Dry, cracked feet are not only hard to look at, they can cause health problems, too. Dry skin is painful and itchy, and it can allow diseases to enter the body through tiny cracks. You may see thick areas of skin on your feet, called calluses, if you wear shoes without socks or go barefoot often. If you're so embarrassed by your feet that you never wear sandals or flip-flops in public, try a new foot-care routine to return them to the spotlight.
Fill a tub with 5 to 6 inches of warm water, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of a foot soak product. You can also substitute 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Stir the water using your hand, then put on some music and soak your feet in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes.
Take your feet out of the water and dry them off completely with a towel. Make sure the areas between your toes are dry, too. Allow your feet to air dry for a few minutes.
Examine your left foot carefully and find calluses or other areas of really dry skin. Gently rub the areas using the flat portion of a pumice stone by moving it in a circular motion. Repeat the process on your right foot to exfoliate the calluses and dead skin there as well. Use the pumice stone as often as twice a week until the calluses are gone.
Apply a moisturizing foot cream to both feet right after exfoliating. Do this twice a day to the entire foot area, including the tops of the feet. Use a cream that lists lactic acid or urea in the ingredients list; these moisturize and help slough off dry, dead skin cells.
Apply a moisturizing and exfoliating cream before going to bed each night. Make your own by mixing 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Rub the oil over the bottoms and sides of your feet, concentrating on any calluses or extremely dry areas. Put on cotton socks before going to bed. Wash the solution off the next morning.
If the calluses do not improve or if they are painful, as a parent to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can remove them using professional techniques.
Never attempt to remove calluses with a sharp object or razor blades.
Always use gentle pressure when exfoliating a callus with a pumice stone. Using too much pressure will actually cause the callus to thicken and get worse.
Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.