It is quite common for us to take care of our bodies without paying much attention to feet and heels. Skincare professionals, however, know that proper care of the heels is also important. And one generally recommended way to do this is to use a heel cream.
In this buying guide, we are going to explain, among other things, the preventive and curative abilities of a heel cream. Then we would guide you on how you can choose a good one.
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What Happens When You Fail to Take Care of Your Heels
The skin generally has oil glands that produce sebum (natural skin oil) which keep it well moisturized. The heels are the only part that don’t have these glands.
This however is a deliberate design to help us maintain friction while walking. But this also means the heels lack the moisturizing effect other skin parts enjoy. Ultimately this makes them the driest skin of the body.
The drier the heels become, the higher the tendency of cracks and fissures to occur. And when the heels get cracked, it causes pains on the heels.
To further worsen the already bad condition, a cracked heel can easily get infected by bacteria or fungi. Hence, the need to pay close attention to them.
How Does a Heel Cream Help?
A heel cream is formulated and designed to carry out an array of functions. Some of these functions are listed below:
Moisturizes the Heels
A good heel cream adds sufficient moisture to the heels. This is because most of the ingredients in a heel cream contain moisturizing properties to certain degrees.
Fixes Damaged Skin
A good heel cream works to repair and fix skin that has been damaged in one way or another. For those who fail to care for their heels, the appearance of cuts, scars and cracks are quite common. This is where a heel cream is at its best. The ingredients in a heel cream are specially designed and suited for this function.
Softens Hard Heels
Some heels are naturally dry while others become dry due to neglect. Despite what may have been responsible for the hardening of the heels, a good heel cream works to soften them.
Most times, openings in the heel make it susceptible to infections. These infections are either as a result of bacterial or fungal activities.
A regular heel cream would readily prevent such infections. However, if you want to cure such you would need to go for heel creams that specifically handle and treat infections.
The daily pressure we exert on our heels while walking can be a bit too much for them. This is especially true when we have dry or cracked heels.
Such situations transform the pressure into pains that move from our heels and reverberate throughout our body.
Ingredients like menthol, tea tree oil, essential oils and arnica Montana serve as pain-relievers in a heel cream. It would be best to look out for such ingredients when you go shopping if your heels hurt.
Active Ingredients in a Heel Cream
When going in search of a heel cream, you may want to take into consideration the ingredients it contains.
The ingredients in a heel cream determine its effectiveness and compatibility with your skin. Let’s learn about some of these ingredients then, shall we?
This compound is known for its ability to repair dead skin cells. This means if you suffer from cracked heel, having allantioin in your heel cream guarantees faster repairs.
As the skin cells begin to regenerate thanks to allantoin, the cracks and fissures get sealed up in the process.
As a moisturizing ingredient, allantoin ensures your heel is not deprived of the moisture necessary to keep it hydrated.
Aloe Vera in Heel Cream
This amazing natural ingredient brings soothing relief to your heels. It calms itching, burning and pains that your heels might be experiencing. Aloe vera is also a great moisturizing ingredient.
In addition to this, it is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are ingredients that combat free radicals in and on the skin that can cause the skin to break. The presence of aloe vera in your heel cream will prevent your heel from breaking or cracking open.
One amazing ingredient that serves as a moisturizing agent is coconut oil. It is very effective in its role because the skin can easily absorb it.
Coconut oil also restores the strength of the skin. This means the skin is less likely to crack.
Glycerin in Heel Cream
Glycerin is a compound that does the function of a humectant. That means it prevents the escape of moisture. This is important since the moisture in the heel is quite low, therefore preserving that which is present is important. The function of glycerin ensures that the heel does not become too dry.
Like we stated earlier, the only skin part that lacks sebum is the heel. But this lack can be easily corrected by using a heel cream that contains jojoba oil.
This is because this amazing ingredient can mimic the functions as well as properties of the sebum produced by the skin. With jojoba oil, your heels won’t be deprived as it naturally is. Apart from the addition of oil, jojoba oil also controls oil production of the skin.
As an emollient, this ingredient is capable of softening hard skin. This makes it very helpful for those with hard heels. Furthermore, it can keep moisture from escaping just like glycerin.
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Salicylic Acid in Heel Cream
Exfoliators help in removing dead skin cells that have amassed on the surface of the skin. And such accumulation of dead skin cells on the heels will only serve to harden the heels and make them prone to cracking.
Salicylic acid is an exfoliator that is readily employed in heel creams. Its ability to deal with dry and thick skin as well as serious cases such as hyperkeratosis is legendary.
It is also capable of soothing any kind of pain. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to use on skin that is broken in any way. It stings if applied to such exposed skin.
A 6% concentration of salicylic acid in your heel cream is quite ideal. This concentration would ensure that you don’t experience such stinging effect from this ingredient.
As we age, our skin tends to lose its strength and suppleness. The same thing happens to our heels.
To combat this, brands employ anti-aging ingredients and antioxidants. One ingredient that fits the bill of both an antioxidant and an anti-aging ingredient is shea butter. It will help your skin maintain its elasticity and won’t let it to crack or break.
Urea in Heel Cream
Known as a healing ingredient, urea is used in heel creams to heal the skin of cracks and other damages. Serving as an anti-fungal ingredient, urea deals with fungi that seek to infect your heels.
When going for a heel cream, a 10% urea concentration is adequate to give you the result you desire. However if your case seems severe, the maximum concentration should be about 25%. Do not go beyond that as the stinging effect of the urea might be a bit too much for the skin.
Tea Tree Oil
This is a natural ingredient with the ability to moisturize and heal your heels. It is known to fight fungal and bacterial infections that might worsen the condition of your heels.
Very few ingredients rival the tea tree oil when it comes to dealing with infections; this is one ingredient you shouldn’t neglect.
Tips on Using a Heel Cream
i. Apply your heel cream immediately after a bath or shower. Doing this will ensure that the ingredients in your heel cream are absorbed into the skin and effectiveness is increased.
ii. Ensure that you use the heel cream as directed. Some creams require using it lavishly while other just need a pea-size to work effectively.
iii. If over the counter heel creams fail to work, it means your condition is severe. Then you need to see a dermatologist who will recommend another treatment for you.
Other Ways to Take Care of Your Heels
Apart from using a heel cream, what other ways can one take care of his or heels?
Cut Down Unnecessary Movements
You need to cut down on the demands you place on your heels. The more you stand, walk or run, the more you heels have to bear. Remember your heels need to be cared for and being considerate about the pressure they carry is part of caring.
Wear Shoes with Heel Cups
Honestly, flip-flops and sandals without heel cups are villains in this story. They stress and pressure your heels so bad. Endeavor to wear footwear with heel cups as often as possible.
Exposing your heels constantly and continuously to climatic and environmental elements will cause your heels to dry out. But wearing socks will reduce the unprofitable friction involving your heels and shoes.
How helpful has this buying guide been? What tips have been most useful to you? Please share with us in the comments section; we would love to hear from you.