DIY Salve for Cracked Heels

DIY Salve for Cracked Heels

I had a reader email to ask about natural remedies for cracked heels. Cracked heels can cause problems that range from minor discomfort to pain and bleeding. My husband and I met walking across the country and cracked heels were pretty common.

Cracked heels can be the result of several things:

  • the way a person walks
  • poor circulation
  • a skin problem like eczema or psoriasis
  • fungal infection
  • nutritional deficiencies

Finding the Cause

Since cracked heels can have a variety of causes, it is important to find the root of the problem. Often, I’ve seen cracked heels improve with dietary changes. Deficiencies of zinc, magnesium and omega-3 can contribute to cracked heels, and fat soluble vitamins and gelatin are also important.

Skin related problems and fungal infections can often be helped with regular detoxifying foot soaks and a homemade healing salve.

Personally, we take fermented cod liver oil daily and make it a point to consume wild-caught fish to maintain Omega-3 levels. Since zinc is important for men’s health, my husband also takes a zinc supplement regularly.

As a general rule, I suggest trying any remedy for at least a few weeks to see if it is working. For best results, try external and internal approaches at the same time.

Internal Remedies for Cracked Heels

  • Consuming enough Zinc, Magnesium and Omega-3s in food or supplement form
  • Consuming Gelatin and Vitamin C which increase skin elasticity and may help reduce cracking
  • Optimizing fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D (found in Fermented Cod Liver oil, supplements or from sun exposure) and Vitamin K (found in grass-fed butter or supplements). Consuming foods like bone broth and organ meats is also helpful.
  • Drinking enough water and consuming trace minerals

External Remedies for Cracked Heels

Cracked Heel Foot Salve Ingredients

What to Do:

  1. Pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water in to the magnesium flakes in a small container and stir until it dissolves. This will create a thick liquid. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a quart size mason jar inside a small pan with 1 inch of water, combine the coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter and turn on medium heat.
  3. When melted, remove the jar from the pan and let the mixture cool until room temp and slightly opaque. At this point, put in to a medium bowl or into a blender.
  4. If in a bowl, use a hand blender or immersion blender on medium speed and start blending the oil mixture.
  5. Slowly (starting with a drop at a time) add the dissolved magnesium mixture to the oil mixture while continuing blending until all of the magnesium mix is added and it is well-mixed.
  6. Add the oregano and peppermint essential oils if using and whip until combined.
  7. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes and re-blend to get body butter consistency.
  8. Store in fridge for a cooling lotion (best consistency) or at room temp for up to two months.
  9. Use on cracked heels at night. Apply a thick coat and wear socks until the salve absorbs. For best results, exfoliate feet with dry skin using the pumice or Ped Egg, then do a detoxifying foot soak, let dry and apply the salve. Repeat as needed until problem resolves.

Note: Do not use Oregano or Peppermint Essential Oils on children or while pregnant. As with any medical condition, check with a doctor if things don’t improve or if you have any specific concerns.

Do you have cracked heels? What natural remedies have you tried? Share below!

Cracked heels can be frustrating and painful. These homemade remedies like detoxifying foot soaks, supplements and DIY salve can help cracked heels.

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Reader Comments

  1. Was this walk CrossRoads by any chance? My husband has fond memories of walking barefoot across the country!

  2. In the past I did because of my diabetes. Regular exfoliation in the shower with a good pumice stone, and then moisturizing with coconut oil has done wonders for me.

  3. I always had cracked heels and have tried several things to help, but only one thing has brought lasting results: rubbing olive oil on my feet after every bath/shower. It is so simple, but it works for me. I have tried a few different types of oils, but each time my heels began to crack again, so I went back to olive oil. It takes a week or so of using it to see them heal again.

  4. My mother had lifelong cracks in her feet – deep ones (she has been walking at least five miles a day for 35 years and usually more like ten miles). When I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, she went gluten free with me as a support system. Not only did we discover that she was also gluten intolerant, with that one change, her heels immediately healed up and the cracks have not returned for three years.

  5. Been gluten free and paleo for almost 2 yrs; massaging magnesium body butter on feet before bed has cleared up the remaining dry skin!

  6. Can peppermint tincture be used instead of an essential oil in this salve, and in other recipes that call for EO?

  7. Some great tips, thanks for sharing.. I’ve heard that one of the reasons for cracked heels could be carpeted floors as well! Is that true ??

  8. why no oregano oil during pregnancy or for children?

