How to (permanently!) get rid of Corns and Calluses
Heads up! If you have diabetes or a health condition that causes numbness or circulatory problems, consult with your physician before trying any calluses or corns treatment.
Calluses and corns can be painful and unsightly.
I know, I had them too for waaay too long. So I can understand why you’re looking for a fix.
There are great products available to give you smooth and supple feet, like this electric callus remover or vitamin-oil callus formula. But if you like creating your own solutions, home remedies for calluses are cheap, effective, and definitely worth a try!
I shared a complete treatment below that incorporates the most effective and safe remedies.
But first....something very different for the adventurous type 🙂
Table of Contents
An unorthodox treatment of calluses is to get help from the so-called "doctor fish" (garra rufa). These fish remove dead skin cells and flakes of the epidermis, while they're eating algae that's around your skin. Apparently, they can even nibble away your calluses! See for yourself:
I’ve never done this at a spa, but I did have garra rufa nibble my feet in the ocean while on holiday on Mallorca. It took a bit getting used to, but I ended up really enjoying the experience! Unfortunately, there have also been some concerns about the doctor fish carrying certain harmful bacteria, and the poor living conditions of the fish at spas.
Not your cup of tea? No problem, moving on :)
What causes calluses?
Calluses and corns can form for different reasons. A common cause of a callus is working with your hands, playing an instrument, lifting weights, or having ill-fitting clothing/footwear that rubs constantly. Here is a complete list of the causes:
- oversized shoes (sliding)
- shoes that are too small/narrow
- change of temperature
- hard sole in shoes
- hot weather
- excessive sweaty feet
- wearing slippers
- no or small socks
- wrong posture
- Zinc deficiency and / or vitamin B
- poor hygiene
- incorrect position of the feet / bones (hallux valgus or hammer toe)
For me personally, I have always had calluses on my feet. My feet are small but wide, and most shoes are too narrow. I now pay attention to the width of shoes before I try them on in the shop.
When I started weight lifting, I also ended up having calluses on my hands, making them rough to the touch and unattractive. One tip I found helpful to avoid getting them while lifting weights was to use weight lifting straps which reduce the contact of the bar to your hands.
Corns and Calluses Treatment You Can Do Yourself
The homeremedies I share below will get rid of the dry and hard skin on your hands and feet, but you also need to stop them from coming back. So first determine why you have calluses in the first place. They usually can be prevented easily by making some minor adjustments in your life.
The first phase of treatment is to remove most of the dead skin cells that are causing the protrusion. This is ideally done in three steps: soaking, exfoliating and drying. Below you will find a description on how to do these steps, but I also made a cheat card you can print out or save on Pinterest:
Step 1: Soaking
There are several good soaks you can try out, and they're all ingredients you probably already have in the house.
Epsom salt is amazing for softening up calluses and corns! Add 4 tablespoons of Epsom Salt to your hand or foot bath and soak them for 20 minutes. You’ll be amazed how easily the calluses come off if you’re using a pumice stone.
Baking soda is another perfect ingredient for a soak: just add 3 tablespoons to the bath and soak for 30 minutes.
Try killing calluses with acid - crush five aspirin and mix the powder with a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of water. Cover the corn and let it sit for 10-15 minutes and scrub the sucker away after that.
Step 2: Exfoliating
After getting a nice soak, you can use a pumice stone or something similar to gently grind away some of the dead skin.
Take it easy!
Don’t try to do it all in one go or you could experience some sensitivity - instead try to wear down your callus or corn over a few sessions to get it down in size and hopefully reduce the daily pain. If the corn or callus is inbetween the toes which often happens when the bones in there rub together, you might have to use a smaller file as a pumice stone won’t fit in such a small space.
Alternative to Pumice
Alternatively if you don’t want to do any filing or grinding you can use other methods, which take a bit more work and time, but are gentle on your skin:
Take a freshly cut pineapple peel, and secure it on the affected area with a band aid. Leave overnight. Then repeat this process for seven nights, each night with a new peel. The enzymer in pineapple peel will dissolve the dead skin.
Cut some raisins in half and put them with the cut side on your calluses. Secure with plaster, and leave overnight. Repeat this until the callus is completely gone
Step 3: Drying
Keep your skin dry, as in not damp. Dry well after washing, also between your fingers and toes. You can use a bit of cornstarch to make sure all the crooks and nannies stay dry. Wear organic cotton socks, so your feet can breathe.
Once you have smooth feet and hands again, you should do the following to make sure they stay that way:
Protecting a callus or corn that’s painful is accomplished by using moleskin, or a circular shaped bandage with a hole in the middle to protect it from being pressed against while still allowing airflow.
To avoid pain, and also calluses/corns from coming back you should use proper fitting shoes, and always keep your hands moisturised. Avoid activities that would form calluses on your hands or use protective gloves.
Oils, scrubs and massage
Use oils and scrubs to keep your skin soft and supple. Massage with the oils to improve the blood circulation, and to make sure the oil reaches everywhere. I use organic extra virgin coconut oil on my hands and feet every morning and night, and it has not only kept the dry and hard skin away, but also cured my athlete’s foot!
One of my go-to scrubs, which is also great for your feet and hands, is the Sugar Coconut Oil Scrub recipe my buddy Elizabeth shared on my blog a while ago.
Ninja tip: Foot treatment while you walk...
These homeremedies will work great, but you might also be interested in something that works for you while you walk: Foot and Toe Sleeves. These soft and very flexible protection sleeves can keep your toes and sides of your feet free from any blistering, bunions, corns or calluses. There are fabric ones available, but I prefer the gel sleeves, as they are easier to clean and I find them more comfortable:
Dr. Frederick's Original Half Toe Sleeve Metatarsal Pads
You can get indidivual toe sleeves or a foot sleeve like in the picture, on Amazon here.
The tips here are fairly easy to follow and can all be completed right at home. The important thing to remember is to remove the issue that was causing the callus or corn in the first place! Otherwise it will just form again. Just keep that in mind, and you'll be fine 🙂
Good luck and Happy Feet 😉