If you have ever suffered from cracked heels, you have probably scoured the internet for solutions. Not only are cracked heels a cosmetic issue, they can also cause discomfort walking, and can become deep, difficult cracks that can cause serious pain.
Treating mild cracked heels quickly is your best bet to stopping them from becoming a major source of discomfort. Online advice often dictates the use of foot soaks, lotions, and even the use of mashed up overripe bananas that you squish between your toes.
Medical treatments often include chemicals and acids, like those found in heel balms, which are not organic or natural. Fortunately, there is a much healthier, and much more effective alternative…yes, I am talking about essential oils!
In order to explain how essential oils will help you cracked heels, we’re going to cover the following: what are cracked heels and what causes them, what are essential oils and how do they work, what types of essential oils should you use on your cracked heel, and how to effectively use essential oils to treat cracked feet.
What are cracked heels and what causes them?
You skin is your first layer of defense against infectious microbes and dirt, and a chink in this armor makes you susceptible to pain and infection. When your heels experience a combination of dryness and pressure, they crack and become increasingly fragile and more prone to skin splitting.
Cracked heels are caused by a lot of things, including open footwear (like sandals), dehydrated skin, dry heat, cold weather, foot protonation, and calluses. Most commonly, cracked heels are caused by a lack of moisture, pressure from standing on your feet frequently, aging, health disorders, obesity, poor fitting shoes or sandals, and even vitamin deficiency.
Because there are underlying health issues that could cause cracked heels, it is important to first identify what is the root cause of your cracked heels. It could just be your strappy sandals, but it could also be thyroid disease or psoriasis causing your cracked heels. It is a good idea to consult a doctor or certified health professional if you notice that you are developing excessive dry skin or cracked heels.
When you develop cracked heels, you may first notice tightness in the heel when standing or walking, which can develop into dryness, itchiness, or tenderness. You may also notice a hardening of skin or a change in color.
Eventually, as cracked heels become increasingly more serious, they may turn white or yellow and cracks may become so deep that walking is not possible. Unfortunately, left untreated cracked heels can lead to high pressures resulting in bleeding and infection. So, it is important that you start treating your heels right away.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are becoming increasingly, well, essential in the United States. Essential oils became a mainstay in aromatherapy when scientists discovered the disinfectant and absorbent qualities of essential oils, but they have been extensively used by civilizations for more than 6,000 years.
These days, essential oils have been used to treat stomach sensitivity, headaches, depression, sleeping disorders, pain, swelling, and asthma amongst other ailments. People have been swearing on the benefits of essential oils for a long time now, and chances are you know someone who has used essential oils in combination with mainstream medicine, or as a standalone treatment! And why not?
Basically, essential oils are volatile extracts from plants that are highly concentrated. Therefore, it is always best to heed the advice, “a little bit goes a long way”, when using them. And, because of this, you should dilute the oils before applying them to your skin, because some individuals may have adverse reactions to it.
To dilute the oil, you could add an unscented oil, such as organic cold-pressed avocado oil, and try for about 30 drops of the essential oil per ounce of neutral oil to start.
One thing you really need to understand is that not all essential oils are created equally. The process of extracting plant oil varies greatly. For example, there is steam distillation, solvent extraction, CO2 extraction, maceration, cold-pressing, and water distillation.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, because essential oils are all made from plants, they are all free from dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, the big manufactures know this and routinely trick people into buying lower-quality products.
That being said, high-quality essential oils are worth their weight in gold! Especially when you remember that they serve so many healing purposes, both physically and mentally, and they last forever. All the products sold by Vivorific Health are vegan, organic, kosher, and 100% pure, making the purchase of essential oils healthy, sustainable, and trustworthy.
Essential oils are not only antibacterial. They are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immune boosters, emotional regulators, and they promote a sense of awareness. You may be surprised to learn that essential oils also contain antioxidants, which help reduce early aging, and even cancer.
There is no shortage of benefits that essential oils possess. Amazingly, essential oils, when smelled, even send messages to the brain and have a positive impact on your mood.
Generally, calming oils release serotonin, euphoric odors release endorphin, and stimulating oils release noradrenalin. Therefore, using essential oils as a topical treatment can simultaneously enhance your mood!
How do essential oils work topically?
As you probably know, plants naturally have healing capabilities. Plants frequently have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and those functions are heightened in essential oils because they are concentrated extracts of those properties.
Essential oils are great tools to have on hand for topical applications because they are known to reduce fatigue, reduce pain, sooth sore skin, and hydrate dried skin. In addition, the anti-microbial properties of essential oils make them a great choice for preventing or stopping an infection.
What type of essential oil works best for cracked heels?
The key to using essential oils for cracked heels, or any dry skin, is in choosing the right essential oil. For example, while tea tree oil is anti-microbial and will instantly banish acne, it has a drying effect and would not be the most appropriate choice for dry skin. However, the use of tea tree oil may be appropriate if the root cause of your cracked heels is fungal lesions.
