A Guide To Healing Deep Cracked Heels — Plus The Absolute Best Products To Try


Dry air, walking barefoot (hello, summer), and a whole host of other things can lead to a buildup of dead skin on your feet, resulting in dry, cracked heels. Wondering how to heal deep cracked heels? The answer lies in heavy-duty creams and the proper exfoliating tools, so you can give your hardworking feet the TLC they deserve.

To give them the full treatment, start by soaking your feet in warm, soapy water, and then removing calluses and other thick skin with the help of an exfoliating tool like a heavy-duty foot rasp or gentler pumice stone. Or, to minimize effort, opt for an electric callus remover with multiple roller heads for different levels of exfoliation. There are also a foot peel masks. These bootie-like masks are soaked in gentle chemical exfoliants that cause dead skin to gradually peel away over the course of one to two weeks. Your choice depends how sensitive your feet are and how powerful you want the exfoliation to be.

Adding major hydration is the next step. The best creams for cracked heels include ingredients like allantoin and glycerin to deeply moisturize. Another popular ingredient is urea which softens keratin — the rigid surface layer of your skin — allowing it to dissolve and ultimately fall off.

Once your feet are clean, exfoliated, and moisturized, slip on a pair of moisturizing socks. Not only will these help your feet absorb the cream you've applied, they'll also give them an extra dose of hydration while you rest, thanks to an infusion of hydrating ingredient like vitamin E and jojoba oil. And if you’re left with any deep cracks, you can use a liquid bandage to create a seal and prevent infections.

By showering your feet with some extra attention, you can heal deep cracked heels and reveal the baby soft skin underneath.

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1. A Stainless Steel Foot Rasp

This lightweight stainless steel foot rasp can be used to remove layers of thick calluses on extremely dry feet, but since the blades are super sharp, you'll want to work slowly and use very little pressure. It can be used on wet or dry feet, but a word to the wise: Exfoliating dry feet can increase your risk of skin damage.

According to a reviewer: “Not only did it work, but it REALLY worked! I could not believe how much this foot file does its job in getting through the dry, dead and callused skin.”

2. A Water-Resistant Electric Callus Remover

For a more customizable experience, this electric callus remover comes with three rollers — light, regular, and extra coarse — to provide just the right amount of exfoliation depending on your sensitivity and the job at hand. And since it's IP67 water-resistant, you can use this callus remover in the shower or bath after letting your feet soak up some water. The rechargeable callus remover works for up to 45 minutes on one charge, and there’s an LED light that also serves as a battery power indicator.

According to a reviewer: “Seriously this thing is no joke, works wonders with even the crustiest feet. I will continue to use this on a regular basis to keep my feel silky smooth.”

3. These Pumice Stones That Gently Exfoliate Your Feet

Although they require a little more elbow grease, these natural pumice stones are the gentlest way to exfoliate your feet, and they come in a totally affordable two-pack. They fit easily in your hand, and after soaking your feet, you can use the porous stones to give yourself a soothing massage and remove dead skin at the same time. Each stone has a convenient cord loop so you can hang them to dry.

According to a reviewer: “This worked WONDERS for my feet after one use. My feet have never been so smooth and without cracked, nasty dry skin.”

4. This Peeling Mask With Powerful Natural Ingredients

For effortless removal of dead skin, this foot peel mask is just the ticket. The masks are soaked in natural chemical exfoliants, including salicylic and malic acids, along with papaya extract and aloe vera to hydrate and soothe skin. Safe for all skin types, reviewers note the peeling process is kind of gross, but oh-so satisfying. The set comes with two pairs, so you can do a second exfoliation several weeks after the first.

According to a reviewer: “I went from coarse, sandpaper heels to brand new soft sensitive skin. I am amazed. I haven't even finished the peeling process and I'm already writing this review. The skin on the balls of my feet and around my toes is still all peeling off. It's great.”

Apply Thick Moisturizers

5. A Concentrated Cream That Penetrates Rough Skin

O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet foot cream contains high levels of allantoin, which soothes and moisturizes, while gently exfoliating the top layer of skin and accelerating healing. The addition of glycerin works to draw water to skin and prevent moisture loss. You can use this concentrated cream daily, and reviewers report seriously soft skin after a few weeks of use.

According to a reviewer: “My feet are so, so soft, nearly all of the cracks and rough spots are gone and the last few cracks are almost totally healed. I have been putting this on twice a day and it’s changed everything.”

6. A Soothing Oatmeal Cream That’s Great For Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, Aveeno Cracked Skin Relief CICA Balm is a good choice for healing cracked heels. The soothing balm is named for the French word for healing (cicatrisation) and this glycerin-based balm lives up to its name, with an oat complex, which relieves dryness and itching, and dimethicone, which moisturizes skin and creates a protective barrier to guard against moisture loss.

According to a reviewer: “WOW!! i can't believe that they really work! i have been applying this day and night on my cracked heels for a few weeks now, and my cracked heels are truly healing up! i see less cracking, smoother skin and i think if i continue doing this further, my heels will finally be smooth again.”

7. A Concentrated Urea Cream That Treats Dry, Rough Skin

This heavy-duty urea foot cream moisturizes rough feet and softens the keratin holding dry skin together, allowing the dead skin cells to fall off more easily. It also contains tea tree oil, chamomile, and aloe vera to soothe and soften skin. Plus, the cream comes with a pumice stone and brush that you can use to exfoliate feet after soaking them.

According to a reviewer: “Superb product! I do need to be consistent with its application and an occasional go with the pumice, but my feet are in the best shape they’ve been in since I was a child, I swear!”

Wear Moisturizing Socks While You Lounge & Sleep

8. These Moisturizing Gel Socks

After applying a moisturizer, slip on these moisturizing gel socks to lock all the good stuff in. Plus, they're infused with hydrating vitamin E as well as grape seed, jojoba, and olive oils. This four-pack of one-size-fits-most socks feature a breathable open-toe design and a silicone gel pad in the heel to help the moisturizers absorb into your skin, rather than the sock. The pack includes four pairs of pink, turquoise, gray, and black socks, and while they're reusable, hand washing is recommended.

According to a reviewer: “They are soft and comfortable. I don't feel them while I am sleeping. My toes are not cramped and hot like in a regular pair of socks. I have been using them for about 5 days and I can already see a difference in my heels. They are smoother and softer. I highly recommend!”

Seal Deeply Cracked Skin

9. This Liquid Bandage That Seals Cracked Skin

This unique cracked heels remedy seals cracks and creates a waterproof barrier on your skin to prevent infections during the healing process. Unlike traditional bandages, this liquid bandage creates a clear, flexible seal that stays in place. Just clean your feet, brush the solution onto the affected area, and let it dry.

According to a reviewer: “I get very painful cracks on my heels but enjoy running 4-6 miles daily. Bandaids inevitably fall off while running, so this is the best answer for me. It [seals] the cracks until they are healed and pain free!”