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How to Get Rid of Calluses

How to Get Rid of Calluses

Corns and calluses on feet is a problem faced by many people. Calluses on bottom of feet are irritating, rarely painful, but usually not harmful. Both the corns and calluses on feet are thick and hard layer of skin, generally formed due to pressure on feet or due to some type of friction your feet experience.

What is the Difference between Corns and Calluses on Feet

A callus forms on a foot at a point where it goes through pressure or friction, generally on the ball or heel of the foot and it assumes a shape accordingly. Corn, on the other hand, can be defined as a type of callus with a definite shape and the one that usually develops between the toes.

To be precise, a corn is a cone-shaped callus. It has a knobby core which points inward and thus gives you a thorn-like prick whenever you walk or pressure is applied to it.

Calluses are generally larger than corns and are yellowish or pale. They feel lumpy when you touch them but generally this feeling is rare because the very thick skin at the site of callus makes it less sensitive to touch. In general, calluses are not painful but they can become sore if you let them grow.

[Don’t Miss: How to Get Rid of Corns on Toes]

Causes of Calluses

The foremost cause of calluses as well as corns is extreme pressure or friction on the skin of feet. Now what causes this pressure or friction can be also be taken as the causes of calluses.

Badly chosen shoes

This can be anything- tight shoes, loose shoes or the one with high heels. Any type of ill-fitted shoes are enough to give you calluses on the bottom of feet or in fact even above it.

  • Tight shoes- lead to compression of larger parts of your foot.
  • Loose shoes- Because they are not a perfect fit, they would lead to sliding, rubbing or friction and cause calluses.
  • High heels- not only they compress your feet but also put undue pressure on a particular point even when you are standing and not walking.

Sometimes, when there is a seam or stitch inside the shoe that has not been treated well and that rubs along your feet, may also cause callus.

Wearing shoes without socks

When you wear your shoes without socks, you are leaving enough scope for friction to be caused between your feet and the shoes. The same is true when you do wear socks but they do not fit properly. In such a case, your feet would slide and rub along the socks that would again rub against the shoes. This is also a major cause of calluses.

Walking without shoes

Corns and calluses on feet usually develop because the skin there is trying to protect itself by becoming hard. This way it can save itself from getting injured due to any undue pressure or friction. The same happens when you walk barefoot on hard surfaces. The skin hardens itself to protect itself leading to formation of calluses.

Using tools and equipment

Of course, you generally do not use any tool or equipment with your feet. We are talking about the calluses on hands here. Yes, calluses not only form on feet but on hands too! There are many tools that you might be using in your daily routine such as gardening tools, plumbing or mechanical tools and even musical equipment! These all either put pressure or lead to friction against your soft palms leading to calluses on hand. We will later also talk about how to get rid of calluses on hands.

Other causes of calluses

  • If you have too sweaty feet, you are at the risk of developing calluses
  • If your work involves staying in a standing position for a long time during the day, then also you may get more calluses.
  • If you suffer from such foot problems as hammer toes or bunions, you are more prone to develop calluses.

As said earlier too, calluses are generally not harmful but you must treat them as soon as you notice them otherwise your discomfort will increase with the growing size of the callus. However, if you suffer from certain medical conditions like diabetes, you need to pay more attention towards removing calluses. As diabetes leads to poor blood flow towards your feet, you need to take greater care of your feet. In lack of such foot care, you may develop complications related to calluses such infections or ulcers of skin. So, how to remove calluses on feet! Here are some ways for getting rid of calluses!

How to Get Rid of Calluses on Feet

When you go to your doctor for the treatment of calluses, he can give you medicines for removing calluses or he may recommend trimming of the excess hardened skin from the site of callus. However, you can avoid all this if you decide to get rid of calluses naturally.

Epsom Salt Soak to Get Rid of Calluses

When you soak your hands or feet in warm water, you facilitate softening of the skin there. It really helps in removing calluses from feet or hands wherever they are. A warm soapy water is all you need but if you want to speed up the process of removing calluses, you may like to add specialized ingredients one of which is Epsom salt. Epsom salt speeds up the process of softening the hard callus made of thick dead skin. Here is how to remove calluses on feet by soaking them in Epsom salt water. You can use this remedy to get rid of calluses on hands too!

