Home Treatments for Pitted Keratolysis

There are many pitted keratolysis home treatments that can be utilized to prevent this infection from occurring or reoccurring. Some proactive measures one can take include: * Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes more than two days in a row, and allow shoes to dry out for at least 24 hours before wearing them again * Clean the feet with antibacterial soap or an antiseptic wash on a daily basis * Use a hair dryer to dry the feet after bathing or showering * Apply antiperspirant to the soles of the feet every day * Avoid tight, non-ventilated footwear * Wear cotton socks for their added absorbency, and change them often * Athletes should always change into clean, dry socks after a strenuous work out * Always wear socks with your shoes.  

Cool and Dry

As discussed above, the most effective method of avoiding the inconvenience and embarrassment of pitted keratolysis is by keeping the potentially affected areas clean, cool, and dry. The bacteria that cause this infection thrive in warm and moist environments, so it is imperative to deny them a welcoming breeding ground. With just a few minor steps, the chances of contracting pitting keratolysis can be greatly reduced.  

Do you have any further suggestions? Let us know in the comments!


- Comments -

  • Romani

    Bathe feet in tea tree oil (diluted) once a day

    • admin

      What ratio of tea tree oil and water seemed to work best? And roughly how long should you bathe the feet each time? Thanks for the tip!

      • Romani

        I don’t know really, I kind of just measured by eye. shallow bath just enough to cover the infected area, with probably about 15 – 20 drops of tea tree oil. keep them submerged for about 5 – 10 minutes, once or twice a day depending on the severity of the bacteria growth, my case was pretty mild.. I’m no doctor but this is just experimentation that seemed to work

        • Miss Chief

          I used 5 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil with 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (to help with the smell), in a bowl of hot water (enough to completely cover both feet) and soaked them in it for 15 minutes at the end of each day. This cleared it up within a week and it hasn’t come back 🙂

  • Kat

    When the symptom of odour presents, I soak feet and use a pumice stone to remove the pits in the affected areas. Works a charm!

  • OuCHIez

    I bought trader joe’s tea tree oil facial wash and it works REALLY good along with exfoliating with a pumice stone. After I put some Aloe Vera gel (the strongest I can find, with aloe vera as the 1st ingredient : aloe life from whole foods is the best, but fruit of the earth is also good and available at k mart for less expensive, if you grow your own aloe vera even better!). As I was reading this, it made me want to add benzol peroxide to my routine, does anyone know a good brand or where I can get some?? I have had a problem with PK for a while and it never fully goes away, however if I stick to this routine without getting lazy and keeping my feet clean and dry it works great (until the rainy season comes along). I think i need the help of a doctor and maybe it will go away completely….. I can keep it under control but it always comes back!! So frustrating!!

    • missymoto

      I have had it recurr many times. I tried everything including Tea Tree oil massaged with Epsom salts, it just masks the bacteria. I end up by going back to my Derm. and he prescribes Clindasol (acne topical) and I use Drysol (roll on Antipersperant) on my feet. It works. I now have a standing prescription for the Clindasol. Dry feet are very important, if you have sweaty feet it will recur, that is why I use the Drysol.

  • Shawn

    I’m in the military and I’m in boots all day. Plus I’m in training to be an rescue swimmer. My feet are wet most of the day if they are sweating from working out. Any suggestion on what I might be able to do to treat the pitted monster?? Lol

    • Talk to your Podiatrist. I know there are Podiatrists in every branch of the military.

    • Ruz

      Colliodal Silver 😉

      • Ava McI

        Ok I was wondering about this…my friend suggests it for everything! What do you do, soak you foot in the silver solution? How long?

    • Brian Harris

      Baking soda, about a teaspoon in each sock and spray down your feet with hydrogen peroxide before you put the socks on. do that every morning. The soda makes the ph too caustic for the bacteria and makes all the dead skin peel off after a few days. Just don’t pick at the peeling skin, scrape at it in the shower when soft. You will have baking soda crystallize on the outside of your shoes after a few days.

      • Harrison

        Dont use the baking soda w leather. Ruined a pair of docs like this

  • Bob

    For a possible cure (worked for me!) pls see my post on the ‘Treatment’ page. I had this for 20+years and got it cleared up in 30 days so want to spread the word to alleviate the suffering of others as I know how embarrassing/ bothersome PK is.

  • brian

    Ive used face cleaning pads like oxy pads on my feet before…its not as good as the prescription but if you do it 2-3 times a day it def makes a difference although ive never used them long or often enough to see it clear up. It def works.

  • Contagiosa????

