A DIY Peel for Dry, Cracked Feet

Updated on August 8, 2017
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I am a stay-at-home wife who has suffered the embarrassment of dry feet for a good portion of my life.

I have always had dry feet, and, for a long time, I felt like I was doomed to live my life with embarrassing feet that were so dry and cracked that they actually hurt. Even though professional pedicures and spa treatments probably would have helped, I was so embarrassed about my feet that I wouldn't let anyone look at them, let alone touch them long enough to do something about it. When I finally got fed up enough to want to fix the problem, I had years' worth of dry, rough, and thick skin built up on the bottoms of my heel. They looked like my grandmother's, and we have fifty years between us!

I tried everything from pumice stones and electronic files to sugar scrubs and more. Nothing seemed to work. The night that I woke my husband up by scraping his leg with my heels was the night I knew I needed a miracle product.

While doing research, I came across a product called Baby Foot "Exfoliant Foot Peel," a Japanese chemical foot mask that claims to leave your feet feeling brand new by using fruit acid to eat away your awful, dry skin.

The reviews for this 'miracle product' were all positive, but, unfortunately, I was not in the mood to pay $25 for two single-use booties. Luckily, being frugal and innovative led me to concoct my own foot peel at home, and I am so glad it works! Hopefully, this peel will help your feet as well.

Thing You Will Need

  • 1 small bottle of non-coated aspirin, (from the dollar store works just fine)
  • 1 lemon, (or enough lemon juice to equal one lemon)
  • 1 small container or bowl for mixing
  • 1 dish large enough to soak your feet in
  • Plastic wrap to wrap tightly around your feet
  • A very thick, rich moisturizer (Tree Hut Shea Body Butter is my personal preference)

How to Make a DIY Foot Peel

  1. Pour some aspirin into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Soak your feet in hot water for 20 minutes. If you want, you can use a mouthwash/vinegar/water mixture: 1 cup Listerine, 1 cup white vinegar, 2 cups hot water.
  3. Before the 20 minutes is up, pour lemon over the aspirin and mix to form a paste.
  4. Dry your feet.
  5. Apply the paste to your feet and cover with plastic wrap. Wear for at least 2 hours.
  6. When you're done, wash up and apply a thick moisturizer.

Instructions for DIY "Baby Foot" Mask

1. Pour the aspirin into the small bowl and just leave them there. You don't need them just yet.

Aspirin bowl
Aspirin bowl

2. Soak your feet in water that is as hot as your can stand for about 20 minutes. (I actually soak them in a mouthwash/vinegar/water mixture: 1 cup Listerine, 1 cup white vinegar, 2 cups hot water.) You want to get the skin on your feet nice and soft so that this mixture can easily penetrate the dead skin. Because our version of the foot peel isn't as harsh as the store-bought one, it needs a little help.

3. Before your 20 minutes is up, pour the lemon juice over the aspirin to form a paste. If the consistency is too thick, you can squeeze another wedge's worth of juice into it. Mix the paste really well.

Lemon juice and aspirin paste.
Lemon juice and aspirin paste.

4. Dry off your feet. You can go over the rough patches with a towel to help loosen some of the dead skin.

5. Apply the paste to your feet, and then use an ample amount of plastic wrap to cover each foot entirely. If you want, you can secure the plastic wrap with tape, but I found that wearing decent-fitting socks over the plastic wrap keeps it secure enough. Now, because this isn't as harsh as the Baby Foot peel, you can wear this mixture for as long as you'd like. I usually put it on after dinner and wear it right up until bedtime. I do suggest wearing it for at least two hours.

Foot mask
Foot mask

6. When you're through with the mixture, wash your feet off and dry them well. Again, you can go over the rough patches with a towel to loosen up the dry skin. When you're through, make sure you moisturize your feet with the thickest, creamiest, richest moisturizer you can find because lemon juice will dry out your feet when used repeatedly.

Apply lotion.
Apply lotion.

7. Because this homemade mixture is not as harsh as Baby Foot, you must use it consecutively for a few days in order to get the same results. After the first two or three days, however, you don't have to soak your feet before treatment. I did my treatment for five days and found that five days later, my feet began to peel as if I were using Baby Foot itself.

Your Dry Skin Will Actually Peel Off!

My feet peeling after using the homemade mixture.
My feet peeling after using the homemade mixture.

The Results

Prepare to be amazed...and a little grossed out. Socks were my best friend once again because my feet were peeling left and right — but this was a very good thing! If you can't stand the thought of sleeping with socks on, prepare to wash your sheets a lot.

Baby soft results.
Baby soft results.

Aftercare Tips

  • Once the skin starts peeling, you can continue to use the treatment if you want to, but be sure to concentrate solely (pun intended) on the areas where the skin hasn't started peeling yet. You don't want to dry out the fresh new skin before it has a chance to shine!
  • You can also keep a pumice stone in the shower to help slough off the skin, but be careful about picking and pulling off dead skin. If it hurts, it is because it's still attached to living skin. You don't want to do any damage, so use cuticle scissors to cut the dead skin.
  • Most importantly, have your favorite color handy because you are going to want to show off your feet like never before!

