QuestionHello Skin Doctor, I have recently noticed that my heels are very scaly. What should I do?
AnswerCommon causes of scaly feet include:
In this procedure a few scales are scraped off and mixed with potassium hydroxide (KOH) in the lab before being examined under the microscope for fungi. It these are present you will need to be treated with antifungals like Terbinafine.
Genetic IcthysosisGenetic ichthyosis is an inherited condition which is also known as fish scale disease.
The smooth skin on your legs suggests that the scales on your soles are unlikely to be caused by genetic ichthyosis.
There are many types of psoriasis and one type is palmoplantar psoriasis which is associated with thickening and scaling of the palms and soles.
Since the scaling only affects your heels, I would say that it is unlikely you have palmoplantar psoriasis since the entire sole is usually very scaly.
Plantar XerosisPlantar xerosis simply means dry skin and it is a very common cause of dry, scaly feet in Kenya.
Plantar xerosis can be caused by using harsh skincare products, wearing open heeled shoes and even the process of aging.
If the KOH test that I suggested earlier is negative and a fungal infection is ruled out, the most probable cause of your scaly feet of recent onset is plantar xerosis.
You can manage scaly feet caused by plantar xerosis at home by using:
a. Natural Foot Soak
Add a cup of milk to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet in it for around 10 minutes. Milk contains lactic acid which loosens the dead skin cells and moisturizes the skin.
b. Natural Foot Scrub
Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or sunflower oil to make a foot scrub. Massage it onto the scaly feet for around 2 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Sugar contains glycolic acid which helps remove the dead cells forming the scales. Olive oil or sunflower oil will moisturize your feet.
c. Natural Foot Cream
Massage your feet with a moisturizer. You can use pure olive oil or shea butter or a body butter which combines all these awesome ingredients.
Ensure that you massage your feet with the moisturizer each evening and wear socks to bed to help soften your skin during the night.
In the morning, bathe or shower with a mild soap that will not dry your skin, moisturize the feet and wear closed shoes with socks or stockings if possible.