Soothing DIY Salve for Cracked Heels

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » Soothing DIY Salve for Cracked Heels

When I married my husband, he had horribly cracked heels. Apparently, he’d had these most of his life, but as we learned more about natural living, I set out to find natural remedies for it. In the summertime especially, when feet are more exposed (hopefully barefoot or in minimalist shoes), cracked heels can be a problem.

Beyond appearance, cracked heels can be really uncomfortable and can mean anything from minor discomfort to pain and bleeding. My husband and I met walking across the country (true story!) and cracked heels (let alone blisters, shin splints, and other ailments) were our constant companions, so we have a little experience with this.

Why Do I Have Cracked Heels?

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, especially omega-3 or zinc deficiency

It’s not something we think about every day, but feet do need special care just like other parts of our body… if not more, because they work harder!

Let’s see how to size up the situation.

Cracked Heels: The Cure Fits the Cause

Since cracked heels have a variety of causes, it is important to find the root of the problem.

The condition of skin often reflects internal health (or problems). Deficiencies of zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 can contribute to chronically cracked heels. I’ve seen this condition improve with dietary changes, such as adding fat-soluble vitamins and getting gelatin in the diet.

Personally, we take omega-3 supplements 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.

Externally, cracked heel causes can include skin conditions or fungal infections. Often these can be helped with regular detoxifying foot soaks or a concentrated salve.

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.

Cracked Heel Remedy #1: Diet

  • Consume enough zinc, magnesium, and omega-3s in food or supplement form
  • Consume gelatin and vitamin C (which increases skin elasticity) to help reduce cracking
  • Optimize fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin K (found in grass-fed butter or supplements)
  • Consume foods like bone broth and organ meats
  • Drink more water and increase intake of trace minerals

Cracked Heel Remedy #2: A Little TLC

The Recipe: DIY Foot Salve for Cracked Heels



  1. Pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water into the magnesium flakes in a small container and stir until dissolved. This will create a thick liquid. Set aside to cool.
  2. Set a quart-size mason jar inside a small pan with 1 inch of water. Add the coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter to the jar. Melt slowly over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. When melted, remove the jar from the pan and let the mixture cool until room temperature and slightly opaque. At this point, put into 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 to blend. Continue 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 best consistency (and a cooling lotion feel), or at room temperature for up to two months.

To Use:

Apply the salve to cracked heels at night.

For best results, a few steps are needed:

  • Exfoliate feet while dry, using the pumice or Ped Egg.
  • Do a detoxifying foot soak. Let skin dry fully.
  • Apply a thick coat of salve. Wear socks to bed to keep salve where it’s needed (and to keep sheets clean).
  • 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.

That’s it! Show your nails some TLC and you have a pair of beautiful and healthy feet ready for summer!

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.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


112 responses to “Soothing DIY Salve for Cracked Heels”

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

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

      1. Shelle Avatar

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

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

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

  1. Annie Avatar

    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!

    1. Jon O Avatar

      I have ugly cracked heels. Can’t stand it. I will try this. Thanks.

  2. Elizabeth Avatar

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

  3. Joan Avatar

    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?

    1. Brooke Avatar

      I wondered about this, too. Using water to dissolve the magnesium flakes, wouldn’t this salve need a preservative?

  4. Stephanie Avatar

    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.

    1. Veronica Avatar

      I use a pumice stone when showering daily. Then apply aveeno with a bit of lavender oil – it has really worked for me. If I need intense hydration- at night- I use aquapor then put some socks on…. it does wonders!

  5. Maddy Avatar

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

  6. faren Avatar

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

  7. Nancy Avatar

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

  8. Jp Avatar

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

  9. Tamia Angelie Drayton Avatar
    Tamia Angelie Drayton

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

    1. Marguerite Avatar

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

    1. Jo Jolliffe Avatar
      Jo Jolliffe

      In the essential oil the main constituents of oregano are the phenols; carvacrol and thymol which can irritate mucous membranes so it is best to avoid direct contact during pregnancy and also with children.

  10. Elizabeth Bray Avatar
    Elizabeth Bray

    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 ??

    1. Lisa Avatar

      I think not. We removed our carpeting and replaced with wood floors and my heels are cracked more than ever. I love running around the house barefoot but tile & wood are hard on my feet and my back.

  11. Lee Avatar

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

  12. Joyce Avatar

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

  13. Erin Avatar

    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.

  14. Mia Avatar

    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.

  15. Carol Avatar

    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.

  16. Kate Herty Avatar
    Kate Herty

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

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