So you’ve been spritzing and moisturizing your face and hands all winter—even your hair is getting some extra attention to prevent the frizzies and dryness. But what about your feet? Winter can be super rough on heels, leading to cracking, dryness, and even bleeding. Ouch!
For severe conditions, be sure to check in with your doctor. But for mild cracking and itching, give some of these DIY home remedies for treating cracked heels.
- Sleep with oily feet: You don’t need anything more than a good olive oil or coconut oil to make this work for you. You’ll also need a pair of socks you don’t love very much, though. Before bed, generously apply oil to your feet and heels—really cover them in oil. Put on socks—two pairs if needed to keep the oil in. And go to sleep. This should help to bring some relief and you can do this rather frequently if needed. Just be sure to be careful getting up as your feet will be slippery even in the socks.
- Soak your feet: One cup of white vinegar in a warm bath can help to relieve discomfort from dry and cracked feet. Another option is to combine three tablespoons of baking soda with three tablespoons of salt in a small tub filled with warm water. If you don’t have a small foot tub, just fill your bathtub high enough to soak your feet. Be sure to dissolve the baking soda and salt thoroughly. You can also make this mixture into a paste for the feet—just decrease the salt by one tablespoon and add in a bit of olive oil to form a past. Gently scrub the feet. Avoid using the scrub if you have severe cracking and bleeding.
- Make a foot mask: Masks aren’t just a beauty must for face and hair—they can do wonders for feet, too. This one is super easy: mash up a ripe banana until it’s free from lumps. Generously spread over heels and feet where it’s needed and wrap foot in plastic wrap (you may want to have this part ready before you cover your feet in nanas. Leave the feet wrapped for about ten minutes before rinsing. Gently rub with pumice stone after drying.
There’s no question that cleaning your face everyday is as important as brushing and flossing. For most of us, it’s a habit. But unlike tooth brushing, where are options are slim—gel or paste, mint or licorice, etc.,–face washing brings up a whole host of questions.
Whether you prefer a cleansing oil or foam, or are a basic bar soap fan for washing your face, cleansing grains may just be the secret to better looking skin.
Soaps (including foams) can strip away the skin’s natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation, and all the skin conditions that come with it. But cleansing grains, while they may sound more harsh, can actually be gentler to the skin’s balance of oils.
What are Cleansing Grains?
Cleansing grains precede those (awful!) plastic microbeads—they’re tiny abrasive exfoliators that work to clean skin by slightly irritating it, rather than lathering it up with foaming agents and other synthetic chemicals that may not be the best for your skin.
Clay, ground nuts and nut shells, oats, herbs—even coffee!—can be used as cleansing grains.
The benefit to using a cleansing grain is in the gentle exfoliating power they offer. A build-up of dead skin cells is often the culprit in breakouts and blocked pores (and dust around your house, too, FYI).
“Daily gentle exfoliation helps to gently remove this layer of dead skin cells, helping to clear your pores without destroying the balance of your skin’s oils,” notes the Hippy Homemaker website. “Daily gentle exfoliation helps to reduce and minimize wrinkles and fine lines, while the soap-free skin-nourishing herbal ingredients provide your face with a healthy dose of the vitamins and minerals it’s craving.”
How to Use Cleansing Grains
While most skin types can tolerate a gentle exfoliant like cleansing grains, it’s best not to use on overly sensitive or broken skin. If you’re dealing with a breakout, best to wait until it’s healed up, too, before using cleansing grains.
To use, simply scoop a small amount of grains into your damp hand and rub in a gently circular motion on the face and neck. Rinse with cool water and repeat as necessary. Follow up with a repairing serum and moisturizer. Also, be sure to remove makeup before using cleansing grains.
Want to give them a try?
Cleansing Grains Normal to Oily
Cleansing Grains Dry/Sensitive
While some people are plagued with dry skin in the hot and sweaty summer months, excessively oily skin is most common this time of year. We’ve got some natural tips for oily skin problems that can help mitigate the excess oil when your skin is most at risk.
7 Natural Tips for Oily Skin Care
- Sun Protection – The key to any successful skin care regimen is to be working with undamaged skin, and this means proper sun protection. Damaged skin can overproduce oil in an effort to speed the healing process. Use an appropriate sunscreen for your activity, wear hats, sunglasses, and avoid direct sun exposure when it’s not necessary.
- Cleanse Properly – Oily skin can lead us to want to over cleanse the face in an effort to remove the oil. This can irritate the skin, causing breakouts. But you do want to cleanse the skin on the reg—just make sure not to overdo it. And you may even want to use a cleanser designed for acne-prone skin (even if your problem is just oil, not pimples). Cleansers designed to combat acne can also help to reduce oil production.
- Exfoliate – Using an exfoliating product like fruit acid-based serums or toners (or even lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) can remove dirt and dead skin cells leaving behind fresher “new” skin that will be less oily.
- Mask – Clay and oatmeal are both good drying agents for the skin and can be made into simple skin masks. Don’t overdo it, but once a week or so may help to reduce oil production and keep skin soft and dry. It can also be helpful in treating any breakouts that come with excessively oily skin. If you’re buying a clay powdered skin mask, follow container instructions for use. To make an oatmeal mask, grind ¼ cup of rolled oats into a fine powder. Mix with enough water, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar to form a thick paste. Apply to damp skin and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water. (Note: lemon juice or vinegar may cause slight burning or stinging sensation.)
- Wear Less Makeup – The root of your oily skin may have nothing to do with the weather, especially if you regularly wear heavy makeup. But the combination of hot, humid weather and caked on foundation, bronzer, blush, eye shadow, etc, can most certainly lead to oily skin.
- Blot – It works for greasy pizza and it works for your face, too. Using a tissue or dry towel, gently press on your skin to remove excess oil as needed. Follow with a toner mist or light moisturizer.
- Avoid Sugar – Hopefully, you know by now that too much sugar in the diet can be your skin’s worst enemy. It can alter hormones leading to break outs and too much oil. Stick with fresh fruits, salads, and lots of water instead.