Both our feet and our hands are exposed to some pretty extreme conditions over the course of our lives. When you think about what your hands go through on a daily basis, really think, you’ll probably get some idea of how they feel.
Every time you go to the toilet, for example, you wash your hands, often with harsh chemical soaps, then dry them with harsh paper towels or heated air dryers. What about those chemicals you expose them to every time you wash the dishes, or constantly being in the sun (and, let’s face it, you probably never remember to put sunscreen on them), or just the simple act of leafing through the dry pages of a book?
Your feet are much the same. They get shoved into shoes every day during the winter, and during the summer they get shoved into flip flops or sandals and abruptly get exposed to the sun, dirt, sand and rough surfaces on a regular basis. Add to this a diet which dries out the skin and discourages skin cells from healing themselves, and you’ve got a recipe for raspy, cracked heels. Icky.
The point is, no one is really safe from developing dry hands or heels, but everyone can do a number of things to reverse that process and once again discover the joy of soft, supple skin. Here’s five of the slightly stranger ways you can accomplish this.
1. Rice Flour
Not only does rice flour make for an excellent gluten-free baking alternative, it can also work wonders on your feet — the drier, the better! Try this simple process using rice flour to make your heels soft and smooth again.
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp olive oil
1. Soak your raspy foot-paddles in warm water for 15 minutes, then towel them off so they’re just slightly damp.
2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, apple cider vinegar, honey and olive oil to make a thick paste. Massage this paste into your heels for 5 minutes.
3. Rinse your heels off with cool water, apply a natural moisturizer, and repeat daily until your feet regain their desired smoothness.
Forgot about that bunch of bananas and now they’re too far gone to eat? Why not use them as an effective natural moisturizer! Bananas hydrate the skin, helping to keep it moisturized, and additionally provide a range of vitamins and minerals which get absorbed into the outer layers of your epidermis, keeping it nourished and healthy. Here’s a recipe which is sure to leave both your hands and feet feeling their best.
- 1 ripe banana
- Place a ripe banana into a blender or kitchen processor and blend on high until it becomes a uniform paste.
- Rinse your feet or your hands then gently dry them with a towel. Immediately massage the banana paste into your skin, being sure to pay particular attention to the driest, most cracked or irritated areas.
- Leave the paste on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse off with cold water to close the pores and ensure your skin retains the moisture. Repeat daily for best results.
3. Moisturizer and Gloves
You might get a bit of a weird look from your partner with this one, but it’s well worth it! If you’ve got super dry, irritated hands, applying an overnight deep-treatment will force moisture back into your skin and have you waking up with soft, supple skin. Simply apply a toxin-free moisturizer like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or a high-quality vitamin E cream, then put on some cotton gloves just before bed. Keep the gloves on all night, then rinse off the moisturizer in the morning with cool water. You can treat your feet in much the same way by putting socks on immediately after moisturizing!
If you love your morning bowl of oatmeal, you’re going to really warm to this home remedy! Oats make an excellent natural moisturizing treatment for chapped hands or cracked feet, so mix a tablespoon of raw or cooked oats with a dollop of jojoba oil, then massage firmly into your heels or hands. Leave the paste on for half an hour, then rinse off with cool water. If you’re big on baths, you can also add some oats to your bathwater and soak your whole body in it, kind of like a big bowl of lukewarm porridge!
5. Raw Honey
Honey is sweet, delicious and apparently it makes for a great skin softener and treatment! The compounds in honey help to lock in the moisture while the naturally-occurring enzymes in honey are antibacterial, meaning if your dry skin is a result of a bacterial infection, this may provide a huge helping hand. Simply fill your bathroom basin with warm water, stir in half a cup of raw honey, soak your hands for 15 minutes, massaging occasionally, then rinse off with warm water. You can do the same thing for your feet by either filling your bath partway with water or using a bucket!