Lavender oil is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and mentally healing. Adding it to an unscented oil or lotion and massaging it into your heels before you sleep benefits your feet and your mood.
You might enjoy applying the lotion to your hands as well and adding a drop of lavender essential oil to your eye mask for a truly restful night of sleep.
When you use your lavender oil, you will enjoy breathing deeply to best enjoy the dual benefit of topical lavender application and the benefits of inhalation.
Eucalyptus us well known for its antimicrobial and antiviral capabilities, which are known to be some of the serious causes of cracked heel infections. Additionally, eucalyptus oil is known to reduce inflammation associated with cracked heels.
In addition to using eucalyptus oil in unscented lotions or oils (directions below), you can use eucalyptus essential oils as a heel infection preventative by adding a teaspoon of eucalyptus to a water-filled spray bottle, and spraying down socks and shoes.
Peppermint oil is a great choice for dry skin because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. According to Oregon State University, both the ingestion and the topical application of omega-3 fatty acids delivers essential fatty acids to the skin and circulatory system, reducing inflammation, and skin sensitivity. It also has a cooling effect on damaged skin.
To use, you can dilute one teaspoon of peppermint oil into a combination of one cup of dry oats, one cup of cornmeal, and 1/4 cup of sea salt and use as a scrub. You can use it as a scrub after a foot soak (directions below), or you can add peppermint oil to an unscented oil or lotion and massage it into your feet (directions below).
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has several health benefits including: alleviating headaches and energizing the body.
Vivorific’s peppermint essential oil is: 100% Pure and natural, free from fillers, additives and harmful chemicals, vegan and kosher certified and sealed with tamper evident closure and Euro style dropper cap.
Lemon oil is another favorite essential oil for cracked heels, because it increases circulation while taking harmful toxins out of the skin. Improved circulation is particularly beneficial because it helps your body to heal cracks naturally.
Lemon oil also reduces or eliminates unsavory odors associated with foot infections and athletes’ foot. To use lemon oil, you can add it to unscented lotions or oils (directions below), and massage it into the entire foot.
Energy Essential Oil
The energy essential oil blend is a special oil by Vivorific Health that contains eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary. In addition to containing all the healing properties of eucalyptus, lemon, and peppermint oil, it also contains rosemary essential oil.
Rosemary oil is a rejuvenating oil that reduces muscle tension, soreness, fatigue, and stress. You can use the energy essential oil blend by adding a about 30 drops of the blend per ounce of unscented lotion or oil. You will then use it as described below to massage your feet.
How do you use it?
Essential oils can be used in lotions, oils, body scrubs, and spray bottles to treat cracked heels. Feel free to experiment with these methods of treatment with what feels right for your body.
Below is a sample treatment option that combines the use of a scrub and a lotion, but feel free to mix and match or blend any of the essential oils above to make the personalized treatment that works best for you:
For the best scrub and lotion results, you should first soak your cracked heels in warm water. Feel free to add Epsom salt to the warm water bath, if desired. Leave your feet in until the water cools to room temperature, and your skin is softened (approximately five to ten minutes, or up to twenty minutes). Then you should dampen a pumice stone and rub it on your heel with a gentle pressure for two to three minutes.
This will remove the excess dead skin and prepare your feet for optimum absorption of the essential oils. If you do not own a pumice stone, you can skip this step, or add diluted apple cider vinegar to the water bath (one part vinegar: two parts water), and soak for up to ten minutes. Alternatively, if you have Epsom salt, you can create a scrub out of handful of Epsom salt, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a few drops of peppermint oil.
After preparing your feet, you will rinse the feet with cool water and apply the essential oil you have chosen to use. Regardless of which type of essential oil you decide to use, remember to dilute it in an unscented oil, like organic coconut oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil, avocado oil, or olive oil.
Alternatively, you can use your favorite unscented lotion or even pure shea butter. Apply a quarter-sized amount to your hand and massage into the heel and over the entire foot.
After massaging the essential oil into your heels, you should put on a clean pair of 100% natural cotton socks, which will further help your feet retain moisture, and will keep the oil from potentially staining any furniture.
At this point, you may find it soothing to use a diffuser with your favorite calming essential oil, like lavender essential oil. When this treatment is used before bedtime, you may also find yourself falling asleep easier, and waking up more refreshed.
Repeat the essential oil treatment as needed, or whenever you want to practice self-love. The foot soak and pumice should be used for a maximum of 4 times a week, especially if you use to vinegar soak, as extensive use can cause drying.
It is also recommended that you avoid the use of very hot water in the shower or foot soak, as hot temperatures can also cause drying. For the optimum treatment of the cause of your cracked heels, you should make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and consuming a vitamin-rich diet.
Vitamin deficiencies causing cracked heels include Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Zinc and Essential Fatty Acid deficiencies.
So, should you be using essential oils to heal your cracked feet? Short answer, YES.