Are you a dedicated weightlifter, passionate ballerina, or devoted guitar player? If so, you might consider calluses a sign of all your hard work and are, therefore, something to be proud of. However, these hardened patches of skin are a very different story for the rest of the human race.
To many, calluses are more sources of annoyance and irritation than markings of pride and diligence. That is why we’d rather have them removed than let them take permanent residence on our skin.
Callused feet and hands may prove useful in a sport or hobby, but you won’t need them for much other than that. So, for soft and smooth feet and hands, consider some of these safe practices for removing calluses.
Tips for Safe Callus Removal
Many of us are prone to doing repeated rubbing actions that result in calluses. So, chances are, we may need to apply the following tips to remove these thickened sections in our skin.
1. Leave Them Be
If you’re not in a rush to get rid of your calluses, leave them alone. Just keep whatever you’re doing that’s causing them to a minimum, and they should be out of your hair in no time. Avoid wearing high heels when you can, and replace those too-tight running shoes with a pair that fits just right.
2. Keep New Calluses From Forming
Calluses get out of hand when new layers keep forming over the old ones. You can keep this from happening by avoiding activities that contribute to callus formation in the first place.
If you can’t, keep them at a minimum or wear paddings in areas where most of the friction happens. Add moleskin padding when wearing shoes or heels, and use gloves when doing household tasks that are wearing on the hands.
3. Soak Them
Soften up those existing calluses while giving yourself a relaxing spa-like experience by soaking them in soapy water. Mixing in any soap should do, but some experts recommend using Epsom salts for optimal results.
Not only do Epsom salts have anti-inflammatory qualities, but they also have a gritty surface that scrapes away at those hardened layers effectively. Use this tip to make the next one easier.
4. Sand Them
Once your skin has been softened by sudsy Epsom-infused water, submerge a foot file or a similar item in the water for a couple of seconds and rub over it with your raw layers.
Remember not to go too far, as you could end up removing the entire callus. You will still need to maintain a thick-enough hardened layer to protect that area of the skin from pressure. Fine-grain sandpaper, pumice stone, and an emery board are all good-enough substitutes for a foot file.
Lather specifically formulated moisturizer for thickened skin on your hands and feet to keep these areas soft and… well, moisturized! You have a ton of great options to choose from these days, but a good old-fashioned Vaseline should prove as effective as any of them.
To complete the process, pull a pair of socks on before bed so that the moisturizer can work its magic overnight. For the hardened layers on your palms and fingers, use a good hand cream before pulling on a pair of soft gloves and letting the application do its work while you rest.
Urea has proven to be exceptional at exfoliating, so introduce some to your calloused skin and watch those hardened layers practically peel off on your next soaking session. Creams containing salicylic acid are effective, and they also gently discard these rough skin patches.
However, professional advice is necessary where exfoliation is concerned. The process involves harsher ingredients that your skin might not be able to tolerate. Some of the chemicals in these products might also exacerbate an existing skin condition. Thus, don’t buy if you don’t get the all-clear from your podiatrist or dermatologist.
7. Use a Medicated Patch
If it’s just a tiny callus in a specific spot, you can try getting rid of it by applying a medicated patch. Mediplast and Callus Removers by Dr. Scholl’s are excellent options for softening smaller sections of hardened skin. However, they may not be applicable for larger calloused areas on your foot.
If you aren’t sure if they would work in your case, check with your dermatologist. He or she can help you find a way around it or recommend other less-complicated home remedies.
Only Remove When They Get Out of Hand
Having a layer of calluses might serve you better than having none at all. These hardened patches form for a reason—they provide a protective covering for areas that frequently encounter friction. Plus, they do this without compromising your ability to feel the ground you’re walking on.
You might argue that cushioned shoes can offer the protection your feet need, but they will also reduce tactile sensitivity. Thus, it’s never a good idea to get rid of calluses completely. In fact, you can leave just enough for optimal foot and hand protection without compromising aesthetics.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.