A few years back, a friend gave me a gift certificate for a manicure. While there, the lady noticed that my fingers were dry and cracking. I was working in the nursery at our local ACE Hardware store at the time and had my hands in the water and dirt quite a bit. She told me to soak my hands in plain white vinegar for two minutes (and only two minutes) every day and that they would heal up. Ya' know what, she was right!! Every winter here in the desert, Jerry and I both get dry cracked hands, sometimes to the point of bleeding, and no amount of lotion helps but when we soak them in the white vinegar, they heal right up. The lady told me that the vinegar helps to restore the pH balance in the skin. I take a wide-mouth quart jar and fill it about half full of vinegar and just stick my whole hand down in it. You can reuse the vinegar four or five times before you need to change it. Now, I will tell you that it stings quite a bit, especially when you first start but it DOES work! Jerry's hands are too big to fit into the jar so we have to pour it into a bowl for him.
The reason I'm posting about this is because the weather has turned colder and drier here and my fingers hurt and I need to go soak them! LOL!! I hope this helps someone else suffering with dry, cracked skin this winter. It also works for dry heels! :)