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Cracked Heels Treatment that Works!

Are cracked, tender heels a problem for you or someone you love? Here are a few quick tips that I have successfully used when I was a caregiver for my mother and others that prevented or treated the cracked skin on their heels. The cracked, dried skin took time to develop and it will take diligent discipline to nourish the heel skin back to supple health.

If the cracks on the heel have bled or are tender, the priority must be to help them heal. If there is an infection or irritated fissure (broken, open wrinkle in the skin) or the person has medical conditions like Diabetes (which may slow healing on the hands and feet), please consult your medical professional first. Follow their instructions to healing this issue.

Once you have determined the area is not infected or has healed per your doctor’s instruction, you can start practicing better habits to keep the skin on your heels healthy. Read the labels on your products to avoid any allergens, gluten or any questionable ingredients. Clean the feet with a gentle, non-drying cleanser. Then place the feet in a tub to soak in a gentle, non-detergent bath with Epsom salts, essential oils and bath oil.  This will soften and nurture the skin. We have had excellent results adding melaleuca or lavender oil well dispersed in the water. Using a foot bathe with vibration or ability to bubble keeps the water blended. You want to monitor** that the essential oils do not collect around the ankles.

**Before using essential oils, learn basic safety and be aware of precautions. Do not use essential oils (EO’s) on babies, children, pregnant women or anyone with allergies before reading up on how to safely use them. Essential oils are the medicine that has been used for centuries. It is a gift to be used responsibly. I recommend AromaWeb.com as a resource (they do not sell essential oils) for general safety, EO constituents and useful recipes.

Melaleuca oil (also called tea tree oil) is a natural anti-inflammatory with antibacterial, antifungal qualities. It is also a natural antihistamine to reduce any swelling and redness. Apply the melaleuca oil or other EO of your choice then apply a protecting lotion/cream/oil over the EO to the areas of the foot needing healing. Cover the foot with a white sock (some prefer non-bleached or non-dyed sock.) Apply the EO and oil…or learn to make it into a balm or ointment for simplicity!) twice daily to speed healing.

Once any cracks or irritated areas have healed, we can now work to improve the skin tissue of the heel. Soak the feet in a tub with a soothing non-detergent bath oil – add essential oils  (Melaleuca, Lavender, Marjoram, Thyme are great ones to try!) and Epsom salts for added benefit. Once the skin has softened, follow the directions below the picture to gently exfoliate the heel using a pedicure paddle. Our favorite is Swedish Clover Föt File imported by Flowery.0 20150401_140848This paddle has a coarser side (raised nubs on handle) and a smoothing side (horizontal lines on handle). Depending on the thickness of the skin (as we mature our skin thins so be precise – stay on the thick bottom skin of the foot – usually has a yellowish tint.) Do not use this paddle on someone with diabetes or other medical condition without consulting their doctor first!

For most people, you can start with the coarser side to gently rub the thick skin of the heel (some have this this thick skin on the ball of the foot and big toe) to smooth, soften this heavy pad – when it is very thick, it wants to crack. By reducing the thickness, the skin is able to be more pliable. Be sure to stay on the thick padded parts of the heel, ball of foot or big toe at all times. Focus on the areas that want to crack.

Most common mistake people make using a foot file is removing too many layers of skin. You can always buff a bit more the next day or week. But if you remove too much, it can cause discomfort. Your body built this callous for protection. Usually to cushion a bone that is pushing against the shoe. Start by just a few swipes of the coarser side to soften. The 2nd most common mistake is many people forget to then go back and polish this skin smooth with the finer side of the paddle. If you skip this second step, your body may perceive the swipes from the coarser side as an injury and double it’s effort to replace the skin cells removed. So it is very important that this is always a two step process. Sand a few times, then smooth the skin. I keep my paddle on a suction cup hook in the shower so I remember to use once a week or so for maintenance. For those with very little callous, you may only need to use the smooth side of the foot paddle.

Rinse the feet. While skin is till moist apply your essential oils, ointment or heavy skin oil to the spots that tend to crack. Then massage the whole foot with lotion/cream. Depending on the lotion/cream you use, an all-over application of skin oil (coconut, almond or even olive oils works) may be required to prevent moisture loss. This will help the skin heal and regain its pliable, healthy state.

Application of the products after every bath and shower is suggested to retain the moisture in the skin to eliminate cracked heels forever.

Wash and disinfect the foot file between uses for same person. Washable/sanitizable nail files, cuticle pushers, nail clippers and foot files are personal care items one should not share. I have worked with families that have had a hard time eliminating athlete’s foot…..and it many times was due to the common use of same toenail clippers by all family members. Life gets busy and even though most of the people were diligent in their cleaning of the tools after use – there are so many nooks and crannies on the clippers and foot file that I recommend everyone have their own kit. These are inexpensive items to have a set for each person.

When choosing tools for personal care, I encourage you to use materials that can be reliably cleaned (sanitized) and disinfected. (For definitions of these terms go to my article “The Hand Towel Did It” dated 6.30.2019.) Metal, plastic and glass can be cleaned effectively. Items that cannot be sanitized properly are loofahs, sponge, natural sponge, pumice stones or natural wood. These are porous surfaces that over time may encourage growth of microorganisms that could cross contaminate (spread the germs growing on it to) your skin.

If you found this helpful, let us know. Reminder, if you have any medical condition – consult your doctor before trying any of our suggested treatments. These are cosmetic, skin quality suggestions only. In this article, we are sharing over three decades of success/experience as a cosmetologist/esthetician. Visit us on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert), send us an email at liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

So what’s really in those every day products?

