The first time I tried Baby Foot, a Japanese foot peel that uses fruit acids to remove layers upon layers (and I mean layers you didn’t even know you had) of dry and dead skin from your feet, I had a moment of thinking: is this product going to peel right down to the bone? Don’t get me wrong. I found Baby Foot fascinating and, unlike the many years of pedicures, pumice stones, and now outlawed salon foot razors ever could, it worked. Sure, it was messy, involved wearing weird plastic booties for an hour, and forced me to abandon my cute sandals for two weeks while it proceeded to disintegrate every last bit of skin on my feet, but for the first time in my life–since I guess I was a baby–I had smooth, yes, baby feet.
Naturally, there had to be a catch.
The first thing to remember before you use a product like baby foot is that actual acids, regardless of whether they are called fruit acids, are used to help skin shed. And acids of any kind can cause sensitivity and chemical burns, says Dr. Jackie Sutera, a podiatrist and spokesperson for Vionic Shoes Innovation Lab. Therefore, it’s important that we proceed with caution.
“For most people, occasional use of this product is safe,” Sutera says. “Make sure you use it exactly as recommended. Do not reuse the product, share the product or leave it on for longer than recommended. Elderly, people with thin, infected skin or any openings/irritations should not use this. People with diabetes or circulation problems should also avoid this product.”
When in doubt, Sutera says she recommends a more gentle and traditional callus and dead skin removal method: grab a natural pumice stone, a quality foot cream and stop obsessing about removing every last trace of hardened skin. “Gentle use of a foot file or pumice stone can be used when the skin is softened after a bath orshower,” Sutera says. “Nightly use of foot creams with lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea can also gently and effectively remove rough, dry skin. It can even slow down the rate at which it grows back.”
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