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Do You Suffer From Cracked Heels?

By Mikhaila

Good news! Your feet aren’t dry. It’s not from wearing “bad shoes”, they don’t need moisturizer, and Lufa isn’t going to help. Fortunately, it’s easier than that. This actually wasn’t even a food problem for me. It was a chemical problem.

Soaps made by the companies Palmolive (and I also believe Dove), seriously irritate my skin. Mom and Dad both had cracked heels too which resolved when they changed shampoos and soaps. I just suggested to one of my friends that she switch soaps and see if her problem disappears (will update in a month on whether or not it worked). So try it out, (even if your products aren’t from Palmolive or Dove), and let me know. I think it’ll take about a month to resolve itself, but comment below and tell me if it worked or not. It might take a bit longer but I doubt it.

1. Rinse your shower or bath floor to get rid of the leftover shampoo/soap scum that might still be bothering you 

I try and buy pure olive oil soaps but they’re kind of hard to find. There are some links below for suggestions. If you do try it out, comment below with the soap you were using when you had cracked heels and the soap you switched to. Palmolive has sodium bisulfite in it, which I know I have a huge problem with if I ingest it, so maybe that’s the problem? I know Palmolive is a problem, and I’m weary of Dove products. Soaps irritate my hands as well but I seem to be able to tolerate Dawn dish detergent (which is a pretty intense detergent and not natural at all). Dove and Palmolive both make a number of soaps under different names. They make my hands extremely dry, but my heels get in worse condition (from standing in the soapy water in the shower).

2. Buy soap, shampoo, and body wash that’s natural (see links below for suggestions).

If I use a public shower with soaps that have whatever the chemical is that bothers me, my heels get dry and cracked again and it takes about a month for them to “heel” – hardy har har. I’m really tired. Don’t get the eco-friendly stuff, some of those still dry out my skin, use Dawn, or a castile soap.

ANYWAYS having cracking heels is gross and not fun and no amount of pedicures seems to fix it. Switching soaps and shampoos should. I don’t have a before picture of my heels, unfortunately.  Try it out and let me know!

3. Wait a month and rejoice at your baby smooth heels

Typing “Castile oil soap” in Google or Amazon should get you to more natural soaps that should be okay… Just check the ingredients and make sure they seem reasonable. No sulfites (although I’m not 100% certain that that’s the chemicals causing the problem…). I’ve linked to soaps I know are okay and the shampoo and conditioner I use (and love)

Bronner’s soap (scented is no problem)

Kirk’s Castile Soap

Carina Organics Shampoo

Carina Organics Conditioner

If you go to whole foods they sell all of the above there. If you can’t find it, just look for an unscented shampoo and conditioner with reasonable ingredients, that should be fine too. Same with soaps. Ones made from coconut oil or olive oil seem to be the gentlest. I think it was mainly the soap that was bothering me, but I switched shampoos and conditioners just in case. Avoid Palmolive and Dove if you have cracked heels and dry hands!

UPDATE: 2022 – I use tallow soap now. It’s available from a bunch of different companies.

Join the Conversation


  1. Medications often cause dry skin. Have to weigh the benefits. Lanolin, if one can tolerate, does help. Also we soap ourselves too much. And maybe hard water doesn’t help. Using non-soap mild cleaners (even those for the face) might also be good. I think exfoliating is the main thing and that can be as little as a wash cloth. Maybe ground oatmeal in a little oil would work too.

  2. This could be one of those “100th monkey” things going on;
    just yesterday I bought a huge bottle of Dr Bronners (baby no scent – will use own oil scent).
    Had decided to reduce clutter and the fragrance in my dishwash was bothering me. Dr B (or other glycerine) will deal with all my household needs.

  3. Correction:
    I sent a comment about using glycerin soaps only and that I chose Dr Bronner brand and have realised it is a hemp oil base and I had confused glycerin with castile.

    The term castile applies to soap made from olive oil which includes glycerin in the soap, from its original town, Castile, in Spain. Purists say castile soap refers only to that which is made from Olive oil.

  4. This is very interesting. I used to get cracked heels rather often (especially in the summer when I wore flip flops, probably because of the shoe hitting the sole of my foot), but then I stopped using soap (except occasionally on my armpits), and stopped taking baths (just quick showers now), and my problem disappeared. My skin is still a little dry when it’s below zero out, but it’s nothing that would make me too uncomfortable, except for my hands, because I wash them with soap multiple times a day. I think I’ll stop doing that. I don’t think soap is as necessary as we make it out to be.

    1. Agreed. I do find castile soap doesn’t make my hands dry, but if I’m somewhere like a movie theatre where they only have awful soap, I just avoid it. (Gross or not, I don’t want skin like that).

    2. LOL – I’m glad to hear someone else the ~same opinion~ on almost all soaps that are provided in public places. The awful SOAPS are what’s gross. Water is an amazing solvent. –just sayin’

  5. I follow the strangest things on YouTube and lately I have been following people who make handmade soaps at home as a hobby and/or for their small homerun business. They all make their soaps from natural oils and they all do mailorder. The one Canadian one that springs to mind (who also has a ‘natural run’ which uses only essential oils and no perfume) is ‘Fille de la Mer’
    but there are loads out there.
    Real Black African Soap (not the fake stuff) is also made with natural oils and fats and no perfumes or chemicals.. a quick google for ‘real african black soap canada’ gives me this link:
    but again, there’s more Out There.
    Perfect stocking fillers, lol. Have fun shopping!

  6. I’m shampoo-, showergel-, deodorant- and soapfree for about 2 years now. I wash my hair with coconut oil and the rest of my body with baking soda.
    I only use diluted Marseille Soap to wash my hands with. That’s all. I have better skin, thicker and easier hair than before (before I always had very dry hair after I washed it) and crazy as it sounds… I don’t smell!

    1. I want to try this! I am curious to see if the coconut oil will work for me with my hair- it’s super dry and frizzy even with expensive shampoos/conditioners. I have been deodorant free for over a year now. I use apple cidar vinegar. I am a runner, and I don’t smell like I used to after a run with commercial deodorant.

    2. How does washing one’s hair with coconut oil work; doers the hair just end up limp and heavy and greasy looking?! Thanks.

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