The Ingredients in Baby Foot Exfoliating Peel and My Substitutes

Baby Foot's main ingredients are salicylic acid (anyone who has ever struggled with acne knows exactly what this is), glycolic acid, castor oil, and vitamin E. I knew from previous experimentation with acne cures that aspirin would act as salicylic acid, but the glycolic acid made me a little nervous. Glycolic acid is the reason that Baby Foot recommends leaving the peel on for only an hour. That is because it can be really harsh on your skin. So I skipped glycolic acid. To replace the Vitamin E and the fruit acid in Baby Foot, I decided to use a lemon.

Interesting Fact

According to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment conducted by the NPD Group for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, 20% of U.S. adults ages 21 and older (about 44 million people) have experienced cracked skin on their feet. The problem is more severe among women, who report the condition at a rate of more than 50% higher than men.

6 Causes of Cracked Heels or Heel Fissures

  1. Prolonged standing, walking, or running. Callouses form when pressure is applied to your heels. If you continue applying pressure, the fat pads of your heels expand and crack.
  2. Obesity
  3. Open-back shoes or sandals that don't fully support your feet. They allow your feet to expand sideways and add unnecessary pressure.1
  4. Aging
  5. Palmoplantar keratoderma: a hereditary condition in which thick skin forms on the soles of your feet and palms of your hands.2
  6. Dry skin: This can caused by a number of reasons, including vitamin deficiency, dry climate, eczema, psoriasis, using harsh soaps, and taking prolonged hot showers.

How to Prevent Cracked Heels

  1. Avoid standing in one place for prolonged periods of time.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes with full support.
  3. Moisturize your feet every night before bed.
  4. Wear shoe inserts to distribute the weight evenly.
  5. Drink water and eat a balanced diet to stay hydrated.
  6. Use a pumice stone in the shower to slough off dead skin.3

Did you try this at-home foot peel?

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    • profile image

      Atiya Abbas 2 months ago

      How many days should i apply this treatment, just once or consecutively five days plz tell me i am really confused...

    • profile image

      Melissa Kunkle 3 months ago

      Unbelievable! I had painful bloody cracks on my feet for years. I spent a miserable amount of time not even a week ago to clean them up! Weekly..... this one time of trying your method has my feet looking and feeling brand new! Better than just moisturizer and pumice daily. Thank you so much..

    • profile image

      Katie 5 months ago

      I just went and bought all of the ingredients! I can't wait to get home

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      Juliana D. 6 months ago

      Great minds think alike! I was thinking about using aspirin for the salycilic acid also but didn't know how to go about it. I've been a barefooter since I was a child and 50 years later I still don't like shoes. And my feet show it. I too don't want anyone seeing or touching my gross feet. It's embarrassing. But we're going on our first cruise in a few months and that means dressing for dinner and pretty sandals because I hate closed shoes and I must get my ugly feet in shape. Thank you for doing the legwork (or should I say "footwork"?) and coming up with this method. I can't wait to try it.

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      Kharol 6 months ago

      Hi..What's a good substitute for the aspirin...

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      Nef 6 months ago

      I tried pouring concentrated lemon directly on a whole bunch of aspirin and they dissolved right to paste. If you want "natural" aspirin, the answer is willow bark tea. It's one of the oldest pain killers and basically is aspirin.

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      NW 7 months ago

      I used this and was afraid it wouldn't work.. I did it twice just to try for the best result. After a few days I wasn't seeing any results. I soaked them in warm water and was amazed at the amount of skin I could pull off could off!!

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      Anthonypg 9 months ago

      Hi Erica thank you for sharing your story. I also used to have very bad feet even when I wasnt physically active and I thought it something you are born with, so I didnt think I could do much. I also started to travel alot throughout Nyc and had to walk many miles, I usually used to get alot of

      painful blisters at the end of the trip because of all that friction our feet does when walking. During those traveling trips I only wore normal sneakers and really basic socks. So I thought to myself I need to do something about it, I cant give up traveling! Traveling only made my feet get damaged really quick as well as my sneakers and regular socks. Thats when I realized I needed the toughest gear for traveling. I bought myself boots that let my feet dry as a result of air technology inside the boot. One brand that sells these are timberlands, they have different types of boots. I also bought special socks that also have a technology which keeps your feet dry in a good way and keeps out the sweat and moisture out. One brand of socks I recommend are Wigwam socks for hiking. Both the boots and socks were designed for intense activities such as hiking tough places. Now whenever Im finished traveling for many miles, my feet are smooth. Even when wearing these special boots and socks just to do normal things like just wearing them for a long time, my feet are perfect. I have never done any special treatment to my feet in order for them to be smooth all I did was upgrade the way I treated my feet by changing footwear. I know my post is long but this worked for me and maybe it can for you, just by upgrading your footwear you can keep your feet healthy. Regular shoes with regular socks are just made to look good and fit good but is it damaging you? In the way that its not letting your feet breathe? I truly recommend this method. Thanks Erica for sharing your ideas with the world. =) Godbless you.

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      Anthony 9 months ago

      Hi since I like to travel alot throughout nyc, i bought myself

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      Uvuvwevwevwe Onyetenyevwe Ugwemubwem Ossas 10 months ago

      Do you still add castor oil to the lemon and asprin mixture? Or should it be applied after?

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      Zaina 12 months ago

      How can you make it stronger like Baby Feet? Use more aspirin?