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Foot calluses are a seemingly inevitable part of life, even for non-farmers. In a way, calluses are a good thing – they’re there to protect us by making our skin tougher in certain spots, allowing us to work without scratches or scrapes. As someone who works on your feet, you don’t want them to be too delicate. Calluses aren’t usually painful, and they don’t indicate a medical problem in themselves.

However, if your calluses are bothering you, you don’t have to live with them. You can safely shave down your calluses and keep your feet soft and smooth. Here’s how to do it.

  • Soak in warm water. Before you do anything, soak your feet in warm water for about 5 to 20 minutes. You can add apple cider vinegar or castor oil to the water to help soften the skin. When your feet soft and lubricated, they’re ready for the next step.
  • Gently rub. After soaking your callus, use your finger or a pumice stone to rub the area in a circular motion. There are also foot files and even electric shavers precisely for this purpose. Be gentle, and go slow! You’re not going to remove the entire callus at once, but rather over a few sessions. In fact, your goal should not be to totally remove the callus, but rather to make it smoother. Removing it completely can damage your skin.
  • Apply lotion or cream daily. Look for products with salicylic acid, ammonium lactate or urea, which gradually soften calluses. Since you’ve just rubbed the heck out of your skin, you’ll also want to make sure to apply a thick foot cream for moisture daily.
  • Use a callus pad. Use a non-medicated callus pad to keep your skin safe from irritation while it heals. These adhesive pads are made of felt.

If you’d like to prevent more calluses from forming in the future, make sure your shoes fit properly, wear thick socks, avoid walking barefoot, and keep your toenails trimmed. Exfoliating your feet with a foot scrub or pumice stone on a regular basis is also helpful.

Up Next:

Treating Common Foot Issues: Fungus

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