  • Mel

    Hi guys! Want to share my story for all my fellow Aussie sufferers! So after I discovered the pits in my feet, naturally I googled it, im not sure if I caught it out early or was just lucky enough to have a mild case because I had the sore feet around the affected areas, burning sensation and the pits, but no smell thank god! I came across this site and learned that it’s a bacterial infection, so I went to Coles and brought an antibacterial soap called Gamophen, you can find it in the soap aisle, it’s $1.60 for the bar, and for the last 2 weeks have been lathering my feet up with the soap, and using a pumice stone on the affected area, then rinsing and lathering again and really massaging it into the itted areas, then drying really well. Every 2-3 days I’ll use just the soap and skip the pumice to give my feet abit of a rest. So far this has worked for me, I only get pain when I wear certain shoes, but the pits are and half the size and quantity of what they were when I started. So I thought I’d share incase this could help someone else, I hope it can 🙂

  • Brendan love

    I’ve tried all treatments and nothing worked,I was embarrassed by the smell and look of the craters on my feet ( I had it all over the soles) especially if I had been in shoes all day or in a bath for a while and if the foot was dry it cracked as the skin was so thick.
    I recently renovated a barn and was doing 16 to 18 hours a day in steel toecap boots and when I got back and took my boots off it felt like my feet were on fire so I put some sudocrem on them to cool them down which relieved the heat problem.
    So I carried this on morning and night washing first then applying a generous amount of cream to them and it disappeared i kid you not i can’t remember how long it took but it wasn’t a huge amount of time.
    The only downside to this is because my feet used to sweat so much the sweat has to come from somewhere else and I notice nowadays that I have to use a strong deodorant for my armpits as the sweat more since my feet were cured but that’s a small price to pay.
    This worked for me and it doesn’t mean it will work for someone else but I had it bad so I think it’s worth a try for the sake of a couple of pounds.

  • imawesome

    My cure was kind of gross. I got a bunch of garlic and pressed it and mixed with some salt and olive oil. Basically made a garlic exfoliant and scrubbed my feet every other day for a werk. On alternating days I used selsen blue. Cleared it up real quick. Apparently garlic is antibacterial and anti fungal… smell treatment but do it in the shower and it rinses right ofd.

  • Amy

    I had this for ages (mine only ever really shows after bathing/swimming – I just presumed everyone’s feet looked like this after a bath or a shower) until my other half and I had spent an hour in the pool and i noticed his feet didn’t have one hole in the sole at all. I came across this site and checked out the home remedies – and over the last two months my PK has completely gone. Mine was medium on the scale of bad. My feet never smelt and weren’t sweaty ever. But as a waitress I spend 12 hours on my feet a day. I used one of those metal dead skin scrapers on my feet after bathing – and then applied tea tree oil (undiluted) only £2.99 from my supermarket. I did this maybe once a week/10 days for the last couple of months! And now I’m PK free! All for the sake of less than £6!!!!! Yippee!!!

  • seth

    So mine is a combo treatment.

    Bathe the feet in Savlon (antiseptic).
    Dry thoroughly.
    Then soak in Meth Spirits for about 15 minutes.

    dry ur feet afterwards.

  • Sarah

    Bleach bathes. 1/4 cup of bleach in a shallow bath tub of water. Soak 15 min. Also, see a dermatologist and get Clindamycin lotion and apply twice daily. I work for a dermatologist and I just started having PK myself. I just started this treatment but I’m sure it will work.

    • Brian Harris

      Baking soda, about a teaspoon in each sock and spray down your feet with hydrogen peroxide before you put the socks on. do that every morning. The soda makes the ph too caustic for the bacteria and makes all the dead skin peel off after a few days. Just don’t pick at the peeling skin, scrape at it in the shower when soft. You will have baking soda crystallize on the outside of your shoes after a few days. This kills athletes foot as well in just a week or so your feet should be healed. Make sure to bleach your socks.

  • g

    I had it last summer and it came back a while ago and was getting worse. I got rid of it with anti bacterial alcohol handwash, for the first week I used it as often as possible and the second week, which is just coming to and end, in the morning and before bed. Now it’s basically gone, just the waiting for the marks to fade. I recommend it. Last year I crushed up some old penicillin, mixed it with some cream or other and rubbed it on daily for about 3 days, that works too.

  • Oscar

    Hi there,

    I am in the police and have to wear leather boots all day, every day. I try and change my socks at least twice a day but its not really helping. It is getting quite painful to walk on at times and im struggling to find the time to get to my doctor. Being in the uk access to any kind of medicated creams is controlled and you have to have a prescription from the doctor to get them. I was wondering if any of you could suggest some natural remedies and prevention techniques for someone in my situation.


