Is Vaseline Good for Diabetic Feet?

Medically Reviewed by:Scientific Advisory Board

Diabetes affects various aspects of a person's health, and proper foot care becomes essential to prevent complications.

There's often debate about whether using Vaseline as a moisturizer for diabetic feet is a good idea. In this article, we'll look into the pros and cons and explore whether Vaseline is indeed an effective solution.

Is Vaseline Good for Diabetic Feet?

Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, has been a popular go-to product for many skin conditions. Some people swear by its effectiveness in softening the skin and maintaining moisture.

Diabetic feet require adequate care to prevent dryness or cracking, which can lead to serious infections. This is where Vaseline comes into play, proving to be helpful to some extent, but it's not a one-size-fits-all answer.

Understanding Diabetic Foot Care

When it comes to managing diabetes, it's essential to pay close attention to foot care. Diabetic feet are more prone to various problems such as cuts, blisters, and ulcers due to poor circulation, nerve damage, and decreased immune system function. In this section, we'll take a close look at the importance of foot care for people with diabetes and explore whether Vaseline is a suitable option for diabetic patients.

Diabetes can lead to poor blood circulation and nerve damage, both of which directly impact your feet. Nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, might result in a loss of sensation in your feet, causing you to overlook small cuts or blisters. Poor circulation, on the other hand, slows down the overall healing process, which increases the risk of infection.

To reduce the risk of foot complications, we recommend following these essential diabetic foot care tips:

  • Inspect your feet daily: Check for cuts, blisters, redness, and swelling.
  • Wash your feet daily: Use warm water and a mild soap. Avoid hot water, as it can cause burns.
  • Moisturize your feet: This prevents dry, cracked skin which can lead to ulcers.
  • Trim your nails regularly: To prevent ingrown toenails and cuts, trim your nails straight across.
  • Avoid going barefoot: Wearing shoes or slippers can protect your feet from injuries.
  • Choose proper footwear: Invest in well-fitted, comfortable shoes and avoid tight, restrictive shoes.

In light of these recommendations, you might be wondering if Vaseline is a good choice for moisturizing diabetic feet. As a neutral and hypoallergenic product, Vaseline is widely known for its ability to effectively lock in moisture, protecting and soothing dry skin. However, there are some important aspects to consider when using Vaseline on diabetic feet.

When using Vaseline as a moisturizer, it's crucial to avoid applying it between the toes, as this area is prone to fungal infections due to natural moisture build-up. Introducing additional moisture between the toes by using Vaseline can exacerbate this problem.

By taking care of your feet, you'll be able to reduce the risk of complications and maintain a better quality of life while managing your diabetes.

How Vaseline Benefits Diabetic Feet

One of the primary benefits of Vaseline for diabetic feet is its moisturizing properties. Since people with diabetes often experience dry and cracked skin, particularly on their feet, maintaining proper hydration is essential:

  • Vaseline forms a protective barrier that seals in moisture and prevents the skin from drying out.
  • By keeping your feet well-moisturized, Vaseline can help reduce the risk of developing painful cracks or sores.
  • Moisturizing the feet regularly is especially vital for those with diabetes, as it can prevent complications such as ulcers and infections.

Another advantage of using Vaseline on diabetic feet is its ability to promote healing for minor injuries:

  • Vaseline creates a barrier that keeps out dirt, debris, and bacteria—which can be particularly harmful to people with diabetes who have a weakened immune system and slower healing of wounds.
  • Applying Vaseline to small cuts, scrapes, or blisters can help nourish and protect the skin as it heals.

In addition to offering protection and promoting healing, Vaseline can also aid in reducing friction:

  • By applying a thin layer of Vaseline to problem areas on your feet, you can minimize the potential for blisters and irritation caused by rubbing against shoes.
  • Reducing friction is important for people with diabetes, as it helps prevent the formation of foot sores and ulcers.

Using Vaseline for diabetic foot care is both affordable and accessible, making it an excellent option for individuals on a budget.

Keep in mind, however, that Vaseline should not be used as a standalone treatment for serious foot issues or wounds. Consult with your healthcare provider or podiatrist for guidance on proper diabetic foot care when dealing with more severe conditions.

To further protect your feet, consider incorporating additional foot care measures into your routine, such as:

  • Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and socks designed specifically for diabetics
  • Washing and drying your feet thoroughly each day, paying special attention to the areas between your toes
  • Inspecting your feet daily for any signs of injury, redness, or swelling
  • Visiting your healthcare provider or podiatrist regularly for foot check-ups and guidance on proper care and management

Incorporating Vaseline into your foot care routine can provide significant benefits for diabetic feet by helping to maintain moisture, promote healing, and reduce friction. Pairing its use with other essential diabetic foot care practices can help keep your feet healthy and decrease the risk of complications.

Precautions to Take While Using Vaseline

When using Vaseline for diabetic feet care, it's important to keep certain precautions in mind. Here, we've listed some key points that diabetic patients should take into account while using Vaseline.

  • Avoiding under the nails and cuts: It's wise to avoid applying Vaseline or any petroleum jelly product to open cuts, sores, and under the nails, as it can trap bacteria and lead to infections.

  • Don't forget to clean: Cleanliness should be a priority when using Vaseline. Before applying it to your feet, make sure to clean your hands and feet thoroughly to avoid introducing unwanted germs.

  • Keep feet dry: Creating a damp environment on your feet by slathering Vaseline all over them could encourage bacterial and fungal growth. To prevent this, apply Vaseline only on the dry and cracked areas, and let your feet breathe.

  • Know when to avoid Vaseline: If you have an active infection or ulceration, it's best to consult a healthcare professional and not rely solely on Vaseline as a remedy.

    Remember that using Vaseline can help keep the skin on your feet moisturized and promote healing. However, it's not a standalone solution for diabetic foot care. 


    So, is Vaseline good for diabetic feet? It's not a cure-all solution, but it does have some advantages and disadvantages worth considering.

    Pros of using Vaseline fordiabetic feet:

    • Provides intense hydration
    • Creates a barrier to lock in moisture
    • Affordable and easily accessible
    • Non-irritating for most people

    Cons of using Vaseline fordiabetic feet:

    • May not be suitable for all skin types
    • Can feel greasy and heavy
    • Potential risk of infection if not used properly

    For optimal foot care, people with diabetes should follow these guidelines:

    1. Inspect feet daily for any cuts, blisters, or sore spots.
    2. Cleanse feet gently using a mild soap and lukewarm water.
    3. Moisturize the feet with a product like Vaseline, but avoid applying it between the toes.
    4. Wear properly fitted shoes and moisture-wicking diabetic socks.
    5. Keep nails trimmed and filed smoothly.

    Incorporating these steps into daily routines will help maintain overall foot health and lower the risk of complications. It's essential, however, to consult a healthcare professional or podiatrist before making any changes to a foot care regimen, as they can provide tailored advice based on individual needs. With the right care and attention, people with diabetes can enjoy healthy, happy feet.

    References and Sources:

    More About and Healthcare disclaimer:

    Always consult your physician before beginning any program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. socks are clinically proven to improve micro-circulation in feet and lower extremities in people with Diabetes. 

    More Author Information:

    Dr. Capozzi is a board-certified foot surgeon through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Wound Management and Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He completed a three-year residency program in Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery at St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center in Hartford, CT in 2010. Dr. Capozzi is a board-certified Wound Specialist® granted by the American Academy of Wound Management. He is also board-certified in Foot Surgery through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.