Feet can be beautiful, but they can also look like something a monster from a fantasy series would have. Calluses transform soft, attractive feet into painful, awkward things you want to hide in a thick pair of tennis shoes. Even if you get rid of your calluses once, they have a tendency to grow back. So what do you do? There are so many callus removal products out there. Is it possible to have permanent callus removal?
What Causes Calluses?
A callus is more than just unpleasant, dry skin. It’s actually a defensive mechanism your body uses to protect itself from wear and tear. Your feet are pretty vulnerable, especially when you consider how much action and abuse they suffer on a regular basis. They bear the full weight of your body, and they constantly rub against shoes and floors.
When your feet grow calluses it means something is irritating them. More often than not, your shoes are the problem. No one wants to spend their entire life in thick socks and well-supported gym shoes, though. Most people end up facing a crisis of lifestyle and appearance. Although calluses can cause pain and irritation if they’re left to grow too long, they become an eyesore long before they become a literal pain the foot. This leads people to get rid of their calluses, and that desire inspires the creation of new callus removal products. The real question is: can any of these products get rid of your calluses for good?
How Do Callus Removers Work?
Callus removers are, typically, very straightforward. They aim to get the hard, dead skin off your body. Different products do this in different ways, but it’s important to remember that the vast majority treat the symptom rather than the cause.
Files, buffers, and pumice stones are classic callus removal tools for a reason. They work very well in the vast majority of cases. Harder calluses demand harder, sharper materials, so if a pumice stone doesn’t work, then you probably just need to upgrade to a foot file. The best foot files look like cheese graters, and they’re terribly effective, even on rock hard calluses.
Peels and chemical softeners are another popular treatment. These treat calluses one of two ways. They may trigger a slough, tricking your body into shedding all the dead skin at once, or they may soften the callus by dissolving the hardened bonds that keep it together. Unlike files and pumice stones, these treatments rarely show immediate results. More often than not, users only see the final results after a week or so of constant sloughing. It’s messy, and kind of gross, but it’s much easier on your hands than scouring your heel with a pumice stone.
As we mentioned earlier, all of these treatments target the symptom, which in this case is the callus itself. They will get rid of a callus, but since they don’t address the root cause, they cannot prevent future problems. Fortunately, there are other solutions that treat calluses differently.
Prevention vs. Removal
We’ve spent some time with callus removers. Now we need to look at callus prevention. Callus removers aren’t usually safe as preventative treatments. You can’t file away enough skin to prevent all future calluses unless you replace that skin with scar tissue. It’s also very unwise to use sloughing and chemical treatments unless you have a serious callus problem to take care of. Too much exposure leads to burns, raw skin, and discomfort that could actually bring on calluses in new and uncomfortable places. A callus remover can only remove a callus after it grows. It takes preventive treatments to bring an end to the callus filing cycle.
Preventive treatments end up mislabeled all the time. Pay attention to what the treatment actually does to determine whether or not it’s a preventive treatment. Although they are sometimes advertised as callus removers, moisturizers and creams do more for the healthy skin beneath the callus than the hardened skin on top. Many buyers give up on these products because they don’t actually get rid of calluses the same way a proper callus remover will. It’s true. A cream will never have the same results on a hard, callused heel that some quality time with a foot file will. However, that isn’t really what these creams and moisturizers were designed for.
How to Develop Your Own Skincare Routine
So long as you continue participating in physical activities that involve lots of running, walking, or jumping, you’ll be at risk for calluses. If you like going barefoot or wearing cute – but uncomfortable – shoes, you will certainly have calluses again if you don’t continue treatment. Remember, your skin grows back, and a callus is nothing but hard, thickened skin. To keep calluses away, you need a regular skincare routine to defend your soft, pretty, baby feet.
If you have existing calluses, the first step is callus removal. You have to remove the armor-like shell to access the flesh beneath. Once you remove your calluses, you can begin preventive treatments. Invest in a good, strong moisturizer for your feet. Many companies develop specialized creams for callus-prone feet. Regular application keeps skin soft. Exfoliating once a week or so will remove buildups of dead skin before they have a chance to harden. This isn’t a one-and-done treatment, but so long as you keep wearing sandals, moving around, and rocking those high heels, you need to take the extra step in callus prevention.
Calluses are just a sign that you use your feet, and unfortunately that means they keep coming back. No single treatment can remove and prevent returning calluses. Fortunately, the right combination of products can. To keep your feet soft, you need a routine. Creams and lotions are great for your skin, and regular treatment will help keep your feet soft. If you take care to gently remove extra skin with something like a pumice stone before it builds up, you’ll prevent future calluses.