  • Monique

    Hi oscar, I’m from the UK too and I’ve managed to get something from boots. It’s called quinode it’s 10% Benzoly peroxide and this had cleared mine up along with soaking my feet in tea tree oil, after only 3 days! Worth a try if you can’t get to a GP also TCP has been a good antiseptic scrub for general feet washing and drying with hair dryer. Thin cotton socks also! Hope this helps 🙂 you can get it at most chemists! Make sure you test a patch behind your ear 12 hours ahead of use.

    • Monique

      Sorry it’s Quinoderm the cream****

    • Oscar

      Thank you!

      Will nip to boots before shift tomorrow! I have been using normal Antiseptic hand wash which has actually helped somewhat but I dont think it is the key to getting rid of it completely. It seems to be holding it at bay. Hopefully the Quinoderm will be helpful.

      • Monique

        Oh yeah it’s worked for me, I put it on twice a day :)! I have been using a pumis stone as well and that’s been just helping shallow the pits! Good luck!

  • Ash

    For UK sufferes as the above said QUINODERM is amazing, works a charm only used a few times and can notice it going.

  • Ridz

    Hi Guys,
    Here’s my experience, hope it helps you guys.
    I’ve had this since my late teens. It wasn’t as bad back then but as the years wore on it got worse to the point that I never took my shoes off anywhere. I’m sure you guys can relate to the feeling of embarrassment one feels because of this condition. Every now and then I’d show it to my doc and he would prescribe this cream or that cream or combinations of creams. Sometimes they would work and sometimes they would not have any effect. the problem was that it would always return and sometimes worse than others. I used to think I was alone in this and recently (now @ 30 years of age) I found this site and realised that I am not alone. That being said Doc once prescribed a steroid cream which fixed the issue properly but after a while it came back again and worse than before.

    It seems to me that the root cause of this is moisture and after reading advise from other posters I have at least found a way around the smell and moisture. well for me at least and I hope by sharing this it will help others.

    1. Visit your Doc and tell them you have this condition. its not that hard to diagnose (pits, smell, constant moisture in closed shoes), but you will be surprised how many doctors don’t know this condition
    2. My doc prescribed a cream called Viocort dermatological cream which contains the following (per 5gram)
    – Hydrocortisone Acetate 12.5mg
    – Di-iodohydroxyquinoline 150.0mg
    – Chlorbutol 50.0mg
    – More info : you may search google for Viocort or the following website has some info: http://www.medicinenet.com/clioquinol_with_hydrocortisone-topical/article.htm

    This cream seemed to have done the trick but after a few weeks i got it again. So the thing is the sweating feet that cause this and the smell. so here is something that may help

    In essence (as I’ve understood things from reading here and other web sources) this is a bacteria that eats at the skin which also causes the foul odour. This bacteria thrives when you are sweating.
    So my simple brain said -> no sweating no issue, and somehow kill the bacteria. I think I may have found a way:

    Nivea MEN 48h Silver Protect –> this is an antibacterial antiperspirant stick. The packaging on the product says “Antibacterial Protection – With Silver IONS”

    after bathing I apply this to both feet. Put on my socks and boots and go to a hard days work. When I come back home there is absolutely no sweat and no smell. It doesn’t completely cure the condition because when I shower in the evening after work, even after 5 minutes in water I can see the pits again. I have started with Viocort again, but this antiperspirant really works well (for me), as I don’t sweat, and so no matter how long I’m on my feet, or how hot it is, my feet are dry when I take my boots off.

    I hope this experience of mine helps some of you guys out there, at least in using this nivea product to reduce the smelly effects and embarresment (after exactly one day of use on my side, i was taking of my shoes in a friends house without embarrassment)

    All the best guys, Let me know if it works for you guys!


  • amy k

    just wanted to add, to whomever said they need a dermatologist – every podiatrist and dermatologist ive seen suggested numerous of the methods above and all admitted that anything they prescribed couldnt do anything more than other “home remedies” could. perhaps quicker but ultimately not better and not cheaper (but i live in the usa with no health insurance).

    each said until i live barefoot, and pref. on a beach, ill never truly be rid of it.

    with that said,

    special ultra antipersperant on my feet

    tea tree oil

    antibacterial cream on my feet (tons wrapped in plastic wrap while i sleep)

    hairdryer after showers

    changing shoes and socks often

    spraying lysol or a disinfectant in my shoes after using them (sometimes putting my shoes in the freezer – this maybe me just being crazy)

    replacing shoes often

    its come and gone over twenty years. for years i thought it was fungal, which i do have on occasion but not to the extent i have pk. its an on going battle and much love to anyone that has to bother with a bothersome but not deadly disease.

    also, be careful with towels and stuff (rugs?), esp if you live with someone. i try to be careful about it but recently spread it to my other. hes never had problems with it previously. ughz. i had gotten rid of it for two years but then worked three 18hr shifts in a row and its in full force again. im giving it three weeks until i kick its ass!

