How to Get Rid of Calluses

Three Methods:The Standard ApproachHome RemediesProducts to Try

Calluses on your hands and feet form because of dry skin or too much friction on one area of the skin. They can cause discomfort and misery in addition to just being downright annoying. Here is a how-to guide on getting your skin soft and smooth again.

Method 1
The Standard Approach

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    Soak your hands, feet or elbows in warm/hot water for ten minutes. The skin should start to soften. You may add Epsom salts, bath oils, or even tea if you like, but they're not necessary.
    • Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar if your calluses are harsh. (Warning: do not add vinegar if you have diabetes or poor circulation.)
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    Using a pumice stone, or foot file, scrub your calluses. Be sure to periodically clean the stone or file. Do not overly scrub your feet/hands. 5 minutes is enough time. You want to slowly take down the callus over a month or so. If you begin to feel pain or after you have removed a couple layers of skin, stop.
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    Wash your feet/hands. Make sure that you clean off all of the dead skin.
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    Pat dry and rub lotion on your feet/hands. Use a thick foot or hand lotion to hold in extra moisture. Lotions with Urea in them are particularly good.
    • If you are about to go to bed, put on socks or gloves to hold in the moisture and lotion.
    • Repeat this entire process at the end of every week.
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    Maintain your soft hands/feet. Reapply lotion to the callused area after showering. Use a thicker cream for the best results.

Method 2
Home Remedies

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    Use aspirin to soften your calluses. Crush five or six tablets of aspirin and mix them with one-half teaspoon (3 g) of lemon juice and water. Apply the resulting paste to the affected area, then wrap it with a warm towel and cover it with a plastic bag. Leave it for about ten minutes and then remove the coverings. Scrape off the calluses with a pumice stone.
    • Again, if you're diabetic, don't try this treatment. Also, if you're allergic to aspirin, do not use this method.
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    Try baking soda. One of the best ways you can treat corns and calluses is with a warm-water soak. This loosens the dead skin and helps with healing. Add 3 tablespoons baking soda to a basin of warm water and soak -- baking soda has a pH of 9 and is therefore alkaline and can disrupt the skin barrier.[1]
    • Or massage calluses with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.[2]
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    Put chamomile tea in your soak. Soaking your feet in diluted chamomile tea can be soothing and will temporarily change the pH of the skin to help dry out sweaty feet. The tea will stain your feet, but the stain can be easily removed with soap and water.[2]
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    Utilize cornstarch. Sprinkle cornstarch between your toes to keep the area dry and protect the skin from breaking down. Moisture can make a corn or callus feel miserable and can promote fungal infections. [2]
    • This is more preventative than anything and should be used to eliminate discomfort.
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    Consider using vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and tape it to your corn or callus. Leave the vinegar-soaked cotton on overnight. In the morning, rub the area with a pumice stone.[2]
    • Make sure to attach the cotton ball only to the callus itself. You don't want to irritate the skin around it that is doing just fine.
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    Put a pineapple to good use. Pineapple peel contains certain enzymes which help in softening corns and calluses and removing them from the skin. Place a small piece of fresh pineapple peel over the affected area and wrap a clean cloth around it. Do this every night for a week. You can also apply pineapple juice to the corns.[3]

Method 3
Products to Try

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    Change your footwear. One of the most common causes of calluses is simply that the wrong shoe is being worn. If your shoes fit badly, calluses are more likely to form -- so go get yours personally fitted. They should be snug (but not hurt) and cater to the width of your feet.
    • Avoid heels whenever possible; they put all your weight on the ball of your foot -- a recipe for calluses, indeed. Wear flats whenever you can; they're more comfortable, too.[4]
      • If the calluses are on your hands, wearing padded gloves with a comfortable fit will alleviate and lessen the problem of developing calluses. Make sure that the gloves fit well; very loose gloves will do the opposite and irritate your skin more through the constant friction they produce.[2]
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    Pad your shoes. Calluses, corns, and bunions are not an uncommon phenomenon; as a result, a bunch of companies have started making shoe liners designed to get rid of them. Many are made out of moleskin and easily slip into your shoes in the shapes of strips or patches.[4]
    • For corns, use doughnut-shaped pads. They fit over the corn, decreasing pressure, rubbing, and friction. They're cheap and easy to find at most convenience or drug stores.[5]
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    Look into medicated solutions and pads. You don't necessarily have to go to a doctor to find medications to alleviate the problem; pads, plasters, and other medications can be found over-the-counter fairly easily. However, most of them contain salicylic acid as one of the active ingredients -- and this can cause irritation or infection that can be more annoying (or serious) than what you were originally dealing with. If you fit one of the following conditions, it's best to avoid these:[5]
    • If you have diabetes
    • If you have reduced feeling in your feet, either from circulation problems or from neurological damage
    • If you have poor eyesight or flexibility and may not be able to use the product properly


  • If you are diabetic, take extra care in dealing with your corns and calluses. Skin injuries -- even minor ones -- could cause sores that are slow to heal and could lead to infection.
  • If worst comes to worst, use bottled water.
  • It is best to make sure the water that you use doesn't have much chlorine or other chemicals in it that will dry your skin.
  • Rub it with Vaseline and massage the affected area for 5 minutes after 5 minutes wash the area with moisturising soap and when dry apply moisturiser and repeat process.


  • Do not overly scrub. You can get an infection from breaking too much skin.
  • Do not use any acidic callus removers; these will often make your skin even dryer.
  • If you have diabetes, do *not* remove the calluses yourself! This can worsen bad circulation.
  • Don't cut calluses at home. See a podiatrist, podologist or Esthetician instead.

Article Info

Categories: Skin Conditions