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How to Soften Callused Feet | Foot Remedies: Updated

How do we get rid of calluses on feet? Honestly, dry callused feet aren't pretty or sexy in any way, yet hard, dry, even cracked, callused feet are a common problem. 

Let's look at why feet get callused in the first place then, I'll show you what products do wonders to soften callused feet. Believe me, I know. I'm the poster child for callused feet with my high heels and notorious bare footin'!

pedicure in black heels

I am wearing Zoya Dagmar from the Classic Leathers Collection on my toes.

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What's a callus?
A callus is thicken skin that is hard and becomes very dry and sometimes cracks. The body builds up more skin as a defense mechanism. The body is trying to give the feet more padding to protect against something that is irritating to the feet. The irritation comes from pain, friction and/or pressure to the feet. It's odd that the body is trying to protect you from pain by thickening the skin, but really thick calluses can actually cause pain. We need to manage those calluses.
dry callused heel
What causes calluses?
Irritation, pain, pressure and friction to the feet. Walking bare footed can create pain and pressure on the feet. Your feet sliding around in your shoes can cause friction on the feet. Wearing socks reduces the chance of building calluses, but if your feet are sliding, even with socks on, you will be creating friction and building calluses. 

Those fabulous high heeled stilettos can cause a thick callus on the ball of your foot. A shoe that doesn't fit right and hurts will cause a callus and blisters too! Sometimes the feet just hurt due to age, or a specific foot problem and callus can build.

Some people seem to be more prone to thick calluses than others. I chalk it up to genetics. If you noticed your Mom's dry callused feet on the beach chances are your feet are lookin' dry and callused on the beach as well!

Will a callus go away by itself?
If you stop the foot irritation that caused the callus, the callus will eventually go away. We can make them go away with sanding and scrubbing foot remedies, though. Just know that they will come back if the foot is irritated in some way. 

Pamper your feet to help prevent thick dry calluses. My clients who wear sensible shoes and thick socks everyday have very little callus. My bare footers and flip flop wearers need a lot of scrubbing during their pedicures! Wear comfortable shoes that fit your feet well. Wear nice thick socks. Save the heels for occasional wear. Take good care of your feet by using foot scrubs and creams. Get monthly pedicures to help keep your feet looking and feeling pretty. 

Let me give you some foot remedies to help soften callused feet.

How to Get Rid of Calluses

Besides getting a monthly salon pedicure, there are a few things you can try at home to make calluses look better. I feel calluses should not be removed completely. They should be reduced, smoothed and moisturized. When the callus is completely removed and the skin is left pink, the foot is sore, and the callus will come back with a vengeance! 

Please note: If you are diabetic or have a circulatory problem, consult your doctor before doing any callus removal treatment.

Click the YouTube Link 🠟 to Watch

Dr Teals Pure Epsom Salt

1. Soak the Feet
I like Epsom Salt for the foot soak. Epsom Salt is the mineral Magnesium Sulfate. It makes the water feel silky and softens and soothes the skin. Fill a large bowl or foot bath with warm water. Add about 1/4 cup of Epsom Salt. Soak for 10 minutes.
I like Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt. They offer a variety of extracts for healing and aromatherapy such as eucalyptus, lavender and green tea.

Apple cider vinegar is another favorite soak of mine. You can use 1/4 cup in your foot bath instead of Epsom Salt if you choose. 

Find Epsom Salt in your local drug store or in the drug section of grocery and super stores.

2. Dry the Feet 
Dry your feet with a nice fluffy towel. 

Be Natural Callus Remover
3. Apply a Callus Removal Treatment 
There some awesome products to help soften hard calluses and make the removal process more effective. These are gel treatments that have a high pH level. They are to be used on the callused area not on the entire foot. It can feel burning or be irritating on non-callused or cracked skin. 

Wear gloves to apply them or rinse your hands immediately after application. If you don't, you will feel it and want to rinse it off your hands asap! Leave the product on your feet for 3-5 minutes then rub it off with a towel. I like:

Prolinc Be Natural Callus Eliminator
Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Potassium Hydroxide, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Disodium EDTA

Gena Callus Off
Ingredients: Water, potassium hydroxide, glycerin, propylene glycol, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, disodium EDTA

They both contain Potassium Hydroxide. This ingredient helps to break down the protein in the callus cells making the callus easier to file down.

