Follow the steps below to safely soften and exfoliate your rough calluses.
1. Never attempt to do this with dry feet. Begin the process after a shower when your feet are soft and “relaxed,” says Correa.
2. After your shower, soak your feet in Epsom salt. Fill a container (or maybe the bathtub) with enough warm water to cover your feet up to your ankle. Add in the Epsom salt so they dissolve and allow your feet to soak for 15 minutes.
3. After your soak, dry your feet with a towel and apply a Urea cream to the callus(es) you’re going to soften. Urea, or uric acid, helps to break down and exfoliate the dead skin of the callus to make it easier to remove. Correa recommends a higher strength urea cream (at least 20%) for this step because “the skin of the foot doesn’t have follicles, so you need a bit more acidity on it so it can penetrate.” Really rub it into the callus and let it soak in.
4. Using a two-sided foot file, gently scrub the callus to help remove the (now softened!) dead skin. Be careful to not use too much pressure or press too hard because “too much pressure can irritate the healthy skin [around the callus],” says Correa. File the callus down until all the dead skin is removed. Use one side for your right foot and the other side for your left foot to avoid cross contamination. Also remember to thoroughly clean the file after you’re done with it (or opt for a version with replaceable files).
A word of caution: never use a scraper or anything sharp to shave or remove calluses, says Correa, as they can cut your feet too easily and cause way more damage than a file.
5. Once you’ve adequately filed down the calluses, apply another cream over the entire foot. Correa recommends a lower strength urea cream (around 10%) or a cream with hydrating jojoba or avocado oils. Only use a little bit—about the size of a fingernail. And always use cream that is specifically designed for feet.
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