Get this:

  • Epsom salt- 3-4 tsp
  • Foot basin
  • Warm water- enough to cover your feet in the basin
  • Towel
  • Pumice stone

Do this:

  • Fill the basin with warm water.
  • Add the Epsom salt and mix well.
  • Now place your feet (or hands) in this water.
  • Soak them for about half an hour.
  • If you feel the water getting cool midway, add some more warm water.
  • After about 30 minutes, take out your feet or hands out of the water and start rubbing the callus with the pumice stone.
  • Rub them till the hard and thickened skin seems to become soft.
  • Now wash them once again and pat dry with towel.
  • Apply some moisturizer.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times a week depending upon the severity of your calluses.

Use Baking Soda to Get Rid of Calluses

Baking soda has been widely accepted as a good natural exfoliator. The fine crystals in baking slough off the dead cells and make your skin soft. Because the skin of calluses is very thick and hard, you might need to use baking soda for a number of times to remove calluses from your feet.

Get this:

  • Baking Soda- 3 tbsp
  • Warm water to soak
  • Basin

Do this:

  • Add baking soda to the warm water in the foot basin.
  • Soak your feet in this water for half an hour.
  • Don’t forget to pat dry and moisturize after soaking.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a week initially and then once a week. 

Chamomile Tea for Removing Calluses

Chamomile tea is not only aromatic and soothing to your nerves but it can even help you get rid of calluses. This is because it brings the pH level of your skin to what is best suited for feet that sweats extremely. Remember one of the causes of calluses is sweaty feet! So, if you sweat a lot at your feet (or hands) and this causes calluses, go for a chamomile tea soak.

Get this:

  • Chamomile tea – 1-2 tsp or 1-2 tea bags
  • Warm water- 4-5 cups
  • Soap and water for washing

Do this:

  • Make tea by soaking the tea or tea bags in warm water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Now transfer this tea to a foot basin.
  • Soak your feet in this for half an hour.
  • As tea may give some stains to your feet, wash them with soap and water.
  • Pat dry and apply moisturizer
  • Repeat 2-3 times a week.

Apple Cider Vinegar to Get Rid of Calluses

Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature. This acidic property of ACV helps you a lot in softening the skin that can be then removed to get rid of calluses. Also, vinegar balances the pH levels and thus its good for those too who have sweaty feet. You can even use plain vinegar if ACV is not in your instant reach.

Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Calluses

  1. Take a cotton ball and soak it in apple cider vinegar. Now with the help of a tape, secure it over your callus. Leave it overnight. In the morning, use a pumice stone to scrub your feet on the site of callus to get rid of the softened dead skin of calluses.
  2. Take half a piece of bread and soak it in apple cider or white vinegar. Now take the soaked bread which would have turned soft till now due to thorough soaking and place it over your callus. Secure it with a cotton gauze and a tape. Leave it like this overnight or at least for few hours. Rub with pumice stone, wash and moisturize.

Use Lemon Juice to Get Rid of Calluses

Lemon juice, just like apple cider vinegar, has this quality of being acidic. Natural acidic substances are not harmful for your skin and can wonderfully soften the hard skin of calluses. You can thus scrub it off and remove your calluses. However, it may dry out your skin and thus you need to mix it with something that will retain or restore the snatched moisture from your skin. Here in this remedy, olive oil has been sued for the purpose. You can also use other oils like coconut oil. And the third ingredient of this remedy is the good old baking soda and you know why! Yes because it exfoliates excellently to slough off the dead skin.

Get this:

  • Lemon juice- 2-3 tbsp
  • Olive oil or coconut oil- 1-2 tsp
  • Baking soda- enough to make paste.

Do this:

  • Combine lemon juice and the oil.
  • Now add baking soda to make a smooth paste, a little thicker so that it doesn’t just slides down but stays on your callus.
  • Now apply some of it on your callus and leave for at least about half an hour before washing off.
  • If needed use a cotton gauze to secure it in place.

Make Sugar Scrub for Removing Calluses

When it comes to a scrub recipe for removing calluses, sugar scrub is also an effective one. For a rather stubborn dead skin lump as the callus, the sugar granules work fine to exfoliate. Here is such a recipe of sugar scrub that uses mineral oil to keep your skin moist as the scrub works to eliminate the dead skin. The lemon essential oil in the recipe soothes your skin and also work to make it soft so that you can remove the callus easily.

