Aromatherapy essential oils for cracked skin

Dry, cracked skin on the hands and the feet and can be extremely painful.

Cracked skin often occurs on the heels, as the skin is thicker here than other areas of the foot and requires more moisture to keep it soft and supple. If the skin becomes too dry and lacking in moisture, the upper layers lose their flexibility which causes the skin to split and crack, Vertical cracks are known as fissures, and the pressure placed on these when walking can sometimes cause the fissures to split open and bleed. They then become very painful and susceptible to infection.

To help avoid this, make sure you file back the dry skin regularly, following a bath or shower. This helps prevent the build-up of dead skin which will crack more easily. Avoid having your bath or shower water too hot, and steer clear of harsh, synthetically fragranced toiletries when washing, as these can dry out and irritate the skin. If cracks are already present in the skin, add 2 tablespoons of Dead Sea Salt to your bath water (or 1 tablespoon to a foot bath) to help prevent infection.

After your bath or shower massage your feet with a rich moisturising cream with natural plant oils and therapeutic essential oils renowned for their soothing, nourishing, and healing effects. This will help to boost the skin’s elasticity and aid skin-repair.

We recommend adding 5ml Calendula oil and 5ml Vitamin E oil to 100ml of our fragrance-free Moisturising Cream. Then mixing in 6 drops Benzoin essential oil, 4 drops Frankincense, 4 drops Patchouli, 4 drops Myrrh and 20 drops Lavender. You can also include 10 drops of Tea Tree oil if there is any sign of infection.

If cracked skin appears on the hands, it's usually as a result of using detergents or from gardening/other outdoor work. Use the above Moisturising Cream before you go outside, to help prevent the skin drying out, and try to use gloves to protect the skin as much as possible.

It is also worth remembering that the skin reflects your internal system and general health. If you are very prone to cracked/dry skin, it could be in indication of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. 

  • Drink 2 litres of water daily to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated
  • Increase intake of essential fatty acids - found in nuts and seeds especially cracked/hulled linseed, sesame seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, oily fish, avocado and cold pressed olive oil, and other rich, dark coloured vegetable oils
  • Increase intake of Vitamin E which is vital for smooth pliable skin - found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, pulses, and whole grains
  • Increase intake of Vitamin A which helps cell division and the balanced sloughing off of dead skin cells to help maintain healthy skin - found in carrots, goats milk, green vegetables and orange fruits
  • Vitamin C and Zinc can also be deficient if the cracking is severe and persistent. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruit (especially berries) and vegetables, whilst Zinc is found shellfish, sardines, beef, game, offal, and hard cheese.
  • Take regular exercise which helps to stimulate your circulation and aids general health and skin health accordingly (this problem can be related to diabetes and obesity)

Finally, try to wear shoes that protect and support the pad of the foot and avoid shoes that are too loose, tight, or uncomfortable. Open-backed shoes can also increase the risk of cracked heels as can walking barefoot. 

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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