Click here to shop for gel callus removers

Rasp foot file

4. Time to Foot File

Now that the callus has been softened by the callus remover, break out the foot file and sand them down. You can use a gentler sandpaper type of foot file or a more aggressive metal rasp type of foot file. The metal file will work faster for you, but it can also leave a roughed up surface on the skin. 

Do not use a blade callus remover. They can remove too much callus and also cause dangerous cuts.

Click here to shop for foot files

5. Rinse the Feet

Give the feet a good rinse after all that filing and pat them dry.

GoldBond Therapeutic Foot Cream

6. Apply a Cream
Apply a good cream to your still damp feet. Sometimes, I like to apply some coconut oil to the feet followed by cream. It can make the feet really slippery though. Put some socks on. The cream doesn't have to be specifically foot cream. 

Gold Bond Therapeutic Foot Cream contains the vitamins A, C, and E along with healing extracts to hydrate and soften your feet. It's good stuff! This product does contain parabens as preservatives if you are concerned about using them. 

I do love Burt's Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion. It's super minty, cooling and refreshing for tired feet.

Jason Softening Cocoa Butter Hand and Body Lotion is another nice rich cream to try on your feet and body too. The Jason Lotion smells like vanilla and contains a bit of potassium hydroxide to gently soften tough skin. 

Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Body Butter has a sweet green tea smell. It contains olive oil, shea butter and avocado oil to lube up the skin.

Burts Bees Peppermint Foot Cream Ingredients: 
Water, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Peppermint Oil, Stearic Acid (Vegetable Fat), Witch Hazel, Glucose (Sugar), Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Wheat Germ Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Parsley Leaf Oil, Orange Wax, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rosemary Leaf Extract, Menthol, Sodium Borate (Natural Borax), Xanthan Gum, Sucrose Stearate (Sugar Emulsifier), Glucose Oxidase & Lactoperoxidase (Natural Preservative)

Jason Cocoa Butter Hand and Body Lotion Ingredients: 
Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (1), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter (1), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxyethylcellulose , Carbomer, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Fragrance (Parfum) (1) Certified Organic Ingredient

Shea Moisture Olive & Green Tea Body Butter Ingredients: 
Deionized Water, Olea Europaea (olive) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii(Shea) Butter*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Olus Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinesis (Jojoba) Oil, Stearyl Alcohol (Palm Kernel), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Proprietory Essential Oil Blend, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Green Tea Extract

Gold Bond Therapeutic Foot Cream Ingredients:
Water, urea, dimethicone, glycerin, petrolatum, cetyl alcohol, jojoba esters, cetyl esters, stearyl alcohol, distearyldimonium chloride, steareth-2, steareth-21, propylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, polysorbate 60, stearamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate, methyl gluceth-20, glyceryl stearate, diazolidinyl urea, dipotassium EDTA, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, fragrance, methylparaben, hydrolyzed jojoba esters, menthol, eucalyptol, potassium hydroxide, propylparaben

Read my Emjoi Micro Pedi-Callus Remover Review

Vionic Strappy Sandal

7. Maintenance

Now your feet are feeling nice and smooth. Help keep them that way by using a scrub 2 times a week and lots of moisturizer 2 times a day. I love Tree Hut scrubs and their yummy scents! They are very effective affordable sugar scrubs if you don't want to mix up your own sugar scrub. Be careful using oily products in the shower. It can get slippery!
Tree Hut Sugar Scrub

Keep your feet healthy with a monthly pedicure (at home or at the salon) to sand down any new callus built up, stimulate circulation, moisturize and soften callus.

Try your best to wear well-fitting shoes. Take a look at Vionic shoes. They offer stylish support for your feet. We have a client who swears by them.

Click here for my Peppermint Coconut Sugar Scrub Recipe!
       Have a Beautiful Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

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