I was complaining to a friend that I couldn't find any of those Asian peel-off masks for feet in any store in Germany. She reminded me that I could probably make my own. So I did. After a couple of experiments I'm ready to present a small tutorial.
I feel that scrubbing and scraping cracked heels with all those scrubbing devices doesn't really help in the long terms because it leaves the skin rough. Skin on the feet has all these layers and when they are unevenly sanded down they continue peeling and cracking. Chemical exfoliants make the skin peel of layer per layer, this leaves behind smooth skin that is not prone to further cracking.
Do not use hydroxy acids on heels that are so cracked that wounds appear. Also, be very careful and don't get them on the skin on your face, hands, your eyes. The skin around the heels is very thick and tough, the skin on the rest of your body is not.
DIY Foot Peel Tutorial:I tried out both alpha and beta hydroxy acids and I found that they work very differently on the feet.
AHA feet mask for mildly dried heelsOn heels that are lightly damaged you can just apply straight-up AHA. I used lactic acid which I happened to have and applied it undiluted with a cotton pad on my heels. The result is quite gentle and you get nicely smooth heels. However if you are at the hoof stage, you will not notice much of a difference.
BHA feet mask for moderately cracked heelsIf your heels are in worse shape like mine were, you need to get out the heavy guns. After reading a lot about it I decided to start with 30% strength Salicylic Acid just on the heels. This means you use 30% Salicylic acid and 70% somethings else -- I used isopropyl alcohol because SA doesn't dissolve well in water. It dissolves really well in Ethanol, but I didn't have any.
If you want to use the mixture on your entire foot I'd recommend making two batches -- one 30% or more for the heels, and 10% or less for the rest of the foot.
Well, the Salicylic acid didn't dissolve too well in alcohol either, so I applied the paste on my entire heel area and hoped for the best. I waited for it to dry and put on socks over it. The peeling started after two days and went on for a couple more. In the end I got smooth baby skin.
After this I used AHA once a week to prevent the thick skin from building up.
Urea is another product used in heel masks, as it works very similarly to hydroxy acids. I'd suggest starting with 15% Urea and 85% water or alcohol (for example 15ml Urea and 85ml water).
Do let me know if you try this method. If you use ready-made baby foot masks, which one is your favourite?
Photo credit: Juja Han