Cracked heels are medically called as heel fissures and usually due to extremely dry skin or xerosis. Generally, the deep cracks can develop along the rear edges of the heel that can be painful and oftentimes deep enough to trigger bleeding episodes.
In most cases, the condition can be annoying but diabetics or those who have poor circulation with cracked heels are at risk for infection. There are various creams readily available that can effectively manage cracked heels but it is best to consult a doctor first before using any of them.
The urea creams are utilized to heal certain skin conditions but can also be used in treating heel fissures. These creams contain a keratolytic agent and emollient that works together to moisture and remove cracked, dry skin.
The emollient provides an oily layer on the upper skin that holds in water while keratolytic works by dissolving the crusted skin layer to soften it. The creams are used externally and must not be used close to the mouth or eyes. The potential side effects include a stinging sensation and irritation. An allergic reaction is also possible and must be reported to the doctor right away.
Baby oil is a commonly used in managing dry skin as well as cracked heels. If you want to achieve the best results, it is recommended to apply baby oil when the skin is still damp after a shower or bath to seal in the water in the skin to prevent evaporation. Take note that oil lasts longer on the skin than the water-based moisturizers.
Petroleum jelly is an over-the-counter preparation that is a combination of mineral oil, waxes and paraffin. When petroleum jelly is used, it melts into the skin and creates a moisture barrier that prevents the skin from drying out.
Always bear in mind that petroleum jelly is very oily, thus it is best to dab it on the feet at night before going to bed and cover it with clean cotton socks as protection from the bedsheets from staining.
Shea butter is another form of cream that can be used to prevent dry, cracked heels. Individuals who are highly sensitive to other moisturizers and emollients might be able to endure the butter.
Shea butter is extracted from the seeds of the Shea tree which is a mild compound that does not contain any chemical additives, artificial scents or colors. It is a humectant that works by holding water in the skin.
Ammonium lactate moisturizers
Ammonium lactate creams can be used to soften and moisturize dry cracked skin. These are humectants that increase the amount of water in the skin and make the skin softer and less dry.
The ammonium lactate cream is used externally and can cause stinging or burning sensation once applied on open skin. The possible side effects are limited but include redness, irritation and sensitivity to the sun. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not advised to use the cream. Remember that allergic reactions can occur, thus any indication of hives or difficulty breathing must be reported to a doctor right away.