In a recent press release, a dermatologist with the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) provided readers with valuable at-home measures that individuals can employ to prevent and treat dry, cracked heels at home, especially during the winter months.

Board-certified dermatologist Patrick Blake, MD, FAAD, stated, "Cold, dry weather; walking barefoot; and long, hot showers are just some of the reasons why you may have dry, cracked heels this winter. 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."

Dr. Blake recommended the following self-care measures and tips to prevent and care for dry, cracked heels at home:

Restrict baths and showers to 5 to 10 minutes. Bathing for too long can dry out the skin, making dry, cracked heels worse. Be gentle when blotting the skin dry with a towel.
Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, which can be beneficial in helping the feet retain their natural oils.
Apply a moisturizer within 5 minutes of bathing and use a moisturizing cream that contains 10% to 25% urea, alpha hydroxy acid, or salicylic acid, and apply it to 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 wear socks at night to prevent getting grease on bedding.
Protect the heels. During the day, apply a liquid bandage over the cracks in heels to create a protective barrier, which can help decrease pain, speed up healing, and prevent germs from entering the skin.
Wear the proper shoes. If the heels are dry and cracked, avoid wearing open-heeled shoes, such as flip-flops or slingbacks, shoes that are worn down, or shoes that do not fit properly.

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

The press release also provided information about these tips that are demonstrated in their patient education video entitled, "How to Care for Dry, Cracked Heels," which is posted to the AAD website and the AAD's YouTube channel.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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