When given the choice between thickened, hardened skin or soft, smooth skin, the question is really a no-brainer. No one wants to have rough, scaly, or callused skin, especially in prominent parts of the body such as the hands and feet. Areas of tough, thick skin, also known as calluses, most commonly occur on parts of the body where excessive friction or pressure occurs. Calluses are definitely not a desirable skin trait, but it is often possible to treat them at home or to seek professional help to remove them.
While not indicative of a serious health condition, calluses can be unsightly and troublesome to those who have them. They can be somewhat painful as well as being a pain to remove. The success rate and ease of callus removal typically depends on the size and thickness of the callus as well as its location and the amount of time it’s been there. With a little patience and determination it is possible to remove the calluses on your hands and feet so you can enjoy soft and smooth skin instead.
Various Causes of Calluses
Calluses most commonly occur on the hands and feet where your body experiences continual pressure or friction. Certain activities make it more likely that you will find calluses on your skin – namely sports, exercise, and regular activities involving tools or similar equipment. Weightlifting and running are a few examples where calluses tend to form on the hands and feet. Playing sports in cleats also lends itself to callus formation.
Don’t play sports? Don’t own any tools? You aren’t necessarily immune to developing calluses. Shoes that rub or those that are just a bit too tight also have the ability to inflict calluses on your poor feet. No matter how much you love those heels, they could be the cause of misery for your feet.
Clinical Treatments for Calluses
In certain cases it makes the most sense to have a medical professional assist you with your callus removal. Diabetics especially may wish to enlist the care of a physician for callus remedies. The doctor can remove calluses with a small knife during an office visit. Rarely, a callus may benefit from more extreme treatment like surgery when caused by the patient’s own bone structure.
Most times calluses can be removed easily and effectively at home with the right products and active ingredients. Doctors can advise you on effective home remedies such as those mentioned below.
At-Home Remedies for Calluses
Many times it is possible to treat calluses safely and effectively at home. You can gently buff away the callus with a pumice stone or skin smoothing file. If you are working on removing calluses on your feet, consider doing a nice foot soak before using any kind of pumice stone or file. Women may enjoy turning this activity into an all-out pedicure, softening all the skin on the feet, applying a nice lotion, and painting the toenails in a pretty shade to match the season. For an added bonus of comfort, put on a nice and fuzzy pair of aloe-infused socks once all steps are complete.
...salicylic acid helps to soften and wear down calluses.
Another option is to try for callus removal is to apply a callus removal product (often marketed as liquid callus removers) with salicylic acid as the active ingredient. This at-home callus removal treatment should greatly improve the appearance and texture of the calluses, effectively removing them over time. Be sure to follow all instructions and wash your hands after use.
Sometimes the best option of all is to isolate the issue causing the calluses and put a stop to it. If your shoes are causing calluses, try to wear loosely fitting shoes or slippers more frequently to take some of the stress off of your feet. You can also try orthotics or gel insoles to help cushion your feet. If you are experiencing calluses as a result of excessive weight-lifting, consider wearing gloves when you lift or take a break from lifting for a week or two.
Effective Ingredients in Callus Removal Products
As one of the most common callus removal ingredients, salicylic acid helps to soften and wear down calluses. Once the skin is softened, it becomes much easier to remove the callus using a pumice stone or file. Salicylic acid can be highly effective in callus removal, but its potency can also have negative impacts on more delicate surrounding skin. For best results, use a q-tip or another small beauty implement to help you target only the callused area with this effective ingredient. Derived from willow tree bark, this is the only FDA approved callus remover ingredient.
The organic compound urea acts as an intensive moisturizer that dramatically softens callused skin. After the urea works its magic, a file or pumice stone can help to further soften and remove the callus. A third ingredient used in some callus removal products is potassium hydroxide, which is an inorganic compound that also softens tough skin to make filing away the deadened callus cells easier.
Most times calluses can be safely worn down and removed in the comforts of home. The next step after identifying a callus is to select a callus removal method you are comfortable trying. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with your doctor or podiatrist.