It has come to my attention recently that every time I get a pedicure and ask the nail technician to remove my rock-hard calluses with a foot scraper, I am met with an almost pained look of uncertainty. They ask me to repeat myself. They repeat the words “foot scraper,” just to ensre I know what I’m getting myself into.
Did removing your calluses suddenly become like painting on frosted hair tips–a hopelessly outdated beauty ritual that is no longer in vogue?
The answer is complicated.
“There is a fine line between removing enough and removing too much foot callus,” says Dr. Jackie Sutera, a podiatrist and spokesperson for Vionic Innovation Lab. “It is bad to go too deep. Less is more. The deeper you go, the more prone you will be to sensitivity, infection and the callus growing back even thicker and harder.”
Sutera explains that there are bio-mechanical reasons why some of us, even those of us who are not dedicated runners, have thicker calluses than others. Basically, the body produces a callus to cushion bony areas or areas of higher pressures due to the bone structure/alignment underneath, she says. Atrophy or wearing away of the fat pad can cause the body to produce calluses as a replacement. And imbalances/asymmetries in the legs and feet can also cause them.
But let’s face it: we can be grateful to a callus for shielding our feet, but they don’t do a whole heck of a lot to make our feet look cute in sandals. Luckily, we can reduce the appearance of dry and hardened skin at home–and the key words to remember are: easy does it.
“When the callus is soft after a foot soak, bath or shower, use a pumice stone, foot file or one of the newer battery operated rotary devices to gently remove the callus,” Sutera says. “Go in one direction–not back and forth in a scrubbing motion, which makes skin rougher. Remember: less is more–don’t go too deep. Use a specially foot formulated moisturizer to help keep feet smooth and soft.”
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