Cracked Hands and Feet 

The hands are the body parts we use the most while feet carry us all day, bearing our weight. The skin on both the feet and hands can be easily damaged via exposure to elements (like dry air) and this is true whether it is joined by heat or cold, leading to them getting cracked and dry. The problem is especially bad during the winter months when cracked hands and feet can lead to pain and inconvenience. Although it is milder in the summer, the scar of cracked hands and feet can be embarrassing for those who wear sandals.

Symptoms and Causes of Cracked Hands and Feet

Feet and hands are dry naturally, making them different from the skin on other areas of the body. These extremities rely on sweat glands to stay moisturized and those who don’t properly moisturize regularly can have problems. Although anyone may develop cracked hands and feet, it is more common for diabetics and seniors.

1. Symptoms

Frequently, cracked feet and hands will simply be one symptom of another issue. They also sometimes go along with other symptoms, including worsening of the issue during the winter, a rash due to itching, peeling skin, flaky skin, rough skin, fissures or cracks in the feet, redness, and itchiness.

2. Causes



Cold weather

As temperatures drop, so do humidity and the dry air makes the skin dry. Turning on indoor heating will only worsen the problem by taking more moisture from the air.

Standing too long in a hot shower

Although steamy showers soothe the body, they dry out the skin’s natural oils. That means longer showers lead to drier skin.

Moisture-rubbing soap

Some soap is harsh and destroy the natural moisture barrier on the skin.

The rub-down

Anytime you excessively scrub your skin in order to clean it, you strip the skin down, worsening the dryness; showering will give your skin moisture, but when you scrub yourself completely dry with a towel immediately after, the moisture gets stripped away.


Your hormone levels change as you age and when this happens, the skin gets thinner and parched.


Many everyday products and fabrics irritate the skin so pay attention to fabric, detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, perfume, and other products.

Medical conditions

Sometimes dry, red, scaly skin is due to a skin condition like psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. It may also indicate diseases, including an underactive thyroid gland or diabetes.

Home Remedies for Cracked Hands and Feet

Cracked feet and hands may especially difficult to overcome. Walking everyday gives you callused soles, so controlling your dry skin can require daily vigilance as well as the help of home remedies.

1. Petroleum Jelly for Cracked Hands and Feet

Petroleum jelly is a great home remedy for dry hands. Simply rub the jelly onto your hands before wrapping them up using a plastic bag and leaving it there for 15 minutes. The bag keeps your hands warm, making it easier for the jelly to be absorbed by the skin. You can also opt to put the petroleum jelly on at night and leave it on while you sleep.

2. Homemade Lotions for Cracked Hands and Feet

  • Fig and coconut oil

Materials needed: Hardened coconut oil, fresh figs, and optional sugar.

How to apply: Mash or blend ripe figs in a bowl, adding in coconut oil. You can add a bit of sugar to turn it into a scrub. Put it on in the shower, but take care as it can get the surface slippery. 

How it works: The mixture exfoliates while the fig seeds clean lightly and remove the dead skin. The coconut oil moisturizes your skin, but it shouldn’t be melted (until it touches your skin).

  • Pumpkin and yogurt

Materials needed: A banana, a quarter cup yogurt, a half cup pumpkin puree, and two tablespoons pumpkin seed butter.

How to apply: Blend the ingredients together, rub them onto your face using a circular motion, and then wash it off after twenty minutes.

How it works: The vitamin A in the pumpkin puree protects from UV damage; the vitamin C increases production of collagen; and the zinc brightens, moisturizes, and soothes the face. The pumpkin seed butter has high quantities of fats to moisturize in addition to zinc.

  • Honey and olive oil

Materials needed: Aloe vera juice, raw honey, and olive oil.

How to apply: Mix all ingredients into a bowl and massage the mixture onto your cuticles for five minutes, two or three times weekly.

How it works: The aloe vera helps cracked skin, cuts, scrapes, and infections.

3. Short Warm Showers for Cracked Hands and Feet

Make sure your baths or showers are less than ten minutes to prevent removing essential oils. You can occasionally treat yourself with a longer soak or rinse, but don’t do so regularly.

4. After Bath Care for Cracked Hands and Feet

After you bathe, put vegetable oil on your feet (focusing on the cracks), then cover with thick socks. For best results, bathe at night and wear the socks while sleeping.

5. Gentle Rubs for Cracked Hands and Feet

Gently rub your heels using a pumice stone and use a soft toothbrush to do the same to your hands while in the shower. This will remove your dead skin, but be careful as it may also increase cracking. There are also products specifically designed for gently exfoliating hands and feet in the shower or bath.

Tip: when you dust, clean bathrooms, or wash dishes, wear a pair of vinyl gloves. This keeps your hands protected from harsh chemicals, chaffing, and chapping.

Watch a video to learn more treatments for cracked hands and feet: