Monday, January 9, 2012

How to Reduce Dryness of Feet Skin?

Extremely dry skin can cause the skin on the bottom of your feet to slough, or peel off. Along with being a bit unsightly, if it's severe, sloughing skin on your feet can cause you some discomfort while standing or walking. Dry, sloughing skin usually responds well to emollient moisturizing lotions. Two types of emollient lotions, called humectants and occlusives, are specifically designed to reduce water loss from your skin. Check with your podiatrist or dermatologist first -- especially if you have a medical condition affecting your feet, such as diabetes -- to determine which type of moisturizing lotion is best for your condition.

Identify the Cause

Sloughing skin from your heels to your toes typically is caused by dry skin that frequently occurs in the winter when the humidity is low, in the summer when your feet are more exposed and as a direct result of aging. Additionally, sloughing skin can be the result of certain common dermatological conditions, including psoriasis and eczema. However, it also can indicate the presence of a more serious medical condition, such as diabetes or poor circulation. Make an appointment with your doctor to determine the exact cause of your dry, sloughing skin before treating it with any type of lotion.

Humectant Lotions

Humectants are lotions that reduce the amount of water lost through your skin. Your skin contains several natural moisturizing factors in its outer horny layer, including urea and lactic acid, and these factors also are the main ingredients in humectant-type lotions. Urea lotions and lactic acid lotions actually draw water into your skin cells and retain it, with the result being softer and smoother skin. At higher concentrations, urea lotions and lactic acid lotions also soften the horny outer layer of epidermis and reduce sloughing, according to DermNet NZ. Never apply urea or lactic acid lotions to scratched or broken skin, because they cause stinging and burning sensations.

Occulusive Lotions

Occlusive lotions leave a layer of oil on the outer layer of your skin, which acts as a physical barrier, preventing the water already present within your skin cells from evaporating. Types of occlusive moisturizing agents include mineral oil, petroleum jelly and lanolin. Because they contain oils, occlusive lotions often have a greasy feel, which some find distasteful. However, occlusive lotions are very effective for removing scaly and sloughing skin on your feet, as well as relieving any associated itching and redness.


Choose a moisturizing lotion carefully, especially if you have allergies or sensitive skin. Some of the ingredients, such as urea, fragrances and preservatives, can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. If you are diabetic, never use any type of lotion on your feet without consulting your doctor first. Diabetes can negatively affect your circulation and nerve sensation, especially in your extremities. Moisturizing lotions work by trapping moisture in your skin. To be effective in alleviating and preventing dry, sloughing skin, apply the lotion two to three times per day, especially after showering or bathing. Try a couple of different types of lotions to find the one that is best for you. If your sloughing problem is caused by a medical condition, such as psoriasis or eczema, use the lotion recommended by your physician.

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