  9. I am highly allergic to oregano. Can I substitute oregano oil with something else?

    • Lavender Oil I added it to a lotion for me feet and a week later dry skin and cracks were gone

  10. The tissue salt ‘calc fluor’ is great for cracked heels too. You can take tables, or add it to a cream.

  11. For 50years now. my mother has very serious and severe crack we have many ways yet the crack remains. what do i do?

  12. Im not a mom yet but I love your ideas! Especially the home made body creams ?

  13. Was wondering if it would it be possible to grind up a magnesium tablet to use instead of the flakes? Thank you! 🙂

  14. I made this cream this morning, and since my magnesium flakes were watery after I dissolved them I added more to make a paste. I would NOT recommend doing this! The salve was like packing salt into my sensitive cracked feet and it burned terribly. Since I did this right before leaving the house for work, I suffered through on the train ride. Now the salve has absorbed and it no longer burns, but my heels are red and raw. I am going to make an extra batch without the magnesium flakes and mix the two together in hopes of balancing out the mixture. Otherwise, it was a very creamy salve, similar to Bag Balm but a bit thicker.

  15. Would it work to dissolve the magnesium flakes directly into the oil? Eliminating the water would allow the salve to last indefinitely wouldn’t it?

  16. If I have magnesium powder (natural calm) can I use that instead of magnesium flakes for the recipes?

    • I don’t see why not… It will probably mix in very well. Let us know if you try it, and how it works out!

  17. I have experienced painful cracks and something that has really helped me is plain, white vinegar. Soak your feet in it (full-strength) for around 20 minutes once a week. This will help exfoliate all of the dead skin and has helped other healing salves work their magic. I have noticed a tremendous improvement from doing that once a week, so I wanted to share this with others in case it might help.

    Thanks Wellness Mama for all you do! You’re AWESOME!

  18. Why no Oregano or Peepermint Essential oil for the kiddos?

    • Oregano is just very powerful and can cause irritation. Peppermint is dangerous… It can cause sever breathing problems in very small children.

  19. Are magnesium flakes and epsom salt the same?

    • No… Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and magnesium flakes are magnesium chloride. Generally the magnesium chloride is more easily absorbed.

      • Could you use Epsom salts, though, in place of the magnesium flakes?

  20. Hello,

    Just wondering if you sell any of your DIY? 🙂

  21. I’ve had cracked heels since I was a teenager…over 40 years now. The remedy that works for me now: 1/4 cup coconut oil plus 20 drops oregano oil, applied twice daily. Now that they;’re no longer cracked, I still use the oil once a day.

  22. How do you measure the 3 tablespoon beeswax? It comes in small rods.
    The first time I made it I think I put too much. My cream is hard.
    Thank you for the good advises.

  23. Hi Katie, is this scoopable? Can I use Epsom salts instead of magnesium flakes? Or what else would u recommend? I live in Aust. and find I can’t find any magnesium flakes.


    • Hi Tammy

      I know it’s been ages since you posted this question, but I’m also in Aus and trying to find the ingredients for this. I found magnesium flakes on the Rejuve Health website. I haven’t bought them before, but I have purchased other things from their website without a hitch.

      If any others Aussies out there have tips for where to source shea butter and beeswax please let me know!!


      • This is me, replying to my own message, lol! Just wanted to update with sources of ingredients for other Aussies. I ended up getting magnesium flakes from I got shea butter from, and I got beeswax from a local market.

  24. Hello I had a question on your magnesium foot scrub. Could you substitute coconut oil for olive oil?



    • It would change the texture, but I think it would work…

    • I have rough places on my head. What kind of solution would help that?

  25. What age would you suggest is too young to use oil of oregano and peppermint? I have an 8 year old and a 3 year old. I’ve been using your sweet and salty spray gel on both for some time (which i scent with rosemary and peppermint) with no harmful affects. I also used undiluted oil of oregano on my 8 year old’s feet earlier this month when he started coughing and sneezing, which helped speed his recovery. I didn’t realize that these eo’s had potentially adverse reactions in children.

    • I’ve used it on ages 5-6+ diluted on the skin, and in hair, I’d feel more comfortable with it, but I usually avoid those in kids under 5-6.

  26. I tried making it too but I couldn’t get it to whisk properly. it didn’t get to a buttery consistency. I cant seem to attach a pic but it became really hard. Any idea what I did wrong?

  27. THANK YOU for all your insight. By far my favorite site. We have a small teaching farm for schools and rehab centers and have turned to making natural soaps and creams to subsidize costs for these programs.

    That said, I have read thru most of the comments, but I finally had to just ASK: would I just add beeswax to the mix (as in your lotion bars) to make this a solid? I am interested in packaging it in a deodorant tube for a no-fuss foot balm/bar…. Thank you!!!!

  28. As a professional manicurist, I would recommend NOT using a Ped Egg. The “cheese grater” type instruments will actually make cracked heels worse. They appear to work in the short term, but trust me, they do more harm than good in the long term as they tend to “rough up” the healthy tissue while removing dead skin. I recommend investing in a good quality foot file, such as the Flowery brand from Sally’s beauty supply, it will run you about $12, but will last quite a while. I also recommend using a callous softener after soaking in warm water with Epsom salts before filing. Hope these suggestions help.

