We Ask a Pedicurist: Why Are My Feet So Dry (And What Can I Do About It?)

why are my feet so dry category

You know your feet are especially dry when you can hear them scratching against your bed sheets at night. Alas, if you’re a sandal wearing human who often forgets to moisturize below the neck (that’s most of us, right?), dry feet are fairly common. And there are any number of reasons behind the dryness. 

As Marcela Correa, a licensed medical pedicurist and owner of Medi Pedi NYC Practice explains, the reasons for your scratchy soles can range between “diet or, more specifically, dehydration, an overactive lifestyle, certain shoes, a lack of exfoliation and more.” (And by that she means, a possible “underlying medical condition that can contribute to dryness, such as athlete’s foot, eczema, diabetes and poor blood circulation.”)

How can I get rid of the dryness on my feet?

“Maintaining a regular foot care routine is key,” advises Correa. “Ideally, you should be moisturizing your feet twice a day and exfoliating your feet once a week.”

On that note, she recommends using a proper foot cream over your regular body lotion. “Look for specific ingredients like urea that target dryness and help with cell turnover on the soles of your feet,” she adds. (Her go-to pick: Gehwol’s Soft Feet cream, which contains urea. “Urea is known for breaking down the keratin in the surface layer of your skin. This reduces dead skin buildup, which will prevent dryness, while also moisturizing.”)

In addition to this, you should exfoliate your feet weekly, “focusing on the areas that are starting to feel rough or causing you any discomfort.” Correa recommends using a manual callus remover like a foot file with disposable exfoliating stickers that you can swap out before each use. “I prefer these over traditional pumice stones because they’re more hygienic and they prevent cross contamination if you share a shower with others,” she explains. (Hey, you never know who among your roommates might secretly use your stuff—it happens!)

Any other tips for keeping your feet soft?

“Yes, my most important tip is to use a shoe sterilizing tool or spray—and often,” says Correa. “Fungus causing bacteria spread easily and quickly,” she cautions. “To prevent itchy, dry, and flaky feet from athletes’ foot, regularly sterilizing your shoes before wearing them is key.”

And if your heels are still not softening up after regular care, try using a silicone heel protector to seal in your foot cream at night. “The heels tend to get dry faster, so they need extra attention. The silicone will ensure that the extra moisture from your cream seeps into your skin and not your sheets,” Correa adds. (Even wearing them for 15 minutes every night will help.)

Come to think of it, a pair of heel protectors would make for a great stocking stuffer this year.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...