  • Ava McI

    Some of the prescription treatments can be expensive (like the oral antibiotic they gave me) so for those who are financially challenged, try this: Soak your affected foot for about 30 minutes in regular Listerine. It’s an antiseptic and is kind of soothing. Then dry your feet and between your toes well and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream like Neosporin.

    I’ve also heard tea tree oil works great for a number of things. I’m gonna try this as well.

  • Brian Harris

    Baking soda, about a teaspoon in each sock and spray down your feet with hydrogen peroxide before you put the socks on. Do that every morning. The soda makes the ph too caustic for the bacteria and makes all the dead skin peel off after a few days. Just don’t pick at the peeling skin, scrape at it in the shower when soft. You will have baking soda crystallize on the outside of your shoes after a few days. This kills athletes foot as well in just a week or so your feet should be healed. Make sure to bleach your socks.

    • Nicole

      Brian Harris
      Wondering what percentage hydrogen peroxide you used for the spray thanks!

  • Leah

    Hi, I actually have had PK for about a year or so.. I just didn’t know what it was. I’m in highschool and as a girl it’s quite embarressing. I’m always worried someone will see it. Honestly for a while I thought it was some sort of bacteria eating my skin or it was roting. I freaked and finally decided to google it. Turns out it’s this.. Anyone have any tips? I’ve read that not many women get it. That’s another reason I’m embarresed.

  • Africa

    Hi, i’ve suffered with PK for over 5 years, tried all the home remedies i found on the internet, and nothing worked. i went to dermatologists, and doctors and nothing they gave me made the PK heal 100% its spread to cover the entire area on both feet, all the protective skin was gone on about 70% of both feet, and was painful to walk, they sweated profusely, and i was too embarrassed to wear sandals, and the smell was unbearable and the sweat stained my shoes and socks – i did find wearing bamboo fibre socks helped more than wearing cotton socks. eventually i went to a homeopath who prescribed an ointment called “hyper cal” ointment – this is a link i found of it on the web that best describes it – http://www.naturopharm.co.nz/products/TopicalProducts/Hypercal.asp
    i was told to dilute it in water, but it didn’t work, and then i tried it without diluting – putting a few drops on my hands and then rubbing directly on to the foot. she did say not to do that, but i thin my skin was strong enough to handle it – it absorbs super quick within seconds, and it just feels dry and a little bit tight, and within days the skin started healing. i do it every night now to maintain. best of all this ointment is really cheap.
    what it does is make the skin grow back somehow, and giving it a protective barrier against moisture – its actually for small cuts on your skin, and its 100% natural. once the skin grows back, my feet sweated less and its not painful when i walk, and it stopped the whole self perpetuating cycle.. its been 3 weeks and my feet are almost back to normal with just a little bit of skin left around the heal area – that was my worst affected area with deep pits.
    I’m truly amazed that this worked, and i’m so happy to finally see the soles of my feet looking like normal peoples!! everything else i tried failed, and i did EVERYthing! please try it and let me know if this works for you, i’d be very interested to know! thanks!

  • danielle

    I am a current college student, so naturally I spend most of my day on my feet walking around campus. About a month and a half ago, I noticed these small pits in the soles of my feet. I was not in the least bit worried as I thought my feet were just peeling because I was walking around a lot more. I just let it go. A few weeks went by and I realized that maybe this wasn’t right,they weren’t going away with time as I thought they would. I decided to google it like so many others. I went to images which freaked me out to see some of the cases, but some of the mild photos looked a lot like what I was suffering from. I went to the clinic at my college, and the nurse told me that it is very common for this to happen to college students because we walk barefoot on surfaces caked in bacteria. So for anyone who thinks that it only happens to people with sweaty feet, you are wrong! It can happen to everyone! Anyway, she told my best solution was to go to walgreens and buy an anti fungal powder, and cracked heel cream containing a keratolytic agent, and a pumice stone. I was instructed to soak my feet to soften them up, use the pumice stone to remove excess dead skin, apply the cream generously, and fill my socks with the anti fungal powder and put them on. I was to do this every night before bed. I must say within a day I saw an immense improvement in my PK, but a month later I still struggle to get rid of it completely! You can no longer see the pits when my feet are dry, but as soon as they get wet, forget it. They really smell too, and it drives me crazy. I just want it to be gone. I am, however, glad that my case is very mild, but my heels are the most infected. I use the pumice stone every night, and you could not believe how much excess dead skin accumulates within 24 hours. PK is the most annoying stubborn infection I have ever had to deal with. This treatment is great for now, but I will eventually need to step up my treatment. This treatment may not have worked completely for me, but someone else out there may be able to cure their PK with this solution. Good luck to those who have it!

