One of the few activities to bring us joy in lockdown is our daily walks. Whether you’re sporting wellies cross-country or trainers to pound city pavements, the majority of us have increased our day-to-day step count in this pandemic. While getting outside and staying active has been life-saving for both our mental and physical health, you may have noticed it’s taken its toll on our feet, showing up in the form of dry, rough, flaky skin, or perhaps more stubborn calluses or cracked heels.
These foot issues are a result of pressure and friction that comes from walking, as well as standing, and from carrying our body weight around. This is made worse if you’re on your feet a lot on hard surfaces. Add to this, that our footwear may have changed in lockdown – ill-fitting footwear loves to rub. Pair that with the fact that we love to neglect our feet in the colder months, and you’ve got a brilliant recipe for dry, rough skin.
A dedicated foot cream will renew and repair your suffering soles, as well as prevent damage from taking place in the first place. And don’t think your regular moisturiser will cut it. “The skin on the feet is 12 times thicker than the rest of our body, which is why a body product will not work,” Margaret Dabbs, a podiatrist, says. “A foot cream will have been formulated with the correct ingredients for foot concerns and have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties,” she adds. It will also have a richer, heavier specialised makeup to be able to work on this tougher skin.
Look for next-generation foot creams that contain humectants, such as urea, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as they draw moisture into the skin, as well as oils and shea butter that seals it. For seriously thick skin, you’ll also need a formula that contains liquid exfoliators like salicylic and lactic acid to speed up skin cell turnover and slough away dead skin.
We tested the latest formulas, to bring you this round-up of the very best. We found it best to apply to clean feet in the evenings, and those suitable were also tested in the mornings. Our winners left us with soft and supple feeling feet, but also went the extra mile, just as our feet have been doing, targeting rough, hard skin patches and cracked heels.
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CeraVe SA renewing foot cream
With an impressive ingredients list, this hard-working formula packs a skin-repairing punch. The thick, balmy texture soaks in after one or two minutes, making it fuss-free to use in the mornings as well as evenings – a welcome bonus come sandal weather. Prepare for instantly well-hydrated feet, thanks to the moisture-boosting ingredients hyaluronic acid and urea. After just days, cracked heels felt smoother with replenishing and repairing ingredients likes ceramides and niacinamide. We were equally impressed with its ability to keep stubborn calluses at bay. It boasts two per cent salicylic acid that penetrates and exfoliates the skin, so it’s able to break down rough, hard skin. After two weeks feet looked better than they have in years. A real winner!
Burt’s Bees coconut foot cream
A bit like Marmite, you either love or hate a coconut scented beauty product – obviously you have to be in the latter to get on with this much-loved, reliable formula that we’ve turned back to time and time again. More like a thick salve than cream, we found it best to use at night with cotton socks, as it is too greasy for those time-conscious in the mornings. Made-up of coconut oil, lanolin and glycerin, this really delivers an intense moisture dose, leaving skin super soft and well-hydrated. The light, refreshing peppermint and coconut infusion is lovely on the nose too. Use as a preventative rather than a cure.
Eucerin urea repair plus 10 % urea foot cream
Dry skin doesn’t stand a chance against this 10 per cent urea and ceramide formula. The humectant penetrates the outer layer of skin where it absorbs and retains moisture brilliantly. The balm-like texture can be used morning or evenings but be warned you need to wear socks, or you will slip if you’re on your feet. Soles look instantly healthier and feel like silk after just one use, but the best results were seen with continued use. We can confirm its moisturising ability does last for 48 hours as promised, so you can skip use to every other day with this one. A great option for those that find applying a chore.
Ecooking overnight foot cream
The fusion of the words “eco-friendly” and “cooking” is the inspiration behind the name of Danish beauty brand, as it was born in the kitchen using as many natural and organic ingredients as possible. This is fast becoming a bit of a cult-favourite, and we see why. More than just a treat for the feet, although we love its cooling-effect on tired feet from the menthol and eucalyptus, this uses lactic acid to slough away at rough, dry skin. After just one use, foot-loving oils and urea moisturise and improve the function of the skins lipid barrier to protect against further dryness, continued use sees hard skin improve. It’s not greasy, or sticky, so skip the bed socks with this. And major bonus points for no unnecessary outer packaging.
Bare Feet by Margaret Dabbs nourishing cracked heel balm
While you can’t book in for one of the amazing foot rejuvenating medical pedicures at the Margaret Dabbs salons right now, you can experience the goodness in her great value diffusion range in the comfort of your own home. This stand-out product heeled surface cracks within days of using it both morning and night. Lactic and salicylic acid are the smoothing exfoliators in this zesty-fragranced, surprisingly light textured cream. Coconut oil, cacao seed butter and manuka honey moisturise and soften feet. The only thing budget about this formula is its low price.
Ameliorate intensive foot therapy
You can always rely on Ameliorate when it comes to treating dry, rough skin – its got its formulations nailed, and this foot cream is no exception. This is a supercharged moisturiser with the brand’s unique complex of active hardworking ingredients (that work so well in its other skincare too), as well as feet-loving urea and lactic acid to slough away thick skin. Use twice daily and expect to see major results after two weeks. This is a real triple threat, healing cracked soles, reducing hard skin and leaving feet soft and smooth. And for a bonus, it even deodorises too.
SVR xérial 50 extreme foot cream
Reach for this high strength formula from the French pharmacy skincare brand if you suffer from seriously stubborn hard skin or corns. Formulated with 50 per cent urea, the concentration gets to work quickly, as the moisture-absorbing humectant improves the appearance of dry, rough, scaly skin after first use. It also uses exfoliating salicylic acid to breakdown stubborn calluses, promising to have the same effect as a pumice stone after just a week of twice-daily use. We found thick hard skin which is normally filed weekly reduced dramatically. This works a treat on skin calluses on hands and elbows too.
Sol de Janeiro samba foot fetish
If there’s such a thing as a glamorous foot cream this would be it. You can smell like the brands signature Brazilian bum bum body cream from head-to-toe, as this shares its delicious, pistachio and salted caramel scent. We were instantly sold when we opened up the box to find a mini surfboard foot file to smooth away rough skin first. Use the exotic cream after, with Brazilian rich moisturiser cupuacu butter and coconut oil and anti-oxidant acai. Feet feel soft and silky straightaway. It’s a no-slip formula, so it soaks in instantly making it easy to apply anytime day or night, even before you slip on your heels to go Samba dance the night away – a girl can dream, right. Fun, feel-good and everything we need right now.
OPI pro spa intensive callus smoothing balm
If you’re looking for an indulgent cream to use alongside your favourite foot file or pumice stone, this one’s for you. It’s not actually a higher price point than the rest, as you get a 236ml generous tub for the price. With Brazilian nourishing superfood cupuacu, exfoliating lactic acid and soothing camomile and white tea, you might recognise the beautiful fragrance from your much-missed pedicure – as it’s often a salon therapist favourite. Use once a day and you’ll maintain soft, smooth and healthy-looking feet. We found applying a thick layer to feet at bedtime with soaks made an intensive foot mask when feet needed a little extra TLC.
Clarins foot beauty treatment cream
Fans of the cult favourite Clarins hand cream, and we’re including the Queen who is rumoured to never run out, will love the similar fresh, clean scent of this. More of a pampering treat with shea butter and cashew nut oil, you’ll need a foot file alongside it for more serious calluses, but it does keep it at bay once removed. It’s formulated with antifungal arnica extract, which is loved in homoeopathic medicine for relieving swelling and soothing tired feet. We also found our nails felt stronger and healthier with continued use. Apply any time you want beautifully soft and supple feet.
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