How to Remove Dead Skin from Feet: 7 Methods to Try

Like it or not, we’ve all had to deal with dead skin on our feet. Whether you take care of your feet yourself or schedule regular pedicures, if you go a little too long without looking after them, dead skin can build-up. If you’ve been slacking on your foot care routine, dry skin can lead to peeling feet and, even worse, cracked heels. While the thought alone is embarrassing, the good news is, there are a variety of ways to upgrade your skin care routine to keep your feet in tip-top shape.

Ready to say sayonara to dry skin on feet—from your heels to your soles to your toes? Keep reading to learn the major causes of dry skin well as seven skin care tips—including ones on how to remove dead skin from feet—to keep your feet in mint condition.

how do you get rid of dry skin on your feet

Avoid lotions that contain alcohol, which may dry out your feet more. Baby oil or petroleum jelly are usually safe. Soak your feet a few times a week and use a pumice stone or foot brush to gently exfoliate off dead skin. Avoid hot showers or baths, and rinse in warm water to prevent skin from drying.

1. Pumice stone

A pumice stone is a natural lava stone that can help remove dead skin and callouses from your feet.

  • Dip the pumice stone in warm water. You can also soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes to soften them.
  • Gently move the stone in a circular or sideways motion around your foot to remove dead skin. Focus on removing the top layer of the skin and not the entire area of dead skin, which will help promote healthy cell turnover.
  • Apply lotion or oil afterward to help soften your feet.
  • Never use a pumice stone on injured or sore areas.

    2. Paraffin wax

    Many nail salons offer paraffin wax as an add-on for a pedicure treatment.

    Paraffin wax is a soft wax that’s melted at a medium temperature of around 125°F (51°C). The wax shouldn’t be hot enough to burn or irritate your skin.

    You can also do a paraffin wax treatment at home using an at-home paraffin wax bath, or you can melt the wax in a sauce pan and then transfer it to a bowl for dipping your feet.

    During a paraffin wax treatment, you’ll dip your feet in the wax several times. After several layers of wax are applied, wrap your feet in plastic.

    After the wax hardens, you can remove the wax. Any dead skin on your feet will be removed along with the wax. Your feet should feel soft afterward.

    Do not use paraffin wax if:

  • you have poor blood circulation
  • you have a rash or open sore on your feet
  • you’ve lost feeling in your feet, such as from diabetic neuropathy
  • If you use paraffin wax at home, be very cautious and monitor the temperature of the wax with a candy thermometer.

    Most pharmacies and drug stores sell different foot scrubs over the counter. Look for one with granules that will help scrub away dead skin.

    Or, you can even make your own by diluting two tablespoons of sea salt into equal amounts of baby oil and lemon juice.

    To use a foot scrub, apply the scrub directly to your foot and rub gently with your palm. Or use with a foot scrub brush or sponge to remove dead skin.

    Rinse scrub thoroughly with warm water after use.

    3. Pumice stone or foot file

    People can use a pumice stone or metal foot file to remove dry skin and calluses from the feet.

    They can do this by following the steps below:

    People can buy pumice stones in drug stores or choose between brands online.

    Regularly moisturizing the feet will help reduce existing dry skin and prevent new dry skin from accumulating. Moisturizing the feet after using an exfoliator or a pumice stone will help the skin lock in moisture.

    It is best to avoid lotions, creams, and moisturizers that contain alcohol, added fragrances, and artificial colors as these ingredients can worsen dry skin.

    Instead, a person should look for products that contain:

  • humectants, such as urea, aloe, and hyaluronic acid
  • emollients, which include plant-based butter and oil
  • occlusives, such as petrolatum, lanolin, and coconut oil
  • 5. Wear moisturizing socks to bed

    For extra hydration, a person can try using moisturizing gel-lined socks. These are available to purchase online, or people can create their own.

    Gel-lined socks contain natural oils and vitamins that help hydrate and repair dry skin on the feet. The individual just needs to slip on a pair and wear them around the house for a few hours. Afterward, they can place the socks in the washing machine and let them air-dry.

    People can get similar results using their usual moisturizer and a good pair of cotton socks. At bedtime, they can apply a generous amount of moisturizer to the feet before slipping on a pair of breathable, cotton socks. In the morning, they should remove the socks and rinse the feet.

    People can use the following tips to help prevent dry skin on their feet:

  • practicing proper foot hygiene, which includes thoroughly cleaning the feet, removing dead skin, and keeping the skin hydrated with a good moisturizer
  • avoiding lotions, soaps, and body washes that contain alcohol, added fragrances and colors, and other potential irritants
  • using warm, rather than hot, water for showers, baths, and foot soaks
  • wearing shoes that fit correctly
  • instead of vigorously rubbing the feet after a shower, gently patting them dry with a clean towel
  • Wearing the wrong shoes or spending too much time standing can result in dry, itchy feet and areas of irritated or scaly skin. Without treatment, dry skin can thicken and crack open, leaving the feet vulnerable to infection.

    People can use pumice stones, exfoliators, and foot soaks to remove dry skin from their feet at home. Regularly applying moisturizer and removing dead skin will help keep the feet healthy and hydrated.

    Certain medical conditions, such as eczema, hypothyroidism, and diabetes, can cause very dry skin on the feet.

    People who have severely dry skin on their feet might want to consider contacting a specialist foot doctor called a podiatrist or another healthcare professional to discuss possible treatment options.

    Last medically reviewed on April 8, 2019

    1. A pumice stone or foot scrub

    Exfoliation gets rid of dry, dead skin, revealing the softer, smoother skin underneath. You can exfoliate using a pumice stone or an over-the-counter foot scrub, preferably after a shower, bath or foot soak in warm water (add a little Epsom salt for good measure), when the skin is soft. If you use a pumice stone, don’t be overly aggressive. Apply a moisturizing cream when you’re done.

    Do not exfoliate your feet if you have sores or open wounds.

    WHAT CAUSES DEAD SKIN ON YOUR FEET?

    Dead skin on your feet is the result of unmanaged dry feet. Ever ask yourself, “Why are my feet so dry?” Well, per the Mayo Clinic, there is a multitude of potential reasons for dry skin on the feet, including regularly exposing your feet to hot water during baths and showers and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. They also share that the weather could be to blame for your dry feet. The wintertime combination of low humidity and frigid temperature levels can cause your feet to become dry.

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