Few things will ruin a gorgeous pair of strappy sandals as quickly as unsightly cracked heels. Elizabeth Hurley was vilified in the fashion press when she sported the ailment a few years ago and, aside from looking rather unattractive, they can also be quite painful. If left untreated they can actually split and bleed which can be agony to walk on.
Cracked heels are caused by “inflexible skin being put under pressure,” according to Scholl. The inflexible skin can be caused by either “thick hard skin around the heels” or “dehydrated skin around the heels” caused by things like the weather, wearing open shoes, your natural skin type or your age. Meanwhile the pressure on the heel is caused by everything you would expect – walking or standing for long periods and a lack of support around the heel area from open backed footwear, with obesity or pregnancy having the potential to increase that pressure.
Obviously Scholl know their stuff as they have been promoting foot health for over 100 years and remain the best-known brand for people suffering from anything from a corn or athletes’ foot to a fungal nail infection and everything in between. Obviously they also have a cream to treat cracked heels. However they now face competition from none other than Compeed.
You may know Compeed best for their blister plasters (which have saved my poor feet additional agony on more than one occasion) but they now also manufacture a cracked heel cream as well as bunion and corn remedies.
As someone who has always turned to Scholl products to deal with any foot-related problems, I was curious to see how this measured up. With that in mind, when I came under attack from the dreaded cracked heel myself (a pretty mild case but prevention is better than cure) I decided to try both and compare the results. Two feet – two creams. One on each foot. I have to admit that it was a pretty close call but there was a winner. Here are the results.
This promises visible results after just one overnight application and while there was definitely an improvement in my heel I expected a bit more. Undeterred I applied it again the next morning after my shower and went about my business. By that evening I could see that my heel was definitely a lot better and I went through the overnight application motions again. By day two there was a significant improvement in my heel and by the third day it was cleared up completely, although I continued to use it until the tube was gone to prevent a recurrence.
After applying this overnight, the results were far more immediate than the Compeed cream. My heel was much better and I actually thought about not applying it for the daytime but in the spirit of the experiment, I did. This claims to repair the problem over seven days with visible results in three; however I was hugely impressed with the results after just one day. I reapplied it that night and the next day there wasn’t any additional improvement that I could see – although it wasn’t any worse. By the third day my heel looked fine but still felt a bit rough in a couple of areas. This could possibly be because I had a slight injury on the base of my foot so I may have been adjusting my weight differently on my left side to my right side but I was still surprised by this.
Overall verdict: Both do what they say on the tin and work quickly to clear the problem. The Compeed pipped the Scholl at the post as my right heel was perfectly smooth and crack-free after using this, whereas my left heel was still slightly rough (although this did clear up over the next couple of days). As I said, this could be because of an injury and honestly either of these products will do the job – it’s just a matter of personal preference. If your heels are cracked to the point of bleeding however it is best to ask your doctor’s advice as it is not advisable to apply these formulations in this situation.