Like many readers, my skin tends to be dry, prone to particularly rough patches on the knees, elbows and feet. Exfoliating scrubs and moisturizers usually do the trick, but during extreme weather (hot summers, cold winters), I need to be extra diligent.

If I fail to exfoliate at least three times a week, my feet start to look scary, with flaky skin and callus buildup. If I postpone my foot-care regimen, the skin on my heels may actually crack—a painful, not to mention unsightly, condition podiatrists call “heel fissures.”

If you have the same problem, you don’t need to resort to harsh chemicals that are anathema to organic living. In Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living, Annie Berthold-Bond offers some kitchen-sink cures.

To soften dry skin, soak your feet in a footbath filled with 1 gallon of warm water mixed with your choice of the following:

  • 1–2 cups buttermilk
  • 1–2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1–2 cups lemon juice

Each of these ingredients is rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, notes Berthold-Bond, a leading authority on environmentally safe alternatives. They help remove dead skin cells.

After you’ve soaked, discard the footbath contents and use a pumice stone to exfoliate. Concentrate on extra-dry areas like heels. As Berthold-Bond writes, “Pumice stone is excellent for exfoliating because it is soft and abrasive; it has been used to rub off dead skin for centuries.”

Finally, apply your favorite heavy-duty organic moisturizer—preferably one that contains shea butter.
Repeat this procedure as often as necessary, and your feet will become much healthier—and happier.

Be sure to check out our previously published do-it-yourself spa recipes: