Though calluses on your hands and feet are a tried-and-true sign of a hard day’s work, they can be irritating and sometimes painful when they build up too much. Your skin toughening up after rigorous contact with handles, lifting things, playing instruments, and other day-to-day things causes calluses.
While they can be annoying, there are ways to prevent your skin from toughening up, and when it does, removing the calluses on your feet and hands. Most ways to keep your calluses under control involve moisturizing and soaking before removing the skin with a pumice stone, foot file, or other tool for removing thick, dead skin. Getting rid of calluses is a fairly easy process. Read on to find how!
Medical note** some steps in this article involve aspirin and diabetic triggers like apple cider vinegar. Be careful of what you use to clean your calluses if you are either allergic to aspirin or if you have diabetes.
1. Wear gloves and well-fitted footwear at work.
If you do lots of manual labour for your work, or if you play sports, you can prevent calluses from forming by wearing gloves and well-fitted boots or shoes regularly. For your shoes, it is important that they are not too tight or too loose, and the skin breathes well – with work boots, wear thick socks instead of thin ones, especially.
Wearing the appropriate hand and foot protection will not only prevent calluses from forming, but they will prevent other more serious injuries, such as serious cuts, fractures, and blisters. You should always wear the right safety gear in any work setting.
2. Soak and scrub affected areas often.
For skin that has built up over time, getting rid of the skin involves soaking the affected areas in water and using a pumice stone. First, soak your feet and/or hands in a basin of warm water for about ten minutes. Apply some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice if your calluses are particularly harsh, but do not do this if you are diabetic.
After you’ve soaked your feet and hands for a few minutes, take a pumice stone or foot file and scrub the skin away. Don’t scrub too hard, and ease up if you start to feel pain on your skin. After scrubbing a few layers of skin off, you will want to wash your feet and hands with soap and warm water, cleaning off the excess dead skin. After washing, apply a moisturizer to the affected areas to moisturize and replenish your skin.
Some things you can apply to water when you soak your hands and/or feet are chamomile tea, baking soda, and lemon juice.
3. Apply a cotton ball soaked in vinegar.
A cotton ball soaked in vinegar and strapped to the affected areas with gauze bandage is a good, natural way to loosen up your calluses before scraping them off. Vinegar will help loosen up the skin for you to buff it out more efficiently. Leaving the vinegar on for about 20 minutes or half an hour is the most effective way to do this.
4. Use moisturizers regularly.
Moisturizing your skin regularly with any one of the many moisturizers you can get at your local drug store or department store. For many, Aloe Vera moisturizers are the best – they not only moisturize the skin but also refresh it and cool it down, so if your calluses are particularly cracked, harsh, or painful, it is a good option.
Cocoa butter and shea butter based moisturizers are also great for calluses. Alternatively, if your calluses are more severe, there are intensive moisturizers designed for calluses that you can use.
5. Walk and play on the beach.
Walking on the beach and playing with the sand is a good way to soothe the calluses on your feet, especially. The gentle sand will help rub away some of the skin on your feet and also soothe the skin. This is certainly the most fun option on this list!
If you don’t live near a beach, a nearby lake should have some sand for you to use, or if you have children, maybe it’s time to build a sandbox in your backyard. Playing with sand can also be therapeutic, stress relieving, and a great time with the kids.
6. Use aspirin and a warm towel.
Crushed up aspirin is a good method to soften your calluses before scrubbing them with a pumice stone or another kind of file. If you are allergic to aspirin, do not do this step, of course. Crush up five aspirin tablets and mix them into a bowl with a teaspoon or lemon juice. After the mixture becomes a paste, apply the paste to the affected area and wrap it with a hot towel. Leave the mixture and towel on for a few moments
7. Just keep them.
Calluses are actually good for your skin, especially when you work with your hands and on your feet consistently. The calluses are harder to get cut and blister up, so it actually makes things easier for you if you work hard with your hands.
If you play the guitar or other stringed instruments, you will want to keep your calluses, as your fingertips will grip the fingerboard better and you will get a better tone from your strings and technique.
For athletes, calluses are especially good to give extra protection from hand blisters and more serious cuts and scrapes, especially on the hands.
As mentioned earlier, calluses can be good for your skin and are definitely the sign of a hard worker. They can protect your skin from more serious scrapes and blisters, but can also be irritating and cause self-consciousness, especially for women.
By all means, calluses are not a serious health concern, except perhaps if they are cracked and can get infected. However, there are many ways to get rid of them, and they mainly involve regularly moisturizing and gently scraping off the dead skin with a pumice stone, for instance. Good luck getting rid of your calluses! They are really not that hard to deal with, if you put in some effort.