Does it feel like the last time your feet felt soft you were still a baby? Calluses and hard skin on your feet have become the norm.
Fortunately, there are several easy and inexpensive ways to soften your feet and get rid of corns and calluses. The two most common feet-softening tools are a pumice stone and foot file.
Today we are going to look at the differences between these two and which one is best for your feet.
Pumice is a type of volcanic rock that is formed when hot lava mixes with water and cools rapidly as it hardens. It is porous (because of the rapid cooling) and has an abrasive surface which makes it perfect for scrubbing feet.
While it’s abrasive enough to slough off dead skin, it’s not too rough that it will irritate your skin or injure you. This makes it great for people with sensitive feet.
How to use a Pumice stone
You can use a pumice stone to get rid of calluses, corns and hard skin. If you have none of these, you can still use it to keep your feet supple and soft.
You should scrub your feet with a pumice stone 2 to 3 times a week. Using it more frequently than that can actually have the opposite effect. It will injure and dry out your skin, causing it to harden.
Before scrubbing with a pumice stone, soak your feet in warm soapy water with a few drops of baby oil. This will soften your feet, making it easier to remove the dead hard skin. It also prevents you from scrubbing too hard which could injure or irritate your feet.
Soak your feet for around 10 minutes. Then take a dry pumice stone and rub your feet in gentle rotating motions. Don’t be too aggressive; just enough pressure to exfoliate the dead skin.
Do not scrub a single area for more than 2-3 minutes and if you start to feel even a bit sore or sensitive, stop scrubbing.
After you are done, pat dry your feet with a towel and then apply foot cream or lotion to re-moisturise the skin. You can also apply coconut or almond oil. Any good quality moisturizer will do.
If you have really tough skin, it may take several treatments to see a big difference. Just be patient and do it regularly (max 3 times a week).
To take care of the pumice stone, scrub it using a brush and then lay or hang it somewhere airy to dry. If it remains with moisture, bacteria could develop inside the pores. It will also get smelly.
Boil it twice a month to keep it completely clean and hygienic.
Pros of a Pumice stone
- Gentle on your skin.
- Great for treating calluses and softening dry skin.
- Ideal for all skin types.
Cons of a Pumice stone
- For those with extra-hard skin or severe calluses it may take longer to get results.
A foot file is a handheld foot scrubber made from an abrasive material like emery or metal. It’s ideal when you have harder skin or tougher calluses that a pumice stone cannot get rid of.
Foot files come in many styles and variations. Some are more abrasive so as to remove tough calluses while others are softer and work to gently buff the skin. There are even electric foot files which save you the effort of scrubbing your feet.
How to use a Foot file
A foot file is used mostly in the same way as a pumice stone. Soak your feet first to soften them, scrub for several minutes and then moisturise and let them rest.
However, you need to be careful about which type of file you use. Most salon professionals will advise you to stay away from metal foot files.
They are too rough and will injure rather than soften your skin. This can actually cause your skin to harden more as it reacts to the injury. You’ll also be leaving your feet vulnerable to infections.
If you buy a metal foot file, be very gentle when using it. Scrub only gently and as soon as your skin has started to soften, switch to a gentler file such as emery or use a pumice stone.
Pros of a Foot file
- Great at removing tough calluses of softening hard skin.
- Available in many variations including electric.
Cons of a Foot file
- Some files are too abrasive and can cause injury.
Which one should you buy?
If your feet are just a little hard or you want to maintain your soft feet, get a pumice stone. It’s also the best option if you have sensitive feet.
If you have large calluses and extra-tough skin, a foot file or hard skin remover works faster and more effectively. But be careful not to injure your feet.