This is yet one more entry in my ongoing “War on Cracked Heels” saga. As I’ve mentioned before, when I reached the late second trimester of my pregnancy, I came down with a bad case of edema. My feet and ankles swelled up to the point where I could have doubled in a knees-down shot as John Travolta in drag in the movie Hairspray.
Anyway, none of my shoes would fit. At all. I couldn’t squeeze a single pair on. I had to buy some stretchy slippers with hard soles as makeshift shoes. I bought two pairs and wore them from around Week 28 to delivery (and even a couple of weeks post pregnancy). But mostly, I just went barefoot whenever possible.
Which resulted in some horribly cracked heels and dry, icky feet. I’m talking deep, bleeding, should-I-call-a-doctor heel fissures.
These foot care related entries are pretty much my personal battle with the scars of perpetual pregnancy barefootedness. Tessa is now 14 weeks old and my heels are crack free – with only traces of scars – and are almost to the point of being 100% baby soft after weekly Apple Cider Vinegar and Eucalyptus Foot Soaks and a serious regimen of moisturizing from the inside out, along with a few other tricks that I’ll be posting about soon.
So! In my quest for healed heels, I tried out a couple different DIY foot scrubs, but after much trial and error and recipe tweaking, I believe this one is BY FAR the best for cracked heels. The extra virgin olive oil leaves feet soft and smooth, the peppermint leaf and spearmint oil give a refreshing tingle, and the sea salt is gratifyingly abrasive and exfoliating. I use this whenever I’m in the shower, or after I’ve exfoliated with a pumice stone during a foot soak.
How To Make It:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sea salt
15-20 drops spearmint essential oil
4 peppermint tea bags
There’s no real trick to mixing it. Get a clean container (I prefer glass for product I intend to consume or slather on my body) and put your salt in it. Pour the oils and loose tea leaves over the salt and stir well. Store away from sunlight and heat, and it’ll keep for up to 6 months. You don’t have to worry about the salt dissolving – salt is an ionic solid and oil is a non-polar hydrocarbon, the two are incompatible and won’t mix – but you do have to worry about the oil going rancid. The higher quality the oil, the longer the shelf life.
How To Use It:
When applying the scrub, I like to get a quarter sized lump in my palm and gently work it around my heels and focus on spots with callouses, rubbing in a circular motion. Rub firmly, but don’t go so rough as to irritate the skin. When soaking in the tub, I like to hold my feet out of the water and let the oils soak deep before rinsing. I just gotta say, there’s something deliciously decadent about seeing salt rocks and peppermint leaves peppering your feet in a hot bath.
This mixture is a fun treat by itself, but it’s also a heavy hitter in combating cracked heels.
How It Works:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – High quality olive oil is full of linoleic acids, oleic acids, palmitic acids, and polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants, which means that when absorbed into the skin they will combat free radicals, preventing them from causing cell damage. Another benefit of polyphenol is that it encourages new cell growth, so that new cells are made to replace any damaged skin cells. The acids in extra virgin olive oil leave feet smooth and moisturized by trapping water into the skin, boosting skin hydration.
Sea Salt – The primary purpose of the sea salt in this recipe is to act as the natural abrasion to exfoliate dead skin cells. Exfoliation paves the way for new cells to regenerate and leaves feet feeling fresh and clean. The scrubbing also encourages the natural flow of circulation, and the salt helps to remove bacteria from the skin and unclog pores. Salt has antiseptic qualities, and when applied to feet it helps kill bacteria and reduce inflammation along with any itching and pain associated with heel cracks.
Spearmint Essential Oil – Spearmint is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, restorative and stimulant substance. Spearmint has the same aroma as peppermint and all the same health benefits, it just has a lower menthol content. The spearmint oil provides the cooling effect in this recipe, without the burning your eyes menthol vapors.
Peppermint Tea Leaf – Peppermint everything – creams, oils, lotions – has become THE go to herb for foot products, and with good reason! Peppermint is highly effective in relieving foot pain, neuralgia, rheumatism, and muscle pains. As an antispasmodic, peppermint tea applied topically has a relaxing and cooling effect on the nerves and muscles. The antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of peppermint make it a powerful disinfectant. And peppermint oil absorbs easily into the skin, leaving your feet pleasantly tingling and reaping the benefits of the scrub long after you’ve finished pampering yourself.
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Have you tried a home remedy foot scrub? What is your favorite DIY scrub?