Foot moisturizers for dry skin can be one of the best treatments for treating and preventing dry heels and feet. The skin on the feet is thicker than elsewhere and requires specialized foot creams to penetrate this thicker skin.

Moisturizing with an appropriate cream or lotion designed for thick skin on the bottoms of the feet can help dissolve callused skin and keep cracked heels or heel fissures from developing. 

We regularly recommend several products to our patients that can cure or prevent dry skin. We discuss those products below. First, please read this necessary disclosure about the products recommended in this article.

Specialized Moisturizers for the Thick Skin of the Feet

To work best on the feet, creams and lotions must include an acid or similar ingredient to help the moisturizer penetrate the skin.

  • Urea Cream 40%: The best foot cream for cracked feet
  • The most effective cream we have found for our patients contains 40% urea.

Directions — Standard: We recommend using urea cream at bedtime after bathing, showering, or soaking. Blot dry your feet with a towel and apply the cream immediately. Rub the cream gently until it is fully absorbed. Use every night for 2 – 3 weeks for the best results.

Directions — Severe / Fissures: If you have severely dry skin or fissures, follow the instructions above and cover your foot in an airtight soak overnight for the first week using the Urea cream. This “occlusive” covering will superhydrate the skin, making it an ideal foot repair cream. 

We recommend using a Silipos gel therapy sock to lock moisture in without restricting circulation.

Remove Thick Skin and Callus Weekly for Best Results

For the urea cream to best penetrate the skin and assist with healing, you must remove as much of the thick and callused skin as you can. There are several methods to do this.

One of the easiest ways is to use an electric callus remover. We have tried several and highly recommend the Pedinova Electric Pedicure Kit. This well-built rotary grinder comes with bits specifically designed to grind away callus (it also comes with bits for thick toenails).

Aside from foot cream for cracked feet, try grinding the calluses. Do this with the Pedinova right after bathing when your feet are damp. If it feels warm, stop for a few seconds and then start again. If it starts to warm very quickly, you have gone far enough.

A manual foot file is a less expensive option, although much more work. Our favorite is the Microplane PedicureRasp, which you can find for less than $10.

Creams and Lotions for Preventing Return of Dry Skin

Once your skin is in better shape, you will not likely need a cream as strong as Urea 40% to maintain smooth skin. 

However, you will want to continue applying a penetrating cream for the crack foot. Use this moisturizer daily and after every bath or shower to prevent the problem from returning.

An excellent choice is to use a less concentrated Urea cream. We often recommend a 20% Urea cream after every bath or shower. The Gormel 20% Urea cream is a respected brand that is well-priced.

If you have very mild dryness or just an occasional flare-up, Urea is more potent than you need. In this situation, we recommend Ammonium Lactate lotion. 

Amlactin is the best-known brand, but we recommend the generic Ammonium Lactate 12% lotion as it is the same formulation at significantly less cost.

What if the Dry Skin Continues After Using Foot Repair Cream?

Many other conditions can lead to dry skin, so if you don’t see improvement within a couple of weeks, see your podiatrist, primary care doctor, or dermatologist.

Other conditions that lead to dry skin on the feet include:

  • Dermatitis

Dermatitis simply means “inflammation of the skin,” and it can have many causes. It also can take on many appearances. Sometimes, the skin is red and swollen, but sometimes it appears dry and scaly. Dermatitis is often treated with steroid cream and will not likely respond to moisturizers.

  • Athletes’ Foot

Athlete’s foot (or “tinea pedis”) is a fungal skin infection. Although it often itches, it sometimes appears as dry skin. Athlete’s foot is usually treated successfully with topical cream for athlete’s foot.

  • Systemic Conditions

Some systemic conditions can cause an appearance of dry skin on the feet. There are many, but good examples are psoriasis and eczema.

  • Weather

Dry skin is more common in winter when humidity levels and temperature decrease. Many people find they only need to use moisturizers in the winter.

  • Harsh Soaps and Shampoos

Many soaps and shampoos remove moisture from your skin as their makers designed them to remove oil.

When used regularly, a foot repair cream should help the skin become rehydrated and healthy once again — as long as you simply have dry skin. If you don’t see improvement, it is a sign that something else might be causing the problem.

If you have skin that does not respond to the moisturizing plan described above, contact us for an appointment.

foot creams

Let Us Take Care of Your Feet

Don’t let dry, cracked heels or other foot and ankle problems damper your daily life. Foot and Ankle Centers is your one-stop shop for comprehensive foot and ankle care. 

Our experienced podiatrists offer various treatments, from custom orthotics and physical therapy to minimally invasive surgeries and foot creams. Ultimately, we ensure we can address your specific needs and concerns.

We understand that foot and ankle pain can impact mobility, independence, and well-being. That’s why we prioritize personalized care, listening to your concerns, thoroughly assessing your condition, and developing a treatment plan tailored to your unique circumstances.

Don’t suffer in silence — schedule a consultation with Foot and Ankle Centers today and take the first step towards healthier, happier feet. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to help you find the relief you deserve.