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Dermatologists Say Baking Soda Removes Calluses From Your Feet Better Than Fancy Salon Treatments

Plus, it leaves your feet feeling soft and smelling fresh!

Whether your feet have been cooped up in confining boots during the winter, or you’ve spent the summer exposing foot skin to the harsh, drying summer elements, you’ve likely noticed how dry, rough and thick the skin on your soles and heels have become. And, sure, you could pamper your feet at a spa where they’ll charge you extra for a “callus removing treatment.” But $40 and a week later, the dry, hard skin will likely return with a vengeance. So we asked top foot experts for the best at-home remedy. And they agree: You can remove calluses easily with a baking soda foot soak.

What are calluses?

The dry, hard and often thick patches of foot skin are a result of an accumulation of keratin, a protein produced by skin to protect it against friction. Repeated friction on sensitive areas of the feet causes skin to form this hard protective layer of keratin. Calluses, which can appear on the sides of toes and bottoms of soles tend to get worse with each passing year because of moisture loss in skin as we age, says podiatrist Suzanne Levine, D.P.M.

And the patches of thick skin are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Unlike traditional removal methods that use harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing techniques to treat calluses, mildly exfoliating and moisturizing baking soda soaks are gentle, natural and effective at removing the rough patches – for good!

Why is a baking soda foot soak effective at removing calluses?

baking soda

Baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) has a variety of uses when it comes to skincare. Some people mix it with equal parts water and use it as a spot treatment to eliminate stubborn acne or massage it onto damp skin to nix flakiness. “Unlike many common chemical exfoliants, baking soda is not acidic or rough, so it’s the perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin,” says Ted Lain, M.D., a dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “It won’t cause scratches or burning.” Instead, the exfoliating powder gently whisks away dead cells while balancing skin’s pH to relieve dryness that comes along with issues like parched and flaky or callused skin.

Relaxing in a baking soda foot bath will help to soften hard, dry calluses and reduce their appearance over time, and is a much easier method than painfully scrubbing away at them with an abrasive pumice stone or foot file.

Even better? Because of its alkaline in nature, the white powder helps neutralize foot odor while also absorbing sweat – like a detox for your feet so they’ll smell fresh too!

One caveat: Using baking soda on your skin may cause redness and irritation. Always dilute it before using it in your skincare, and perform a test patch of your solution on your skin to check for adverse reactions. (Click through for more baking soda hacks)

What is the best way to make a baking soda foot soak to remove calluses?

The recipe is simple!

  1. Fill a large basin or foot spa with warm water
  2. Add in 2-3 Tbs. of baking soda and allow it to dissolve.
  3. Soak your feet in the mixture for 15-20 minutes.

That’s it! Once you’re done with your foot soak, towel-dry your feet and apply a cream containing ammonium lactate (which exfoliates), ceramides (which restore skin’s moisture barrier) and hyaluronic acid (a powerful humectant). One we like: CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream, (Buy from Amazon, $21).

For best results, do twice a week.

What else can I add to a baking soda soak for calluses?

In addition to baking soda, you can try mixing in different natural ingredients that will help boost the skin-softening benefits of your relaxing foot bath. For example, try stirring 1 cup of warm milk into your baking soda foot soak. Lipid-rich milk is a natural hydrator for tough, dry skin, and it contains lactic acid—another mild exfoliator that will help reveal soft and smooth skin underneath the callused areas. Other options: Stir in 1 cup of coconut milk (its fatty acids moisturize and gently melt away the hard layers of skin) or 3 Tbs. of honey (its humectant properties draw moisture into skin to further hydrate and soften feet).

This YouTube video shows the easy how-to!

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