8 tips for smooth, healthy feet

Calluses happen, even if you get regular pedicures, especially if you’re active or go sans socks a lot. They can also occur if you have a favorite pair of shoes that wear in the same spot over time. Calluses, which are just a thickening of the skin, build naturally over time to protect the feet from friction and pressure, but they aren’t the most attractive things to look at.

If you have a callus that you want to get rid of, it’s not too difficult if you catch them in time. According to the Mayo Clinic, treating calluses usually involves “avoiding the repetitive actions that caused them to develop.” This means wearing properly-fitted shoes, using protective pads to protect the skin, and taking other self-care measures to ensure they don’t develop in the first place.

woman standing barefoot
Photo by Daria Shevtsova/ Pexels

Home remedies

Many calluses can go away over time by soaking your feet in warm, soapy water to soften and thin them. During or after bathing, rub the callus with a pumice stone, nail file, or emery board to remove a layer of the thickened skin.

Another do-it-yourself (DIY) method involves combining three teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of water. This concoction will form a paste, and the paste can be applied to the callus once it has softened. Keep the paste on and put on a sock overnight to let the solution exfoliate the callus.

You can also purchase a calluses remover cream, which works similarly to any exfoliating serum used on your face to help remove dead skin cells. There are many callus remover gels and creams that contain lactic acid and/or urea, which will break down dead skin cells in the callus itself. Finally, there are over-the-counter pads you can buy and wear to act as a barrier between your shoe and the affected area.

happy feet
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When to call in a professional

If a callus persists or becomes painful after trying at-home removal, medical treatments are available to help provide relief and get rid of a callus for good.

A doctor or podiatrist can trim away excess skin by using a scalpel during an office visit. This method is best left to a professional, so please don’t try this at home.

Your doctor may also prescribe a callus-removing medication like Clear Away or MediPlast that can be purchased without a prescription. There are other medications that contain up to 40% salicylic acid that will require a prescription to purchase and may be used after you thin the skin at home.

Still others may recommend a shoe insert if you have a foot deformity that causes a particular area to rub your shoes and cause calluses.

Time for a foot reset

If you want to try something a little fancy that will give your feet an instant makeover, give a foot peel a try. Basically, it’s like a fancy spa treatment that you can do at home, and it gives your feet the fresh, new look they deserve. Simply soak your foot in the peel solution as directed on the package, rinse your feet, and in the coming days, all the dead skin cells on your feet will peel away. They will be replaced with a new, fresh layer of skin like the day you were born.

One thing to beware of — you’ll be shedding skin like a snake, so it’s best to wear socks to bed to avoid that skin ending up between your sheets. That’s the price you pay for beauty.

Calluses are one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms to help us remain active while protecting our skin from wearing down and blistering. While that’s all well and good, they aren’t the most attractive things to look at. Plus, if left untreated, they can also become extremely painful.

Calluses, for most people, can also be avoided by wearing proper socks, finding shoes that fit properly (especially if they are running or hiking shoes), and regularly maintaining your feet either at home or by getting pedicures. Many stores will provide free consultations on the best shoes for your gait, which can go a long way toward prevention. You’ve only got two feet, so take care of them.

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