How to Remove Hard Skin

The experts weight in on how to soothe your soles

Hard, dry and flaky feet are an issue for many of us at the best of times. According to a recent survey by the College of Podiatry, 45% of women suffer from painful cracked heels, with 10% saying no thanks to open-heeled shoes as a direct result.

Women from all over the world come to my clinic to help with their hard, dry feet, celebrity podiatrist, Margaret Dabbs, tells WH. It’s extremely common, but it’s also very easy to cure. You just need to work out the best option for you.

While heading to the salon for a pedicure is a good shout, in this instancce, know that at-home treatments can still work a charm. Not sure where to start? Lets dig into how to remove dead skin on your feet.

Hard Skin Removal: How to Do It at Home and Keep It from Growing

Repeat the process daily until the hard skin is completely gone. Avoid over-filing and over-scrubbing on your first try — this can irritate the surrounding skin and lead to more injuries. Read more about how to use a pumice stone.

Another way to prevent hard skin is to regularly use a moisturizing lotion. This helps keep skin tissues from drying out. Try to apply it immediately after taking a bath or shower. If you have very dry skin, you may need to apply it several times a day.

For added benefit, look for a lotion that contains alpha hydroxyl acid, which helps to gently remove built-up skin. Try this one by Amlactin.

You may first need to determine why the hard skin developed in the first place. For example, if it’s the result of friction from using certain tools or wearing a particular pair of shoes, you’ll need to avoid these items to prevent future cases of hard skin.

Depending on the underlying cause, you may need prescription antibiotics or antifungals in tablet or cream form.


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
  • What causes hard, dry skin on your feet?

    There are many reasons why you build up hard dry skin on your feet. During the winter months, when the weather is colder and our feet are often hidden away, hard skin is more likely to develop – simply down to the lack of care theyre getting.

    Then theres all that pavement pummelling that could cause dry skin to accumulate on your soles, in order to protect your feet against blistering.

    Your ethnicity might even come into play. Studies have found that Black skin has lower ceramide levels than Caucasian and Asian skin types, predisposing people with darker skin to drier skin and in turn: hard, cracked heels.

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