Healthy feet

Say goodbye to hard skin – How to keep your feet healthy so they look and feel their best.

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Hard skin on feet looks unsightly and, if left untreated, can develop into common foot concerns such as calluses, cracked heels and corns. In this article, Hansaplast, the Hard Skin Expert, explains the root cause of these concerns, how to prevent hard skin from forming and how to remove it when it does.

What causes hard skin on feet?

The underlying causes of hard skin on feet are excessive pressure and friction. Our feet are under constant pressure: whether we’re walking, running or just standing still for long periods of time they carry our weight. 
Our feet are constantly under pressure and can easily dry out and harden

Feet are also subjected to the pressures and friction that come from hard surfaces and inappropriate or ill-fitting footwear. 
If pressure and friction persist, and dry skin on our feet is left untreated:

Cracked heels, calluses and corns are all common foot complaints and can be both unsightly and uncomfortable. As we get older, our skin becomes drier making us more prone to foot complaints. Toe deformities such as bunions and hammer toes also alter the shape of our feet, increasing the chances of friction and, thereby, corns and callouses.

What are the main hard skin problems for feet?

There are four main foot concerns linked to hard skin:
1. Dry skin
2. Calloused skin
3. Cracked skin
4. Corns

Dry skin on feet

The skin on our feet is prone to dryness and hardens in response to external pressures and friction
The skin on our feet doesn’t have sebaceous glands so it is particularly susceptible to dryness. Our feet are also under constant pressure – whether we are walking, running or merely standing still they carry our weight, and inappropriate footwear makes matters worse. These stresses cause the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) on our feet to thicken and harden. This is a natural reaction, and occurs in order to protect the deeper layers of skin, but it makes it even more difficult for skin to attract and retain the moisture it needs. Skin dries out further as a result. You can read more about how feet dry out and hard skin develops in dry and calloused skin.

Calloused skin on feet

Calluses often develop on heels
If pressure persists, and feet are left untreated, dry skin soon develops into calluses: thickened, raised areas of skin typically found on the soles and heels. Calluses are the number one foot problem1, and you can find out more about them in dry and calloused skin.

1 Source: Foot Monitor 01/2008, GER/F, n=1,000

Cracked skin on feet

Cracks appear on dry, calloused skin
When skin is very dry and callused, and pressure persists, cracks (also known as fissures) appear, most commonly on heels. They start off more unsightly than uncomfortable but, if left untreated, can become painful. Cracks represent a compromised skin barrier and, if allowed to deepen and open up, infection can enter the open wounds leading to more serious conditions. Read more in cracked heels.


Corns develop when friction is repeated in one particular spot
If the pressure or friction which contributes to calloused skin persists in one specific spot then a corn may form. Corns tend to have a hard core or root which can become entwined with the nerves of the skin making it painful when direct pressure is applied. They’re most common in areas under maximum pressure from our footwear such as on top of the toes but can also appear on the soles of the foot and in between toes. You can find out more in corns

How can I prevent or remove hard skin on my feet?

Hansaplast: the hard skin expert
Regular footcare – combined with choosing and wearing appropriate shoes - will help to keep your feet healthy and ensure that they look and feel their best.
As experts in hard skin, Hansaplast has been leading innovation in footcare for over 100 years. Our trusted footcare products are clinically and dermatologically proven to provide effective solutions for all four hard skin foot problems.
Hansaplast provides effective treatment for dry feet
Dry skin: Moisturize your feet daily with Hansaplast Dry Feet Moisturizing Cream.  With 10% Urea it gives dry feet the hydration they need to stay soft, smooth and healthy. When applied regularly it can help prevent calluses and cracks.

Source: Beiersdorf dermatological study with 33 subjects (including 19 Diabetics) using the product twice a day for two weeks, 2013.
91% of users said their skin was noticeably softer and smoother after just four days, and results continue to improve with time.
Calloused skin: Follow the Hansaplast approach to callus-free feet as products such as Hansaplast Callus Scrub & Care and
Hansaplast Callus Intensive Cream. Once calluses are removed, don’t forget to apply Hansaplast Dry Feet Moisturizing Cream daily to maintain soft and smooth skin.

Source: Beiersdorf dermatological study with 33 subjects using the product twice a day for two weeks, 2011
Fast and effective treatment for cracked heels with Hansaplast footcare products
Cracked skin: Hansaplast Cracked Heel Ointment is a soothing, water-free ointment with Panthenol and Bisabolol that creates optimal healing conditions and strengthens skin’s own protective barrier. It is clinically and dermatologically proven to provide a fast and effective solution for cracked heels with results noticeable after only four days of use.2

2 Source: Beiersdorf dermatological study with 33 subjects using the product twice a day for two weeks, 2013. 88% of userrs said the cream restores smooth and healthy skin after four days – visibly and noticeably. 94% agreed that it healed cracked skin after two weeks.
Corn treated with Hansaplast Corn Plaster with Salicylic Acid
Corns: The Hansaplast range includes a Corn Plaster for easy and convenient corn removal and Pressure Protection Rings to protect skin from further pressure. You can find out more in our article on corns. Be sure to apply Hansaplast Dry Feet Moisturizing Cream to keep hard skin at bay and reduce the chance of corns reforming.

Source: Kuhlmann M. et. al., Local tolerability and efficacy of a corn plaster with salicylic acid. FIP World Congress of Podiatry, Montreal 2016; 50 test persons.

Where can I find out more about feet?

This article gives you an overview of what causes hard skin on feet and introduces the four main foot concerns.
You can read more about these foot conditions in our articles:
- Dry and calloused skin
- Callous-free feet
- Cracked skin
- Corns