How to Treat Dry Feet….continued.

There were so many brilliant comments on my post the other week about foot files. If you didn’t catch it, (it was the first of my Sh*tfit of the Day series, more to follow) then you can read that here:

Anyway, one of the comments left on the post was quite a lengthy one, from a lovely reader who is also a qualified podiatrist! Hurrah. Some of the tips in her comment were very useful indeed so I thought that I’d reproduce the comment in its entirety below. Enjoy, feel free to add more comments, advice, whatever… Here goes:

“Ok, first things first, you must make the distinction between THICK skin and DRY skin.

THICK skin is typically found on weight-bearing or high pressure areas, such as the heel, ball of foot, side of big toe/little toe, and tops of toes. It’s thick, a yellow colour and is typically referred to as callous.

Callous is caused by pressure – the skin thickens as a protective mechanism in response to excessive pressure and friction. If it didn’t thicken the skin would break down and be a bloody (literally) mess!!

Please don’t go mad with scrapers or sharp implements when you have thickened skin. Remember that the skin has thickened as a protective mechanism, so if you take it all away you are removing your protection.

The point is that it is better to leave a small layer behind, unless you have the necessary shock absorption to relieve the pressure.

So how do you treat thickened skin? You need to look at PRESSURE relief, think about shock absorbing, you want something to absorb the excessive pressure instead of the skin, for example, gel insoles, heel cups, cushioned soled shoes.

Alternatively you may need a biomechanical assessment with a podiatrist to look at the mechanics of the foot and leg, because in a normally functioning foot you should not be getting high pressure areas!!

If you do have THICK skin I would always recommend getting it removed initially by a podiatrist, THEN to keep on top of it do the following:

1. Moisten the skin with a baby wipe. The point is that the skin should not be bone dry or wet.

2. Using a foot file with a fine grit (the sand paper type ones) NOT METAL!!!!!!! Apply very firm pressure and file vigorously – the skin will just roll off and look like the bits of rubber that you would get if you rubbed out pencil on paper.

3. Apply a moisturiser that contains a minimum of 10% urea. Urea is found naturally in the skin, it is basically a magnet for moisture and increases the water content in the skin. Ureka do a good one. Apply daily.

Remember that thickened skin does not respond to moisturiser alone, this is because it is the result of pressure.

OK, now DRY skin….

DRY skin is skin that is, well..dry! This means that it lacks moisture. Dry skin can appear anywhere on the foot and has more of a white colour as opposed to yellow.

Good news is that Dry skin is really easy to treat!! Just do the following:

1. First you have to remove all the dry skin, because if you rely on moisturiser alone it ain’t ging to work. Why? Because it’s bloody difficult to rehydrate dead skin!

The point is to remove the old skin and maintain and hydrate the new!

I recommend filing the skin with a basic foot file With a fine grit (NOT METAL!!) you can do this dry, but I prefer to do this with a baby wipe to slightly moisten the skin ( also stops dust flying everywhere). It’s important to apply FIRM Pressure. Don’t be afraid to be firm and vigorous! You can do this with a fine grit file. It should not be sore.

2. This is the most important part when dealing with dry skin- you need to apply moisturiser EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Why? Because skin cell turnover ( this is when the Los skin cells are shed and the new skin cells come through) is ONCE every 30 days.Therefore, if you only apply moisturiser once a week that is the equivalent of 4 times a month. No wonder it ain’t working!!

If you suffer from dry skin apply a moisturiser that contains 10% urea every day. Apply the cream everywhere EXCEPT in between the toes. NEVER apply moisturiser between the toes. If you do apply moisturiser between the toes you are increasing your risk of fungal infection (athletes foot!), think about mushrooms( they’re a fungus) what is their perfect environment in which to thrive?? DARK, WARM and MOIST. Hence between the toes is perfect if you want to grow your own fungus!! So dry them thoroughly and DON’t apply moisturiser there!!

Sorry this is long, but I hope it’s helpful. Follow this advice and you should have lovely smooth feet :-)

Becca Antonio
BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), HPC, MsCP.”

Thank you so much – that is extremely helpful advice! We shall all have feet like babies come Christmas. GASP! I said the C-Word!

Click here for an affordable Foot Cream with 10% Urea

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. September 11, 2012 / 6:25 am

    Thanks so much Ruth and Becca, as the quest goes on. Very helpful!

  2. Amanda
    September 11, 2012 / 8:12 am

    Ruth, this is a brilliant post and the timing is perfect for me. I have just returned from holiday and was wondering how on earth to tackle the dry skin on my heels … now I know. It’s also very useful to read about using a cream with 10% urea. Thank you Becca :)

    Ruth, a while back you recommended Estée Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer. Well I purchased it and I absolutely agree, it is a GODSEND! I used it whilst on holiday and it was brilliant, I love it! Thank you :)

    Amanda x

    • Ruth
      September 11, 2012 / 9:33 am

      Great!I’m so pleased you like it! x

  3. September 11, 2012 / 8:13 am

    Fantastic very helpful!
    I must go and get a foot cream with 10% urea!! Immediately!
    Eva x

  4. sarahn
    September 11, 2012 / 8:18 am

    Where is your orange nail polish from? I need it!