  • Fmp

    Short and sweet. I had this for a year, tried every remedy tea tree oil, etc., also tried ointments from a podiatrist, nothing worked.

    Then I tried vinegar. Completely cured, been years and never came back. Soak or simply apply with cotton in the morning and night. More the better.

    Smells funny but it works. Hopefully this helps someone else!

  • Jman

    Hey Im 30 and this is the second outbreak I’ve had. I first got it in my mid 20’s and was horrified when i noticed I had PK… back then I googled treatments and came across someone that suggested caustic soda… its what soap is made from and whats used to unblock drains… it has a high PH.
    I did one step better and made a foot bath of a concoction of anti bacterial chemicals…

    1 tsp Caustic soda
    30ml Hospital grade floor cleaner
    10ml General purpose cleaner (Not the citrus kind)
    2L of luke warm water

    Dont soak for too long or you WILL get chemical burns. Rinse your feet after thoroughly with running water for a few minutes. After one foot bath it basically stopped and eventually the dead skin came off and had flat unpitted feet for at least 5 years. Came back after I neglected foot hygiene e.g. reused socks, didnt pay much attention to feet in shower and using old work boots.

    • Tobias Roberts

      Using a blowtorch on your feet seems to be work as well. There is a slight problem with charring your feet and losing the ability to walk, but hey, at least it gets rid of the bad smell!

  • Anonymous

    I think I have got this years ago when I was homeless or not wearing proper foot wear or changing my socks enough…anyways I never thout much of it and it wasn’t that bad and I just use a foot thingy to scrape it off but lately it’s been getting worse! I don’t know why! I change my socks once sometimes even twice a day and I don’t have sweating problems and my feet don’t smell so I don’t get it. I’ve been putting tea tree oil on them everyday but it’s not going away.

  • Celyna

    I’ve been soaking and scrubbjng my feet like crazy and still have the pits. What else can I do?

  • Lilly Brand

    My Husband suffers with bouts of this. He found the only thing which worked for him was Boric Acid bought from eBay. He uses 2-3 tablespoons on a bowl of warm water and soaks his feet for 20mins or so. This cures it straight away. Be probably has to do this 2-3 times per year.

  • randy

    Chlorine!!! Buy some powder shock treatment for pools. (70% chlorine). Soak your feet in a small tub with warm water using 3-4 tablespoons of the powder for about 5 minutes. Then scrub the affected areas with a foot file scrubber, soak for additional 10 minutes. Just one treatment should work, that is depending on how severe your feet are. (Repeat if necessary)

  • Feeling Relieved

    After reading many of the reviews & gathering things around my house for treatment, my PK has greatly improved! First, got rid of all socks & shoes that were smelling of the nonsense. Bought leather shoes & bamboo/cotton socks. I make sure my shoes dry at night, typically giving them at least a day between wears (but not always). I have carried spare socks & have changed them on occasion but not daily while at work. I tried using the sprays & such but nothing seemed to alleviate the sweaty feet, allowing them to breath has best kept them dry. In the shower I use the price stone & an antibacterial soap on my feet. At several points throughout the day (when I have the opportunity, some times more than others), I try to wipe my feet down with rubbing alcohol. I’ve also used peroxide, antiseptic rinses, tea tree oil & acne medication rubbed on after the rinses, also bacitracin ointment. I think the rubbing alcohol has helped the most but it was tender & highly sensitive to apply when I started. I’ve also used Epsom salt foot soaks but these May have been more relaxing than anything… However they did help me to easier file some of the skin off to get to the clean fresh skin underneath the hardened, white/yellow holey layer. Smell is gone, much improvements have been noted. It has been a few weeks now but the few minutes/seconds each day have totally been worth it & these remedies don’t cost a lot. The shoes were the most expensive but now I should be able to keep them a while… Don’t buy cheap shoes! I Will mention I’ve used my boot dryer a lot this winter and try to go barefoot while inside too to allow clean & dry conditions. Pamper your tootsies & they’ll return the favor! Good luck!

