A DIY Peel for Dry, Cracked Feet
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
- Pour some aspirin into a bowl and set aside.
- 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.
- Before the 20 minutes is up, pour lemon over the aspirin and mix to form a paste.
- Dry your feet.
- Apply the paste to your feet and cover with plastic wrap. Wear for at least 2 hours.
- 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.
2. Soak your feet in water that is as hot as you 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Did You Know?
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.
Six Causes of Cracked Heels or Heel Fissures
- 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.
- Open-back shoes or sandals that don't fully support your feet. They allow your feet to expand sideways and add unnecessary pressure.1
- Palmoplantar keratoderma: a hereditary condition in which thick skin forms on the soles of your feet and palms of your hands.2
- Dry skin: This can be 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
- Avoid standing in one place for prolonged periods of time.
- Wear comfortable shoes with full support.
- Moisturize your feet every night before bed.
- Wear shoe inserts to distribute the weight evenly.
- Drink water and eat a balanced diet to stay hydrated.
- Use a pumice stone in the shower to slough off dead skin.3
Did you try this at-home foot peel?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.