Talk about education – these last 3 years I have learned so much about what is in our everyday products and the possible repercussions. I was a single mom for twenty years and sometimes it was hard to afford what I thought were the “finest” baby products but did my best to care for my son. How disappointing to find out years later that the name brand baby products had contained quaternium 15…a preservative that is a formaldehyde releaser. This preservative does an excellent job preserving products for long periods of time which is important because large quantities of these types of personal care & cleaning products are manufactured and bottled – sometimes outside of the USA – then they sit in a warehouse for months, maybe years before they ever see a store shelf. Formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen per the EPA. Unfortunately, many of us may have been regularly dosed with formaldehyde during our lifetime. First when we are young with the baby products, then continued since many brands of toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, body wash, body lotion, skin treatments, hair shampoo, hair gels, fragrance, laundry and cleaning products may contain formaldehyde as the preservative.

Are you dosing your baby and family with unknowns? Life is busy and for many this just doesn’t seem like a “too” important issue. And for some, it may never impact your life. Your health may always be “good” enough that you don’t realize how much better you might feel every day if you rid yourself of things that irritate or sensitize you. Many people I work with who have sensitivities, auto-immune disease, or allergies – they know that in addition to formaldehyde there are possible irritants, sensitizers and toxins in some of the products in the grocery store. They have learned to read labels and know what to avoid. Your skin is your largest organ and it is very effective at absorbing what is placed on it or is in the air around it.

It is disturbing when I meet with moms and they share that they know they should be concerned about what is in the products they bring into their home for their family but it just doesn’t worry them at the moment. So tragic when they contact me months or years later when a family member is diagnosed with allergies, skin issues, autoimmune disease or even cancer. Priorities change real quick then.

It’s even more challenging when I meet pregnant moms who are very careful about what they put in their mouths. But unreceptive to thinking about the everyday products they are using and the possible impact that these products just like food may be having on their unborn baby.

So please, think just for a moment – have you looked at the ingredient label on the products you use?  You do have options…and believe it or not, some of these options may not only bring you peace of mind, they may save you money and time.

If you found this helpful, please let us know. Send us an email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Tips for a Gluten & Allergy Free Trade Show

Life has been a whirlwind of meeting new people, savoring time with friends, sharing valuable information and tools! Spent this last weekend in Atlanta with our friends, the Domanicos, while attending the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo at the Cobb Galleria. I love these events – I always come away with lots of new knowledge plus contentment knowing I have served people by helping them connect with valuable and money-saving resources!

The next GFAF Expo will be in Schaumburg Illinois – my stomping grounds. Excited to “host” many VIP’s to the area that have become friends and associates over the last year since I started attending these events. Here’s my list of Tips for Successfully Attending a Gluten & Allergy Free Trade Show:

value-of-tradeshows

  1. Wear layers of comfortable clothing. Temperatures can run the gamut – some places are hot outside and inside – so have layers that you can easily remove and stow in a tote. Even when it is cold outside, it can be brutally warm inside. I found this true when I was in Texas a few months ago. They are not used to cold or icy weather, so the heat in the hall was high to accommodate the locals but about boiled this Chicago, menopausal girl! Then half way through the show, the hall became cold since many complained about the heat and I had to go find a jacket…. The reverse can be true – brutal hot outside and a refrigerator in the hall inside… so be prepared by wearing layers.
  2. Comfy, supportive shoes ideally with a sock or liner to protect skin – an emphasis on supportive – you have only two feet to make it through your whole life. Take care of them with shoes that are not only comfortable but have support built in to preserve the integrity and health of your foot. Socks prevent blisters and uncomfortable chafing. I have learned that when I have to stand or walk for long periods it helps to have a second pair of shoes to change into. I know this sounds like a pain but when my feet hurt, I hurt all over!
  3. You need high protein snacks and a baggie of veggies/fruit. There are usually lots of carbs to taste at the gluten and allergy free expos so your body will be craving protein and natural fibers for balance;-) Bringing a water bottle you can refill is a good idea. Most of the trade shows I have attended have limited if any access to a snack bar or concessions.
  4. Be prepared to wait in lines – I encourage you to bring and use your strollers, wheel chair, walker or cane-seat.
  5. You will have the opportunity to purchase “deals” from some of the vendors and many give out samples, coupons, magazines, etc. Bring a couple reusable tote bags that you can pull out as you accumulate goodies. Some who have challenges carrying may want to bring a rolling bag or suitcase to stow things instead of lugging them around on your shoulder.
  6. If you are local and can carry a lot of things home, plan to be at the expo at the end of the last day and have bags to fill. Many vendors choose to give away display product rather than pack and ship back home.
  7. Attend the speakers’ presentations. You will learn so much from those who have traveled the path you are on – useful information for your journey or valuable information to share with someone you care about. Plus you get to know the speaker/author/blogger and will find the ones you want to sign up for their emails/online events or purchase their books.
  8. Be considerate of those with fragrance sensitivities. Many who attend have severe allergies and your favorite perfume or bath spray could ruin their whole day or week.
  9. Really VISIT each booth and talk to the people that are there. Many have a story to share that may help you along your path. Some booths are there just to “sell” or may have “hired” help with no knowledge of our industry….but if you take the time (and full advantage of your ticket price) to look each person you meet in the eye, most of the people that have traveled to this conference have a lot to offer you and you will be much richer for taking the time to find it…and have many more friends/resources to reach out to when you have questions or need help.
  10. Get on the email lists for the people and events that resonate with you. Most will have valuable resources that they continue to share throughout the year. Plus savings for the next time the conference returns to town.

If you found this helpful, please let me know. Send me an email to Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!