Dry skin often appears on the heels and sides of the feet and between the toes. The feet have fewer oil glands than other areas of the body, and they experience daily wear and tear. It may make the affected area feel itchy, tight, and even painful.
- A lack of moisture. Dry, cracked, and flaking skin is especially common on the heel and sole because these areas have fewer oil glands than skin elsewhere on the body.
- Irritation. Standing for too long or wearing poorly fitting shoes can put constant pressure on specific areas of the feet or cause friction of the skin. As a result, these areas of the feet may become dry, calloused, or cracked.
- Heat and humidity. Closed shoes, such as sneakers and boots, create an extremely hot and humid environment for the feet. Heat and humidity draw moisture from the skin, which can lead to dry or cracked areas on the feet.
- Aging. Over time, the skin loses its ability to retain water, becoming thinner and less plump. Older people may be more likely to experience dry skin.
Dry skin on the feet may also occur as a result of a medical condition, such as:
- Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes a scaly rash between the toes and underneath the foot.
- Eczema. Eczema refers to a group of conditions that cause skin inflammation. People can develop eczema anywhere on their bodies. Common symptoms of eczema include dry, crusty, or itchy patches of skin.
- Hypothyroidism. People with hypothyroidism may develop extremely dry feet because their thyroid gland cannot regulate the sweat glands in the feet.
Treatments and Remedies
Dead cells on the surface of the skin naturally fall off, and new cells take their place. When a person does not remove the buildup of dead skin cells, they can form thick, flaky patches on the feet.
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