  • Feeling Relieved

    ***Pumice*** Stone, not “price.” Darn autotext.

  • Michikohime

    I started to have 1 tiny hole on my feet not long ago. But I had a “pin injury” when I was younger and it was at the same spot so I thought it was just that. But then, one day, I was working on the computer and kicked off my shoes to be more comfortable. Oh lord, what was that smell! I never had that kind of odor issue before with my feet. Than I saw that there was another little hole next to the first one, and there seem to be 2 other holes on my other feet, but not as “developped” as the first one. I started to search about this and found that it might be pitted keratolysis. I wasn’t sure so I just didn’t do much for a few days, just to see what would happen. The smell was horrible and it stuck to my shoes. My shoes where to hot even though they I specifically chose them for the breath through fabric. I was working in a new office where the temperature was going crazy and was sweating my feet off. I started taking feet bath with epson salt every night, washing the bottom of my feet with a soap before throwing the water out. And I checked my stinky shoes and saw that there was an dense removable insole. I tried wearing my shoes without them and I was not sweating as much anymore + the smell went away. I trew out the stinky insole (it smelled like vinegar from miles away).

    The little holes are not totally healed yet but I can see great improvement with my epson salt bath and my extra soap washing every day. Most of all, the smell is gone.

    I know my case wasn’t as bad as some of yours, but if you’re searching for a home treatment for a start or for a mild case, epson salt, daily extra wash and cheking if you can change something on your shoe that could cause the problem might be the way to go.

  • Ru

    I’ve had this problem for years and tried many cures but its never gone away completely. However, I recently developed a very painful verruca, and after trying for a few months to burn it off, I decided to try the homeopathic remedy “thuya”. To my complete and utter amazement the verruca vanished in 5 days…and the pitted Keratolysis…doesn’t make much sense but maybe someone here with a knowledge of homeopathy could explain if it was due to the thuya or just an amazing coincidence.

  • I’ve had this for a few months now, And can’t seem to get rid of it, I’m in the military, which means I’m always in boots and running etc… If anyone has any ideas that might help me would be much appreciated, thanks.

    • Ru

      Try the homeopathic preparation thuya..it only costs a couple of pounds and worked for me so its worth giving it a try. I tool 2 tabs of 30, 6 times a day for the first day. Then 2 tabs 3 times a day for 5 more days. It disappeared along with the verrucas I was treating. I had this problem for about 4 years, I’m an athlete so I often have my feet in trainers all day and sometimes they get wet 🙁 Anyway, it worked for me, and I’ve tried ALL the other home remedies in this site, and while some make the situation better, it has never gone away.
      Good luck, Rueth x

  • Nicole

    So happy to finally learn what this ugly annoying condition is! I’m a bartender and it first started for me at a precious job where the dishwasher would regularly malfunction and I was stuck working in an inch of water for entire shifts. It destroyed my feet and I had never seen anything like these pits around where my toes rubbed together before. It went away for a while when I left there and wasn’t working a lot, essentially getting out of there and getting off my feet helped it remiss I guess, but starting a new position I noticed when my feet started getting moist again just from working on them all day and I noticed a couple days ago that it had returned (wetness in the shower made it appear). I found this site and started some simple home remedies. Before I used to liberally apply Aquaphor to my feet which definitely helped heal the skin, but learning that it’s a bacterial infection I started using tea tree oil. Last night I applied 6-7 drops of tea tree oil to a pea sized dollop of Aquaphor and blended it and applied it to my feet after I showered and dried them with my space heater. Seemed to help reduce the problem initially. Today I stopped at the pharmacy and picked up an antiseptic skin cleanser (generic version of Hibiclens… Which I’ve experienced with recommendation by my doctor when I came down with a follicle infection years ago) I came home and applied it in the shower, using my pumice stone to scrub at the pits, then used a foot brush applying more after the scrub to get the cleanser better into the pits. I also set up a mini spray bottle with 1 oz tea tree oil and 1 oz water (needs to be shaken since it separates before applying) and after drying my feet, again using my space heater, I sprayed the solution liberally and allowed my feet to dry again. Seems to have helped dramatically already. I’m only on day 1 of this but I will report back to see how it works in the long run! I can’t wait for flip flop weather to get my feet out of all these shoes for them to breathe easier!

  • M

    I’ve had little pits on my feet for awhile now but recently they have multiplied & my feet started itching to the point of near pain. I just discovered that I have pitted keratolysis.

    I am trying a salve of creosote/chaparral (same thing by different names) with neem & tea tree oils.

    Chaparral salve is naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial & antifungal. I’ve seen it successfully treat tons of skin conditions.

    Neem is what I consider ‘the big guns’ because it seems to kill everything- I use it in the garden on fungal issues & insects alike. I’ve read that it is even used as a spermacide in some countries. However, the smell is like raunchy burnt garlic- kind of hard to stomach.

    The crazy thing is that I wear flip flops or go barefoot 99% of the time! I do have an overactive thyroid, which causes increased sweating..

    Ok, fingers crossed I will let y’all know how this works out.

  • David

    Let me tell you how to cure this baby really fast… Get a bar of soap, clean your feet. Get a tub and fill it with listerine, soak your feet for 15 minutes. Then wash your feet again (because of the smell) Change your socks twice a day, and get new shoes that breathe.

