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. Barbara Avatar

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

  2. Morgan Avatar

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

  3. Carolyn Avatar

    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.

  4. Marie Edwards Avatar
    Marie Edwards

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

  5. amanda Avatar

    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?

      1. Jennifer Avatar

        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.

  6. Emily Thomas Avatar
    Emily Thomas

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

  7. Anna Avatar

    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…?

    1. Brandi Avatar

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

  8. Laura Avatar

    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.

    1. Natalie Oliver Avatar
      Natalie Oliver

      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…

    2. Gina Avatar

      I don’t believe she is overthinking it at all. Mine were a result of diet and nutrient deficiency. Simply soaking and using cream wouldn’t cut it for me. I learned that I am positive for Celiac and adjusting my diet and adding the right supplements have made all the difference for me and my overall health.

  9. Sarah Avatar

    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!

  10. Farah Avatar

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

  11. tessa Avatar

    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!!!

  12. Elizabeth Avatar

    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.

    1. AmyW Avatar

      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).

  13. Marie Avatar

    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!!!!

  14. Pooja Avatar

    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?

  15. jessica Avatar

    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.

  16. Bryan Avatar

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



  17. Tammy Avatar

    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.


    1. Anna Avatar

      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!!


      1. Anna Avatar

        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.

  18. Erika Avatar

    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.

  19. Julie Avatar

    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.

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