    • I’ve stayed away from those graters for that reason. Seems like it would be very damaging. I get great results with just a pumice. May take several times to get all the hard calloused skin off, but I don’t mind doing it. My husband is diabetic and his heels have deep fissures in them right now. I made a homemade salve using 2 parts organic virgin Shea butter to one part organic virgin coconut oil. I added peppermint and lavender EOs. It has done wonders for his feet so far. And, boncuticle hands and cuticles are much softer (I rub this into his feet almost every night).

  29. All these recipes…no matter for which it is: they include, coconut oil, shea butter and besswax!!!

    I might just “create” my own overall beeswax recipe!!!

  30. Can you omit the magnesium oil if you want to use it more as a daily foot cream or to prevent dry feet ?

  31. Just made this today! My husband has deep cracks in his heels so I can’t wait to use it on his feet (he can’t wait either, obviously!). It’s super luxurious and easy to make. I can’t imagine how much I’d pay for something similar yet full of chemicals with names I can’t pronounce. Thanks for this recipe Katie!

  32. I think you are really overthinking this. Cracked heels are, in almost all cases, caused by dry skin. You hydrate the skin, they go away. Simple. My remedy for cracked heels:

    1) Soak feet in warm water. Just ordinary, plain old tap water, heated. Add a little soap if you like and give them a scrub.
    2)Exfoliate, with a pumice stone or just by rubbing with a towel, or however you like. (optional)
    3) Apply moisturizer. Whatever kind of moisturizer you happen to have. Wait for a couple minutes to let it soak in before you go on about your day.

    That’s all I have ever done for cracked heels and it works every time, the first time. And they don’t crack again for months, sometimes years. Last time they cracked was well over a year ago. They healed up in a few days, on their own. And I’m taking about deep cracks. Scary deep. Painful deep. Thought I was going to have to see my doctor deep. And I didn’t even so much as soak them, or put cream on them. I woke up one morning and they were healed.

    • I am looking for a natural (i.e non-toxic, chemical free, petrolatum free, PEG free) way to heal the deep, painful crack on my heel that I’ve had for 10 months. I have tried many drugstore lotions and heel balms and have had no consistent relief. My podiatrist gave me a 40% urea cream that I only want to use if I have to. So, I beg to differ that I’m over thinking this…

  33. I made this salve about a month ago and I love it! I keep it by the bed and put it on at night. I used the quantities in the recipe and I think this is going to last me months. I might consider making a half size batch next time.

    I have just today noticed that a liquid is separating out in the salve. It appears to just be water. Has anyone else experienced this?

    I just tried mixing it all again, but the water won’t re-incorporate. I tipped it out, and there must have been a couple of tablespoons full of water! I’m going to keep using it, but just thought I’d mention it. It’s starting to get warmer here in Australia, so perhaps that’s why…?

    • In this recipe you are mixing oil and water without an emulsifier, so separation at some point is not unexpected.

  34. Where did you get the container in this picture?

  35. My coworkers have cracked hands, would this recipe be appropriate for that as well? Thanks!

  36. I am approaching my due date, and have really been looking forward to making more of this, as it works so well for me and my husband. However, now I am wondering if I can use it while nursing? Do I need to wait because of the oregano oil until after the baby is weened?

    • If you are making a new batch, you can sub lavender in place of the oregano to use while nursing.

      • Why do you insist on no oregano during pregnancy and nursing and children? That is the English thinking and teaching and not the medicinal French teaching (much older and sound evidence based teaching of oils)
        If it wasn’t for oregano I would have been much more sick during this pregnancy and my daughter (2) would not have gotten over her cold. As long as it is a high quality oil and not some cheap otc version then there is no risk to anyone.

  37. I am looking for a lotion or cream recipe especially good for diabetics. Does anyone have one? So greatly appreciated.

  38. I have used Vicks salve to heal cracked or rough heels/feet. I truly works. Rub the salve on the feet and you will see a difference after just two or three times. After a week or two, my feet are as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

  39. Hi, I was wondering if I can use something else other then coconut oil? I am allergic to it.

  40. I just wash my foot well, then apply good old Neospirin. Simple and effective, and I always have several tubes around the house.

  41. I can’t find magnesium flakes or premade, can you tell me where you get them?

  42. The tap water from our shower is probably the main cause, and I used to use petroleum jelly before I became more health consensus about ingredients. Now, organic castor oil rubbed on around the foot, and practically to the ankle after a shower works well just before retiring for the night. Those soft fuzzy socks cover up and will protect the castor oil from spreading on the sheets. Often I add a few drops of organic peppermint essential oil, or organic lavender essential oil to relieve stress and sweeten the aroma to compensate for the thick castor oil, works exceptionally well. The only drawback is that a treatment of once a week may be required.