    And keep your feet dry so it won’t return. Just change your socks 2 times a day.

    Pitted keratylisis is caused by bacteria, by washing your feet with soap you will get the bacteria from the pores of your skin. Soaking them in listerine will kill most bacteria. The washing after will remove dead bacteria who can serve as food for the osurviving bacteria.

    WARNING: I saw someone recommending spirited alcohol, don’t ever soak your skin in spirited alcohol (methanol)!!! It will be absorbed by your skin and causes your eyes to deteriate, cause blindness, and eventually death. The remedy to methanol poisening is ethanol, so if you did this already drink about 5 glasses of wodka or other alcoholic drink

  • chris

    A lot of stuff is good on here, i will take some of the things away and try them but ill leave a list of the things i do which keep it away which work for me.

    washing feet in antibacterial hand sanitisor
    baking soda and talcum in shoes
    removing pits with a stone
    washing shoes in washing machine with tea tree oil mixed with detergent
    moisturize with tea tree and witch hazel cream
    wearing natural fibre socks, mainly bamboo ones work best
    Using silica gel sachets inside sweaty shoes every time you remove them! v.good tip, has worked wonders and saved me a lot of money in shoes.
    wear mesh or vented running shoes
    Always having wipes a towel, sanintisor, spare socks, talc/baking soda with you when away all day. last thing you want is someone loudly commenting they can smell feet on the train home from work

    im going to try the quinoderm suggested by monique as i still havent found anything in the uk for this condition. my gp and pharmacist keep telling me its athletes foot despite my efforts. The egos of today wont be told anything by a cheeky cockney lad will they

  • darcy

    I have had this for a long time. Have visited this site on numerous occasions and tried tea tree oil to teabags, from my personal experience non of this works. One way to get rid of the smell is using an antiperspirant daily and constantly. My doctor always prescribes this and the smell and sweating goes if I continually use it… However I have yet to cure the Pitts and if I stop using the antiperspirant the sweating and smell returns. I have tried various creams via my doctor whilst using the prescribed antiperspirant, which have worked to a degree, but have never cured it totally. From what I can gather, the pitted part is like acne, so have tried a variety of prescribed acne creams as suggested by my doctor along with daily use of the antiperspirant… At the moment I am trying a new prescription along with the antiperspirant called Zineryt… I hope this works and will keep you updated

  • sarmin

    I recently found the pits on the bottom of my 8 year old brothers foot, and I’m positive that this is exactly what he has since for a while he’s been wearing shoes a size to small (he grows incredibly fast…) and playing for hours in water with damp shoes. so far there are only two small pits and one larger one and so far there is no smell (thank goodness) I’ve found many remedies but I was wondering what would be best for him being so young. I will be grateful for any advice!

  • Hi, I’m in the military and also suffer from this problem, just wondering if any treatment has helped for you ?

  • Eduardo

    I have pitted keratolysis since my teenage years, i am 30 now, and the only effective treatment i had is to put some zinc oxide in cream solution.

    It is very effective

    • christian

      Eduardo, what is the exact name of the cream you used? Has it eradicated the condition completely, including the smell?

  • E

    I just found this site. I this condition about 18 years ago. I was prescribed athletes foot cream and it did nothing. The condition only worsened. A few months after I got it I went on a kayaking trip around the Puget Sound. My feet were constantly in the salt water for about two solid days. I noticed that the pitted skin had died and was shedding off. I don’t know if it was the salt in the water or not but I haven’t had it since. A salt soak might work if you can’t get to the ocean. Good luck!

  • Hello
    I had a PK for godini.Probvah whatnot / creams, pills drank , I took advantage of all the tips in this and other sites and even Botox / NOTHING raboteshe.Togava decided to order TERRASIL and now it is sluchi.Polzvam already three weeks after the second .Efekt had den.Tazi hellish odor that followed me everywhere and because of that I collapsed psyche and because of that I threw a lot of clothes and shoes gone, my legs look like predi.Nadyavam to help someone . Good luck http://www.aidanceproducts.com/skin-repair/pitted-keratolysis/

  • C bell

    My 26 year old son has had this since age of 10. The only thing that will clear it up is for him to NOT drink milk! After many failed Dr visits, I took him to a homeopathic specialist and the suggestion was to avoid milk…it worked

  • Jordan

    I’ve struggled with this for years and paid so much money to go to the dr, Derm and buy antibiotics….but I found something that has got rid of it for me! Keep in mind not everyone’s treatments will work the same- there is no one fits all but this is how I killed it for good (I hope)….