    • Ruth
      September 11, 2012 / 9:33 am

      It’s Orly but sold out! Can’t find shade name : (

    • Rita the parachutist
      September 11, 2012 / 11:41 am

      There is a very similar one I think by Essie, called “Orange, it’s obvious”. Check it out if you like :-)

  5. Mel
    September 11, 2012 / 9:50 am

    Hi Ruth, Good to see some good solid advice on all this.. Can I also recommend using a body wash/shower gel with a high tea tree content within it, if someone is prone to athlete’s foot. Tea tree oil is a great natural product, that is anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti viral.. So, it will reduce the chances of many nasties.. Athlete’s foot is contagious too.. so if your partner has it.. You need to protect yourself against getting it.

    • Ruth
      September 11, 2012 / 11:51 am

      Thanks Mel! xx

  6. September 11, 2012 / 2:44 pm

    Great advice, so pleased you re-blogged such an excellent comment. Body Shop do a great foot file. I didn’t know about urea based creams, I have learned something new today. Thanks Ruth and Becca xx

  7. Jennifer
    September 11, 2012 / 2:57 pm

    soooo… does this mean I should toss my metal foot file? lol, kidding!! (no really, I’ll toss it – promise! *sad face*)

  8. Sarah
    September 11, 2012 / 5:19 pm

    Great tips, thank you!
    But could you pls explain one point to me: Why should I use a fine grit foot file on my heels as they obviously don’t help at all but the metal ones do?

  9. jamie
    September 11, 2012 / 5:59 pm

    i know this is unrelated to the post, but — if your routine has changed — would you mind doing an updated skin care routine video/post?

  10. Syvie
    September 12, 2012 / 12:07 am

    Yes, I second the updated skincare routine vid request, AND am so excited for your new camera! Just watched the Late Summer Makeup Tutorial, and the camera is phenomenal! We can see even better how incredibly beautiful you are! Looking forward to more videos!

  11. Marijana
    September 12, 2012 / 6:54 am

    What always works wonders for me when the skin on my feet is dry, is Lush’s Fair trade foot lotion. Costs around 15 euro’s and the amount that you get will last you a looong time. I apply it before I go to bed at night,rub it in, put socks on and jump into bed.

    I like the smell, it smells a bit like peppermint!

  12. September 12, 2012 / 9:36 pm

    Really great tips! So useful :)

  13. Mel
    May 25, 2013 / 10:54 am

    Yup, this is amazing! Thanks.

  14. Nina Guy
    August 21, 2013 / 4:07 pm

    Sat out in the sunshine with wet wipes and foot file, Half hour later ta da fantastic feet thank you :) great advice :) Nina

  15. pattie
    November 15, 2013 / 4:07 am

    Thank you very much.

  16. Face
    April 30, 2014 / 9:53 am

    there are some fabulously cheap foot creams on the high street, i have found they work just as well as the expensive ones. I buy mine from a local discount beauty store and it’s only £1.49! I agree 100% with what Becca says, for feet, the urea content is the magic ingredient. Come on Summer!
    On another note, thank you Ruth for your advice on French Pharmacy brands, La Roche Posay Effaclar duo + the facial wash, has transformed my face in exactly 3 weeks from ordering, and today i’m at work without foundation on, and glowing skin. I am hapyp happy happy!

  17. Samantha
    May 5, 2014 / 9:11 pm

    The Royal Jelly & Pure Honey Moisturising Hand And Nail Cream from Marks and Spencers works well as well, it also contains urea.

  18. john
    May 6, 2014 / 9:35 pm

    the dry skin just comes back after a day or so even if u scrub’s like plastic and doesn’t have pain but gets white if u wear shoe for a long time and also contact with water!??!

  19. May 12, 2014 / 1:19 am

    I know this is an old post but I found it very informative and useful. I work outside on my feet and my feet are awful, all yellow and white dead and thick skin. My feet have actually scratched my husband’s feet and made him bleed. My heels crack and are painful. I won’t wear sandals because my feet are ugly. This has inspired me and I’m running hot water to soak my feet and file away. I’m going to have to go to the store tomorrow to find moisturizer with urea in it. Are you thinking of doing a new foot care post?

  20. Tasha Rushing
    July 4, 2014 / 8:35 am

    Very helpful…thank you very much for this post!!!

  21. Jessica Bunny
    July 23, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    Great tips! Here is my tip! I have very dry heels that can crack, so here is My tip….I soak my feet as I am showering with hot water( plug tub) for 15 min. I usually do this at the end of my shower, u need the skin soften first. Then I use a real pumice stone. And apply as much pressure as needed. And scrub away the tough areas on the foot ( heel , side of big toe, etc.) rinse pumice periodically while using it if it feels slippery and also at end of use. Then poo out of shower and I use extra virgin cold pressed organic coconut oil all over my feet. Everytime u shower u must do this whenever feet get wet! Then for touch ups in Btwn I use the file and dry file them! And then moisturizer!! I just tried Burt’s bees coconut foot cream and it smells good . I like it so far. They also sell small trial size bottles of this for a couple dollars at cvs if anyone wants to sample it first.

  22. kirsten
    August 18, 2014 / 9:35 pm

    There’s still a thick layer of dead skin on the heel of one of my feet but it’s got this weird “pattern” or “texture” and theres wart like things appearing on and around it. At first I figured it was a blister but now it’s just there and the edges are getting painful. It’s starting to worry me

  23. Carole
    September 21, 2014 / 3:59 pm

    Gehwol lipidro cream is brilliant at keeping feet really hydrated. It was recommended to me by a chiropodist a few years ago and I use it every day religiously. Keeps my feet lovely and soft and supple. It’s a good price too if you buy the big dispenser at

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