Your skin care routine may top your list of “to-do’s” at home. But what about your footcare regimen? You may not realize it, but the thick skin on the base of your feet and the palms of your hands could be ultra-smooth, and even touchably soft. However, most people struggle to simply maintain the essential moisture of the skin on their hands and feet, especially during the cold winter months.

If you want to transform your cracked, dry heels with soft, smooth, youthful-looking feet– you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from severely dry foot skin, hardened callouses, and even deep heel fissures that can cause pain and even bleeding. But it doesn’t have to continue.

Here are five essential foot care tips to keep your feet soft and smooth:

1. Soak it Up

Keeping the skin on your feet clean and dry is one of the best ways to avoid common fungal infections like Athlete’s foot. Dry, peeling, and cracked skin on your feet is the number one cause of these types of infections, so if you suffer from dry foot skin, soak your tootsies in a relaxing, lukewarm footbath at night. This way, you can moisturize the skin of your feet, while also soothing painful flaking or peeling. Reduce the risk of infections by adding a few drops of tea tree oil into the water. Sit back and let the water and oils penetrate between toes and under toenails, where bacterial and fungal infections start.

Here is a basic foot soak recipe: ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup Epsom salts, 10-15 drops of Tea Tree oil to a large pot of lukewarm water. Dip feet in. Relax!

foot care | Footmedix

2. Dry Out

It may seem strange to keep dehydrated feet dry during the day. However, if your skin has gotten so dry that you are noticing calloused cracks and even deep heel fissures, you’ll need to keep your feet dry in closed-toed shoes.

During the day, dampness inside your footwear can create the perfect environment for bacteria and funguses to thrive. Avoid the growth of these pathogens by adding an absorbent foot powder to your shoes. If necessary, also bring an extra pair of clean socks to your office for a quick lunchtime change.

3. Remove Callouses

When dry skin turns into hardened callouses, and even begins to crack, leaving you with deep heel fissures, you may notice jagged skin. These areas must be removed and resurfaced in order to speed up the healing process and prepare the skin for moisturizers. Smooth away jagged skin around heel cracks and calluses with a pumice stone, or a natural loofa. Remember to be gentle, even on these hardened areas, as to not worsen dry skin.

foot care | Footmedix

4. Moisturize With Oils

Topical skin lotions that you can find at a drugstore may not be powerful enough to restore the dry skin of your feet. After all, the skin on your feet is different from the skin on your eyelids, or even your legs. Rehydrate dry skin in tough areas like the palms of your hands and soles of your feet with a nutrient-dense oil. Some of the best oils to restore dry feet include olive oil, jojoba seed oil, and avocado oil.

5. Get Great Footwear

Dry skin can worsen quickly in the wrong shoes. And most people don’t even realize that the shoes they are wearing are too small. If you have not yet gotten a professional shoe fitting – now is the time. Wearing tight shoes while you have dry skin on your feet can cause infections, sores, and even cracking in areas where skin is driest. Don’t underestimate the ability of great footwear to lessen wear and tear on the soft tissues, small bones, and delicate ligaments of your healthy feet.

Ignoring dry foot skin is the fastest way to worsen the peeling, cracking, and callusing that oftentimes accompanies seasonal changes in the weather. If you suffer from painful consequences of dry skin on the feet, including bacterial or fungal infections, corns, cracking, foul foot odor, and deep fissures, follow these five essential foot care tips – so you can have touchably soft feet you can be proud of.

For more foot health tips, keep reading here:

5 Signs You’re Wearing Shoes Too Small

3 Flat Feet Exercises (that really help strengthen arches!)