‘I’m a Dermatologist, and This Is the #1 Hygiene Hack I Give My Patients With Super Dry, Cracked Feet’

Photo: Getty Images/ Prostock-Studio
There's a reason why slugging—aka the practice of slathering your skin in a thick occlusive as the last step in your nighttime skin-care routine—has re-entered the beauty conversation now that temps are hovering near freezing in many parts of the country. By creating a sort of seal on the surface of your skin, slugging locks in moisture and allows the rest of your products .. which is exactly what we need during these dry winter months. On TikTok, you've likely seen people slugging their faces, their nails, and even their hair, but according to Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist whose best known on social media as @DermGuru, if you're not doing it to your feet, you're seriously missing out.

"I'm a dermatologist, and this is the number-one hygiene hack I give my patients with super dry, cracked feet," she said of foot slugging in a recent Instagram post. "I promise you this is going to work—it works on almost all my patients."

According to Dr. Zubritsky, you'll want to start the foot-slugging process by soaking your feet in water for five to 10 minutes, "until they're nice and soft," she says. If your feet are really dry and cracked, you can treat them with a chemical exfoliant—like lactic acid, glycolic acid, or urea—to get rid of any dead skin, but if you're dealing with run-of-the-mill dryness, you can skip this step and move straight from the soaking to the slugging.

"Then you’re going to coat those bad boys in the thickest ointment that you have—AKA your Vaseline—and really lube up [your feet]," says Dr. Zubritsky. From there, you'll want to grab two pairs of cotton socks so that you have one pair for each foot. "One of the socks [on each foot] should be damp, the other one should be dry," says Dr. Zubritsky. "Put the damp sock on first, then cover it with a dry sock. This is called the 'Soak and Smear' method." Your best bet is to do all of this at night before bed—that way, you can fall asleep with your feet slathered and wrapped and wake up with baby-smooth tootsies by morning.

As NYC-based podiatrist Suzanne Levine, DPM, previously told us, "You have to treat your feet like you treat your face." This feels like an A+ way to do exactly that all winter long.

Another way to deal with dry, cracked feet? The fan-favorite Babyfoot Peel ($25). Watch it in action below. 

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