One of the most common questions from patients we deal with on an everyday basis is "What's good to put on my dry feet?" Many patients swear that rubbing vaseline on their feet is the best option. Vaseline was created to be a skin protectant. This means it was designed to protect skin in areas which might be subject to friction or irritation. Due to its thick, ointment like consistency it tends to sit on the surface of the skin, rather than penetrating through the skin to increase moisture content. This means that it is not usually the best choice to moisturize dry skin. It may have some limited application to seal and protect the skin when deep cracks develop, but should not be used on a regular basis.
The skin on the bottom of the feet is the thickest, toughest skin anywhere on the body and must stand up to the pressure of weight bearing every day. As such, this skin is highly susceptible to becoming dry, calloused and cracked. Application of a good, thick over the counter moisturizing cream, such as eucerin or lubriderm, on a daily basis is essential. This best applied after the shower and/or at bedtime. Care should be taken to rub the product in well to the top and bottom of the feet, avoiding the area in between the toes where fungus infections may develop from excessive moisture. Patients with medical conditions that cause skin to become excessively dry, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, may require prescription moisturizing creams to keep the skin softer.