1. Your cycle
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Hygiene and beauty

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

How to Get Rid of Dead Skin on Your Feet

Having dead skin or peeling skin on your feet is normal, but it can be unsightly. Many people like to keep their feet smooth and soft, and dead skin interferes with this plan. Fortunately, getting rid of dead skin on your feet is quite easy.

How do we end up with dead skin on our feet? For most people, the feet carry the entire weight of the body, which causes a lot of friction. In addition, the skin on our feet is also prone to dehydration. Plus, our skin sheds dead skin cells every day, but we usually don’t notice it. When the dead skin on your feet becomes obvious, it’s because dead skin cells are accumulating in this area.

Here are some of the factors that can lead to having dead skin on your feet:

  • Friction and irritation: The skin on your feet can become irritated if you walk or run a lot, or if you wear shoes that are uncomfortable, tight, or made from poor-quality materials.
  • Dehydration: The skin on your feet has fewer oil glands than the rest of your body. Oil glands produce sebum, which helps keep your skin moisturized. Since feet produce less sebum than other body parts, the skin in this area is prone to becoming dry and dehydrated. Dry skin can look cracked, flaky, or peeling.
  • Humidity: Wearing closed shoes for long periods of time creates a hot, humid environment. These conditions can irritate your feet and cause skin dehydration. Hot and humid environments can also lead to bacterial growth, which can cause infections that aggravate the dead skin on your feet.
  • Medication: Some medications, including diuretic drugs, can cause dry skin. Discuss possible side effects with your doctor when you start a new treatment.
  • Personal care products: Soaps, lotions, and body washes contain chemicals that can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Washing your feet excessively can also cause dry skin, and products that leave residue behind after you wash can lead to inflammation.
  • Infections or skin conditions: Certain skin infections can cause irritation, flaky skin, and peeling. Other common skin conditions that can cause this issue include eczema and psoriasis.
  • Health conditions: Diabetes can cause skin problems and increase your risk of developing infections, which can lead to peeling skin on your feet. Hypothyroidism can also cause dry skin, since it affects the sweat glands.
  • Age: It’s normal to develop dry skin as you get older. As skin ages, it retains less water, which can affect your entire body, from your face to your feet.

Excess dead skin usually doesn’t require medical care, and it can usually be improved with over-the-counter lotions. If you have any doubts or if the condition is severe, you can call your doctor before trying over-the-counter lotions or home remedies. 

In general, removing dead skin from your feet is actually quite simple. There are different strategies that you can use to get rid of this problem, such as:

  • Using a pumice stone or another type of feet exfoliator: Exfoliating removes dead skin cells to get rid of dry, cracked skin. You can use a physical exfoliator, such as a pumice stone, or a chemical exfoliator. Chemical exfoliators contain substances such as glycolic acid or lactic acid to help remove dead skin. Usually, the side effects of using chemical peels tend to be mild; however, to protect your health and get the results you seek, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist before using them.
  • Soaking your feet to remove dry skin: Soaking dry skin can soften it and make it easier to remove. It also helps soothe irritation and improves blood circulation. Try soaking your feet in warm water; you can also add Epsom salt or a relaxing essential oil to your soak. 
  • Moisturizing your feet regularly: Applying moisturizer is one of the easiest ways to relieve and prevent dry skin. Remember to apply a rich moisturizer to your feet every day when you get out of the shower.
  • Wearing socks while you sleep: Applying moisturizer and wearing socks before going to bed can help lock in moisture and soften your dry skin.
  • Making your own foot scrub to remove dead skin cells: It’s very easy to make your own scrub at home. A very popular recipe is to simply mix granulated sugar or salt with a moisturizing oil — jojoba, coconut, or olive oil are good options — and use this product to scrub your feet. You can customize your foot scrub by adding other ingredients, such as oatmeal or essential oils.
  • Getting a paraffin wax pedicure treatment: During this treatment, you’ll have warm paraffin wax applied to your feet. Your feet will then be wrapped and the wax will be removed once it has cooled off completely. The dry wax will take the dead skin off with it. You can also purchase an at-home paraffin wax pedicure kit.

There are some simple measures that can help prevent a buildup of dead skin on your feet. Here are just a few tips for keeping your feet soft and smooth:

  • Make sure to use a soap that doesn’t irritate your skin, and rinse it off completely after washing.
  • Avoid lotions or personal hygiene products that contain alcohol.
  • Exfoliate your feet regularly.
  • Apply moisturizer to your feet every day.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Get pedicure treatments occasionally.
  • Use a foot peel every now and then.

Despite the fact they’re often tucked away in shoes, our feet can still be a vital aspect of our body image. Thankfully, removing dead skin from your feet isn’t too complicated. A combination of moisturizing your feet, exfoliating, using pedicure treatments, and wearing the right shoes can help you prevent or eliminate your foot skin peeling.

It’s important to steer clear of unsafe methods or homemade foot peels that can result in harmful allergic reactions. And if you suspect that the peeling skin on your feet could be related to a disease or skin infection, it’s best to see your doctor.

Removing dead skin from your feet for good can require some trial and error and definitely takes lots of consistency. But once you find the methods that work for you, you’ll find it was worth the effort!




Read this next