You might feel like hiding your feet away forever if you suffer from dry, cracked skin. Dry skin occurs when the natural balance of moisture and skin oil is disrupted, which can be due to a number of factors. Your cells need the correct amount of water inside to stay plumped up, with enough oil being secreted by your skin to prevent too much moisture from evaporating from the surface of your skin. Don't despair because certain vitamins can help. However, never use vitamins as a treatment for any condition without consulting your health care provider first.
Causes of Dry, Cracked Skin
Dry cracked skin on your feet and heels can be caused by a number of different conditions, including a poor diet that lacks certain important vitamins. Other causes affecting the development of dry skin include inherited skin disorders, skin damage from excessive exposure to sunlight, the normal aging process, an athlete's foot infection and other skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Before taking any vitamin supplements for dry, cracked skin, speak to your doctor about diagnosing the exact condition causing it.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. Vitamin E has the ability to destroy free radicals in the body formed by exposure to harsh toxins and chemicals. It also helps keep your skin hydrated. Vitamin E is important to your diet and is found in many foods, including liver, nuts, eggs, vegetable oils, asparagus, avocados and spinach. Topical creams and ointments containing vitamin E might help heal dry, cracked skin on your feet and heels, particularly when it's caused by too much sunlight exposure. A study published in "Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology" says topical application of vitamin E is effective in reducing skin damage from UV sunlight.
Vitamin A is also a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is necessary for good eyesight, but is also needed to keep your skin healthy and your oil glands in good working order. Food sources of vitamin A include carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cod, meat and eggs. Topical use of vitamin A, along with vitamin E, can help reduce skin damage and dryness caused by sunlight. Never take vitamin A dietary supplements or use vitamin A-containing topical products without talking to your doctor first. Vitamin A can build up to toxic levels within your body, producing serious medical problems.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is very important for your skin. It is crucial in the production of collagen, which is needed for healthy skin, ligaments and tendons. If you are low in vitamin C, the skin on your feet and heels can become dry and cracked. According to Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," vitamin C also strengthens the capillaries responsible for maintaining blood supply to the skin. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower, red peppers and pineapple.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis Balch; 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center; "Vitamin E"; Steven Ehrlich; December 2009
- "Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physicology"; "Cutaneous Vitamins A and E in the Context of Ultraviolet -- or Chemically-Induced Oxidative Stress"; O. Sorg et al; November 2001
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin A
- University of Maryland Medical Center: "Vitamin C"; Steven Ehrlich; June 2009