moisturised pair of legs and feet

How To Treat Dry Feet

Your feet bear your entire weight every day, so it's no surprise that dry feet are so common. Follow NIVEA's advice to relieve and hydrate feet to prevent them from getting dry.

What causes dry skin on feet?

There are many causes of dry feet. Developing dry feet can be something obvious like your lifestyle, a poor diet, lots of walking and exercise, or just a bad foot care routine. Follow NIVEA's advice on how to treat dry feet and finally feel relief.

Why are your feet so dry? Causes of dry feet

Dry feet and cracked soles are more common than dry skin in other parts of our body because they lack any oil glands, especially on the soles of the feet. The lack of oil leads to dehydration, one of the most significant causes of dry skin. Feet instead rely on sweat glands to stay moisturised. Read more on the causes of dry skin with NIVEA.

Your foot is also under constant pressure all day from standing, walking and exercising bearing the brunt of our entire body weight. This can cause hard, dry, callous skin forming on the pressure points in our feet, which is one of the causes of dry skin on feet. This can be especially prominent if you stand on your feet more often than the average person or do a lot of exercise/start a new exercise regime, leading to sore cracked feet developing.

It's important to employ good foot-care by applying a moisturising foot lotion such as NIVEA Lotion - Dry Skin. You should always try to prevent dry feet and flaky skin rather than wait to treat it, so using a moisturiser every night of the week as a routine will help treat dry skin on feet. If you do develop dry skin on feet, or cracked feet try using a nourishing lotion twice a day, once after a bath or shower and once before bed to re-hydrate dry feet.

lady in the bath scrubbing her dry skin on feet

4 reasons for dry feet

Hot water

Taking showers and baths with very hot water can take the moisture out of the feet, leaving them feeling dry and dehydrated. The longer you stay in, the worse the dryness will be! Try showering in lukewarm water to avoid drying out feet.

lady lying on her front on a sandy beach

4 reasons for dry feet

UVA/UVB damage

Spending long periods of time in the sun can dry out your feet and people tend to forget to apply an effective sunscreen like NIVEA Sun Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sun Lotion to them, despite the fact that the skin on the top of the feet is extremely thin and delicate. 

brunette lady with gloves standing in snow

4 reasons for dry feet

The winter months

Cold winter weather conditions strip the skin of its moisture, leaving it feeling dehydrated. In addition, indoor heating systems reduce the moisture in the air during the winter months, which dries out the feet even further. Winter skincare is an important part of taking care of your skin.

pair of feet wearing socks

4 reasons for dry feet

Skin conditions

The feet can be prone to dryness and rashes from skin conditions like eczema. This is due to the fact that there are so many sweat glands and the friction caused by shoes and socks.


With a good skincare routine, treating dry skin on feet doesn't have to be an uphill struggle.

Dry Feet Treatment - Cleanse and Moisturise

When caring for dry skin on feet or cracked feet it's important not only to moisturise but cleanse. Sweat and dirt can become trapped in the dead cells developing bacteria (and odour) that can cause dry feet to get even worse.

To treat dry feet thoroughly cleanse your feet with a moisturising body wash such as NIVEA Fresh Moisture Acai Berry Shower Gel and follow up with some gentle exfoliation of the foot area a few times a week, even using a pumice stone followed up with a moisturiser to brush off dead skin.

NIVEA Rich Nourishing Body Lotion is ideal for applying post-shower, as it can absorb quickly into the skin. With moisture that lasts all day long, you can look forward to fresh, smooth and healthy looking feet in no time. Continued use after the problem's ended helps prevent new dry skin on feet or cracked feet forming.

nice pair of feet on a white background

Exfoliate your Dry Feet

Use a pumice stone to remove dry, dead skin to reveal new softer layers of skin underneath. When exfoliating use gentle circles and rinse afterwards. Once you're done exfoliating the cracked skin on feet it's best to use a highly moisturising lotion, the new softer skin should absorb moisturiser quicker and healthier than dry skin.

Read our how to exfoliate guide for more advice.

socks hanging on a washing line

Dry Feet and Sock Choice

You (presumably) wear socks almost all day along, and if you have dry skin on feet it could mean that bacteria that contributes to dry skin is transferred to the sock and vice versa. Making sure you're wearing clean, breathable socks all the time to avoid cracked skin on your feet. After exercising you should change your socks if you're unable to shower straight away and never re-wear socks without washing them first.

Having socks that allow your feet to breath can prevent dry feet and help to treat dry skin on feet. Cotton socks are lighter and cooler than synthetic socks and help stop foot odour.

Top tips for taking care of dry feet

  • Prevention is better than treatment! Ensure you have a good diet and skincare routine, as these will help to stop skin from drying out.
  • Make sure you're drinking enough water - a lack of hydration will have an impact on your skin. Specifically, dehydration will stimulate dry skin on your feet remaining.
  • Increase circulation to the feet; by improving diet, exercising more, not smoking and improving leg posture.

  • Use a humidifier to stop the air around you from drying out. If the air dries out too much, it can lead to skin drying out too, causing dry skin on the feet.

  • Try to shower and bath in lukewarm water instead of hot. If the temperature is too hot it'll lead to dry and often sore skin.

  • Use products designed to provide hydration to the skin, and avoid any products with too much ethyl alcohol in them.

  • Try an in-shower body milk, such as our NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser for Dry Skin, to help prevent dry skin on the feet caused by hot showers

woman stroking her legs

Don't scratch your feet

There's temptation to try and scratch the flaky skin on your feet. It can be itchy and uncomfortable but scratching can lead to spreading bacteria, and also lead to cracked skin on your feet and cuts. 

The spreading of bacteria can lead to spots, infections and sore feet. Instead of scratching apply a cold flannel to soothe itchy feet or gently cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise.

Dry feet treatments from NIVEA