-remover liquid ever since I had a salon treatment with it. After using it, you can file away actual dead skin. You'll see a definite difference that lasts.

Don't use it if the underlying good skin is cracked and painful. When I have the deep cracks, I tape them closed for a few days to allow the area under the calluses to heal. After that I can proceed with "the treatment."

First, soak your feet in warm water. Apply the product just to the tough areas, avoiding the tender, soft skin. Wear gloves or rinse hands right away. Then either wrap each foot in plastic wrap or put a plastic bag over each foot -- the plastic keeps the liquid from drying, and also from transferring to other surfaces. The instructions say to wait 3-5 minutes and then rinse, but I leave it on longer. I need to use a washcloth when rinsing because the product doesn't come off easily with just water. Then comes the filing. I use a "Mr. Pumice" synthetic abrasive bar and rub vigorously. There's never been a problem with rubbing off too much skin.

In between times, I use Eucerin Intensive Repair for feet. It's not greasy and you don't have to slather it on; I just use a thin film before I go to bed. It contains urea and lactic acid.
posted by wryly at 9:37 AM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

+++ for urea, 25% is good, and lactic acid as ingredients.

I was running back and forth through an airport once after months spent in sandals and my heel cracked but good: two inches across the bottom of my foot. Now I'm pretty lazy about maintenance and when I suffer (smaller!) cracks, I seal them with super-glue and when they heal, I use a callus scraper for fast results or a pumice if I tell myself I'm going to be more pro-active from now on and then a cream with 25% urea. It's expensive though (and some products smell awful) so I also tell myself that someday I will make my own.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 on the L'Occitane foot cream, although it has a strong smell and it's really too pricey to use every day.
posted by mirepoix at 9:18 PM on August 30, 2014

I was just randomly reading the one-star Baby Foot reviews on Amazon, and there are people talking about serious staph and fungal infections, bleeding cracked feet and apparently fake versions of the product without English language instructions. There are also some amazing photos of peeling foot skin. Careful!
posted by Scram at 11:01 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you have the stomach for it, Tony Moly Shiny Foot mask/peel. Here is a revolting but amazing description of an experience with pics.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 5:08 AM on August 31, 2014

Oooh, I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try those foot peels. But thanks for all of the great tips here, everyone!
posted by TwoStride at 3:48 PM on September 1, 2014

Holy Cow. Based on this thread, I did the Baby Foot thing a few days ago. It is completely repulsive in a very satisfying way. I have the most disgusting case of Zombie Feet! I have faith though, and I'm sure in a few days they will be Baby Feet. It's hella gross, but I totally recommend it.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:20 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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