Get this:

  • Granulated sugar-  ½ cup
  • Mineral oil- enough to make loose paste
  • Lemon essential oil- few drops

Do this:

  • Combine sugar, mineral oil and lemon oil to make a loose paste. It should have such consistency that makes it easy for you to rub on your calluses.
  • Now take some of this paste and start rubbing your callus with this.
  • Massage in circular strokes for about 15-20 minutes or till you feel no more sugar crystals.
  • Now wash off with lukewarm water.
  • Moisturize your feet or hands.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a week.

Pineapple Remedy to Get Rid of Calluses

Pineapple has been becoming more and more interesting as the many researches are finding out its amazing properties. This delicious fruit has a very useful peel that can help remove your calluses. One of the enzymes found in the pineapple peel amazingly soften the calluses and help you to remove it.

Get this:

  • Pineapple peel
  • Clean cloth or cotton gauze and tape

Do this:

  • Take a piece of pineapple peel, big enough to cover whole of your callus.
  • Place it on your callus in such a way that the inside of the peel touches your callus.
  • Now wrap a cloth around the peel securing it over the callus. You may also use a cotton gauze in place of cloth which can be secured with the help of a tape.
  • Leave it overnight. If not, at least leave it for several hours so that it can work to remove the callus.
  • Repeat daily till you get rid of callus.

You can also use pineapple juice in place of its peel. How can be learnt from the next remedy for callus.

Pineapple Juice-Coconut Milk Soak for Callus Removal

As you now know, pineapple contains an enzyme that softens and removes calluses effectively. Coconut milk in this scrub recipe helps lock the moisture in your skin.

Get this:

  • Pineapple juice- 2-3 cups
  • Coconut milk- 1 cup
  • Warm water to soak
  • Foot basin
  • Pumice stone

Do this:

  • Take the warm water in the foot basin. Ensure that it is a little hotter than just warm because the quantity of pineapple juice and coconut milk may make it cold.
  • Now add the juice and coconut milk to this. Mix well.
  • Soak your feet or hands in this water for 20-25 minutes.
  • Wash off with warm water.
  • Use the pumice stone to scrub off the softened callus.
  • Wash off again and pat dry.
  • Apply moisturizer.
  • Repeat 1-2 times a week.

Papaya Foot Mask to Remove Calluses

Papain is an enzyme found in various parts of papaya like its leaves, roots, and the fruit. Papain facilitates breakdown of proteins through a process called hydrolysis which is by adding water molecule. The peel of the green papaya or the raw papaya has this enzyme in abundance. If you look at its usage, it is used to tenderize meat that can explain how it can also be used for softening the calluses. Papain is also used in various commercial products meant to cure ulcers and swelling. Thus, using it for callus removal seems a good option.

Ways to Use Papaya for Calluses

Here are some ways to use raw papaya for curing calluses.

  1. Grate a piece of raw papaya and extract its juice by squeezing. Now take about 1 tsp of this juice and apply to your callus. Do this twice a day.
  2. Soak a cotton ball in papaya juice and place this cotton ball on your callus. Secure it using a tape or gauze or a cloth. Leave overnight. Repeat daily till you get rid of calluses.
  3. You may also use raw papaya pulp by grinding papaya. Just place this pulp over your callus and hold it with cotton gauze.

Use Liquorice to Remove Calluses

Liquorice is used in many home remedies for various conditions but you might not have imagined that it can be used to remove calluses too.  Liquorice has a component which is compared with estrogen. This component of liquorice soften the hard skin of callus. Thus it makes a great remedy to get rid of calluses and corns too.

Get this:

  • Liquorice sticks- 3-4
  • Sesame or mustard oil (or any other oil like olive or coconut oil)-

Do this:

  • Grind the liquorice and mix it with oil to get a paste like consistency.
  • Apply this paste to your calluses before going to bed at night.
  • Wash off in the morning.
  • Repeat daily till you get rid of calluses.

How to Prevent Calluses on Feet

Here are some tips to prevent calluses on feet.