    Mix Vicks vapour rub mixed with the best medical rating Manuka honey, apply to fleshly washed and EXFOLIATED feet twice a day (after shower and before bed). Honestly worked in two weeks… but I went crazy applying it whenever I could. Also I made sure I got as much skin off my feet as I possibly could every night in the shower (and rub my feet with and exfoliating scrubber every shower to maintain)

    If this didn’t work I was planning on doing one of those milky feet intense exfoliating masks in the winter but no need as my feet are amazing now- so soft and no pits visible. Will keep using this for the rest of my life as I’m petrified it will come back if I stop. Vick and Manuka for the win. I was beginning to think it was incurable as I have tried every cream and antibiotic the web pages suggest 🙁

    I hope this helps!

  • Instead of looking for a pitted keratolysis treatment, you should pay more attention to steps that keep this infection from developing in the first place. Take the following preventive measures to avoid pitted keratolysis.

  • Chricachada

    I have swiped the soles of my feet with a cotton ball dipped in Savlon every morning, and left it to dry naturally. It healed not only the Athlete’s feet/ringworm, but also the cracked heels – my feet now smells nice all day long, whether I wear shoes, socks or sandals.It also took care of all the dry patches on my feet.

  • Heidi

    I’ve had this for years, and never knew what it was until stumbling upon this website accidentally. I always figured it was maybe just a by-product of getting exfoliated during pedicures and having the callous on my heels grow back funny for some reason? I’m not sure what I thought it was really or why it did that, I just knew it was extremely embarrassing and I never wanted anyone to see the bottoms of my feet!

    I tried going to a couple drug stores to find some sort of antibacterial foot cream/spray to treat it, and couldn’t find a single one. All I could find were antifungal products like lamasil, odor eaters, etc. which don’t have an affect on bacterial infections. Instead of having to go to the doctor and get a prescription or ordering some super expensive cream off the internet, I decided to try a couple of the remedies I saw on here. The last three weeks I have been using a topical 10% benzole peroxide cream in the morning, and tea tree oil at night every day. I have literally just been using an old tube of Clearasil that I’ve had in the back of my medicine cabinet. My pitted keratolysis is completely gone, and my heels are smooth for the first time since I can remember. Hope this advice helps anyone looking for a solution!

  • Oakley

    I am only 12 and I’m starting to get this any way to help at home?

  • sam

    Soak your feet and shoes in vinegar use the clear stuff. The change in PH should kill the bacteria that’s eating your skin. Do this to your feet before and after work drying afterwards. Soak the shoes your not wearing and wear dry shoes to work. I got natural fibre socks too I got bamboo ones.

  • Kristian

    So i soak my feet one or taice a week in green tea with the tea bags still in the water. And use a stone after wards. Green tea pulls out all dirt/bacterica in the feet. Al so pulls up the dead skin making it easier to use the sto e. I soak my feet for about 30 min each foot.

  • Donna

    I first noticed my feet were dry and itchy, not any pitted holes until I soaked my feet. Low and behold there they where covering my heels and the area underneath my second toe right where I have been scratching. The skin was also a brown color and pitted holes covering my pressure points. I first soaked with an Epsom salts with coconut and lime to alleviate the itching, which did help. Also my feet don’t sweat or smell. After I Google Pitts on souls of feet I found this pitted keratolysis and see the pics of which like my feet,some way more intense. My next step is to resoak my feet with apple cider vinegar for 30 mins, then scrub them with baking soda,then antibacterial soap with a wash cloth and dry completely. I didnt have a pumice stone, but will buy one soon. Then to apply tea tree oil and let rest. After all these treatments I did, my feet looked 100% better. Either I didn’t have it bad or not this definitely worked for me. I will try this again tomorrow as well. Thank goodness I caught this pitted keratolysis early.

  • Renee

    I discovered that I may have this and its possible it’s the early stages. I noticed small pit like holes in the heels of my feet. I only have one pair of shoes that I can wear daily. What can I do about that. I’m looking into getting another pair of tennis shoes.

  • Laura

    So, none of these remedies worked for me… including six months of various oral and topical antibiotics. However, a 5 minute soak in 3% hydrogen peroxide three times a day does actually get rid of the smell as long as my feet stay dry. I am so happy to finally have a fast working solution to this.

  • Jo

    My son is a competitive swimmer. He spends around 10+ hrs a week in the pool training. He has developed this and the Dr has prescribed soaking his feet in formaldehyde for 10 mins a day 3 day then antibiotics for 2 weeks BUT he can’t swim during that time. This is clearly not going to work for us as he can’t be out of the pool for that long. So I will try the quinoderm & tea tree oil to see if that works and put baking soda on his feet during the day and in his socks….I’ll see what happens.


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