The skin on your feet, like skin elsewhere your body, forms a physical barrier to the environment. It’s important that your skin is supple and flexible so that it can cope with the stresses and forces of walking. However if the skin’s properties are altered or damaged, dryness and roughness can develop which can look unsightly and may lead to discomfort.

Your skin gets moisture from the dermis below and from the environment around it. The water content is also affected by the presence of epidermal lipids and natural moisturising factors. If the levels of these two important substances are decreased, the cells start to shrink and gaps can appear between the cells resulting in dry, rough skin.

Humidity levels, heat, cold or wind, sunlight and detergents or other irritant chemicals can cause your skin to become dry. Open footwear can also cause dry skin on your heels and the outer edges of the soles due to increased stress and friction. Exposure to the environment can also make your skin dry, thickened and scaly and it may look white or yellow.

Skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema, the foods we eat and our weight can all impact on the condition of the skin on our feet. People with diabetes may find that their feet become dry due to reduced sweating as a result of damage to the nerves that supply the sweat glands. Dry skin is also common as we get older, this is due to changes in the circulation, reduced sweat gland function and a loss of elasticity.


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