  1. Always buy shoes have a perfect fit. Don’t be in a hurry when buying shoes. Wear them in store and walk for quite some time there only. This will make you take proper decision about the fitting of the shoes and whether you should buy it.
  2. Avoid wearing heels. They put undue pressure on the balls of your feet and cause calluses.
  3. You may consider padding your shoes with special shoe liners made to get rid of calluses.
  4. Never wear shoes without socks.
  5. Always wear socks that fit you properly.
  6. Always keep your feet clean. Dirt or any other particle on feet that goes within the shoes with your feet cause friction leading to calluses.
  7. Always keep your feet dry. Wet shoes not only give rise to fungal infection of feet like athletes foot or toenail fungus etc. but also lead to friction and cause calluses and corns on feet.
  8. To keep your feet dry, you can use corn-starch or baking soda. Sprinkle a little of any of these to keep your feet dry.
  9. When you are up to walking for a long time or you prepare yourself for running, apply petroleum jelly to at least those areas of feet that might get lots of pressure. This trick will reduce friction
  10. Try to wear shoes made of natural materials like leather. This allows your feet to breathe.
  11. Apply moisturizer to your feet daily, at least twice- after shower and before going to bed.
  12. Before you moisturize your feet, do not forget to clean it properly. If you don’t have time to soak in warm water, at least wash your feet with water and soap and then apply moisturizer. Damp skin soaks in moisture very well.
  13. Exfoliate your feet once every week. If you cannot use specialized ingredients for scrubbing, just soak your feet in warm water for few minutes and rub it using pumice stone. Then wash it off again, pat dry and moisturize properly.
  14. While scrubbing is important to get rid of calluses but over scrubbing may lead to broken skin and then infections. So, avoid over scrubbing your feet.
  15. If you suffer from diabetes, be extra cautious when dealing with calluses and corns on feet. Diabetics tend to heal wounds slowly thus increasing the risk of infection. Talk to your doctor about getting rid of calluses.
  16. Never cut calluses yourself. If you are not able to remove calluses on your own through home remedies, go to your doctor for proper treatment.

How to Get Rid of Calluses on Hands

As told earlier too, the causes of calluses are similar for hands too- pressure and friction. And therefore, there’s nothing too different when it comes to get rid of calluses on hands. However, because hands have a softer skin than feet, you need to be extra careful while you prepare them to remove calluses. Here are some tips for you to remove calluses from hands.

  • Calluses on hands can be softened by soaking them in warm water with all those ingredients as we discussed above for foot calluses- lemon juice, salt, vinegar etc.
  • The scrubs too can be similar for hands- the ones made with baking soda, sugar, pineapple, papaya and liquorice.
  • What special care you must take when removing calluses from hands is to do it rather gently than you do for feet. This is because the skin of feet is little thicker than that of hands and greater pressure on hands can actually aggravate the problem.
  • Adopt a daily routine for hand care if you suffer from hand calluses. The next section tells you how to do so.

How to Care for Hands when You Suffer from Calluses

  • While you take shower every day, do this- towards the end of your shower, when your hands have had enough of water and soap and they are softer, use a pumice stone or a sand paper to gently rub the calluses on hands.
  • Then end your shower that means you wash off your hands too.
  • After shower, while moisturizing your body, pay special attention towards your hands. Moisturize it with some oil like olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
  • If oil seems to be too much a burden while working afterwards, use something that won’t feel oily but will still moisturize your hands perfectly. You can use a mixed solution made with glycerine and rose water. Glycerine is an excellent emollient that keeps your skin soft for hours together.
  • Make it a routine to give special manicure to your hands weekly. For this, soak your hands in warm water mixed with salt, soap and some essential oil like lemon oil, peppermint oil or wheat germ oil. Soak hands for about 20-30 minutes and then scrub it with something like a sugar scrub focusing on calluses. After that, wash your hands and moisturize it properly.
  • Whenever you work with some tool, use gloves to protect your hands against calluses. Ensure that gloves have perfect fit because like tight or loose shoes, a tight or loose gloves can also lead to rubbing and friction and may cause callus on.

Taking such a care will not only remove calluses on hands but will also prevent them from forming.

About Sara

Sara is a Boston-based registered dietitian who works with clients to improve their health by optimizing nutrition. You can find her running, sweating in hot yoga, cooking in the kitchen, dining out, or exploring. Eating Food-Mostly Plants, and improving our relationship with food, is the secret to lifelong health in her eyes.

One comment

  1. I have been using Grace Foot Callus Remover as a callus cure. It is a foot mask and removes calluses very effectively for long periods of time. Your suggestions are also very valuable. Thanks for the info on dry/callussed hands. The water is pretty harsh where I live and it has been destroying my hands. I will try your recommendations. 🙂

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