How to fix your isolation feet: 3 DIY foot remedies to treat your dry and cracked feet.

Up until yesterday, I thought it was just me. That maybe I was the only one dealing with a pretty gross lockdown side effect.

I’m talking about isolation feet. Or iso feet, for short.

Think: Dry heels. Crusty toes. Random flaky patches of skin. A beautiful thick layer of white, parched skin. Oh, and they smell more than usual, too.

As it turns out, I’m definitely not the only one with iso feet. Far be it from me to tell you what’s going on with your body, but if you’re spending a lot more time at home wearing slides, thongs or no shoes at all, you might have them too.

‘Meh, we’re coming into winter,’ you say. ‘I’ll just be wearing boots and sneakers soon anyway.’

And they’re very valid points. Regardless of how dry, cracked feet look, it’s how they feel that matters and left unattended, feet issues can turn into something more painful down the track.

Short of seeing a podiatrist (which is actually a really great idea, when you’re able), I asked some experts how to treat iso feet at home.

WATCH: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while you sleep, post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

But first, here’s what you really shouldn’t use on your feet at home…

1. Motorised foot tools.

These tools look like they work (because you end up with lots of white dust coming off your foot), but Dr Frances Henshaw, a registered podiatrist, researcher and Western Sydney University lecturer, says they’re not really worth your time or money.

“Motorised foot tools always make a lot of dust but there is evidence this can be harmful… and imagine if you were breathing in skin that had foot fungus on it?” she told Mamamia.

In other words, use at your own risk.

2. Any kind of foot grater, peeler or corn plane tool.

If you’re into gross beauty things like pimple popping, you might be tempted to go at your feet with any number of foot peelers, corn plane tools or foot graters – or worse, an actual food grater.

Dr Henshaw says these are “very dodgy” and have a “limited effect”. You can also end up with bits of grated skin hanging off your feet, lots of bleeding or infection.

“If you need to get skin cut off, a podiatrist must do it. Not you, not a pedicurist. And if sharp implements are used, they really need to be sterilised.”


How to fix dry feet at home.

So now we know what not to try DIY – even if the urge to peel or grate your feet is strong – here are three ways you can safely treat dry, crusty feet at home.

1. Foot cream and moisturiser.


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Foot creams aren’t sexy or exciting but maybe we can change that, yeah? I’m extremely excited by the prospect of smooth feet that don’t make my partner shudder when they accidentally touch against his in the night.

Kate McArthur, Director and Lead Podiatrist at Sydney’s City Feet Clinic, suggests trying a product that has the ingredient ‘urea’ in it as it’s “specific to softening foot skin.” That said, you can also use any body moisturiser or hand cream you’ve already got, depending on how severe the skin thickness and dryness is.

The problem with foot balms is they can be greasy, hard to apply and a pain to wear. McArthur and Dr Henshaw’s tips are to apply after showering when your skin is soft and warm, letting the cream dry for five minutes or so before walking, wearing socks over the top or even wrapping your moisturised feet in glad wrap if they’re really dry. I like to apply cream and chuck thick socks over the top before bed.

Here are some recommendations for the best foot balms and creams:

2. Foot file and pumice stone.

If foot cream or balm won’t cut it on their own, you can also use a foot file. Think of a foot file as the lesser of two evils if the alternative is using any of the other foot tools mentioned earlier.

Because there are no blades or motors involved, there’s less chance you’ll do damage with metal or black sandpaper-style files. You could also try a pumice stone in the shower – this Heros Chiropody Sponge ($2.99) comes highly recommended from the You Beauty Facebook group.

Again, it’s best to file out of the shower, and disinfecting the tool after each use is non-negotiable to avoid infections. And please, go slow and err on the side of caution.

You should also know, the skin on our feet regenerates around 28 days after, so you need a consistent treatment routine to maintain the results.

3. Milky Foot.


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Neither of the experts I spoke to mentioned Milky Foot, the viral foot mask that leaves your feet with sheets of skin coming off them.

It’s controversial, but now is an excellent time to give Milky Foot ($31.99 for one pair) a try if you’ve always wanted to see what the fuss is about. The masks contain a bunch of acids that work to dissolve the skin on your feet. Skin will then peel off your feet over a three to five-day period. If you’re keen to see what it looks like, just search #milkyfoot on Instagram (preferably not when you’re eating).

Other foot masks, like the Skin Republic Foot Peel ($15.99) and Patchology PoshPeel Pedi Cure ($32), won’t have the same effect but they’re fun to use. Think of them like as a fancier version of socks and moisturiser.

One final thing you need to know about isolation feet is: wearing slides, thongs, Birkenstocks or bare feet at home won’t help. Socks are the best option.

Oh, and one more thing. Leave any foot shaving and grating to the professionals, OK?

Feature image: Getty.

Have your feet become dry in isolation? Tell us in the comments below.

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