The condition of your feet may be an afterthought until they start to hurt due to prickly, thickening patches that have formed on your skin. Those patches of hard, dead skin on the underside of your feet are calluses, typically caused by the friction of improperly fitting shoes.
Foot calluses are common and nothing to worry about, but they're annoying at times. There's no need to go to a podiatrist for the condition because you can take them off yourself with a callus remover. If you're hesitant to slough off your own skin, our buying guide will ease your mind and help you determine the best tool for your needs. Our top pick is from Care me: it's an electric callus remover that's safe, gentle, and worth the cost for its power and function.
Considerations when choosing callus removers
Manual vs. electric
Callus removers are available in manual and electric form. Manual callus removers eliminate calluses slowly since you're doing it by hand. Quickly rubbing the raspy surface of a manual remover against a callus removes small, simple patches of dead skin from your feet. Some manual removers may have an additional blade used to slice off a layer of ultra-thick skin.
Electric callus removers run either on batteries or electricity. The appeal is that they can work quickly and effortlessly to remove larger, thicker, and tougher calluses. An electric callus remover has a 360-degree rotating roller that can rasp and buff your callus at the same time. If you're working with a battery-powered remover, you may need to give it a frequent recharge.
There's nothing pretty about cleaning your callus remover of shredded dead skin after using it. The easier it is to clean, the better. Manual callus removers, with rasps typically made of stainless steel, need to be cleaned and disinfected in soap and hot water and thoroughly dried. If you choose, you could opt for an electric callus remover with detachable and replaceable roller heads.
LED illumination: It helps to have a little light to see exactly what you're scraping off. Electric models may come with a small LED light that aims at the spot you're removing.
Replaceable blades/heads: For safety and hygienic reasons, you might prefer to buy a manual callus remover that comes with extra blades or an electric callus remover that features replaceable heads. Buying replacement blades and heads can bump up your overall investment, but the cost is bearable. For example, a pack of 100 replacement blades can cost around .15 cents each. Replaceable electric roller heads may cost a little over $1.00 each.
Cleaning brush: Some electric callus removers come with a brush for cleaning the unit after use.
Wet/dry use: Manual callus removers can be easily used in the shower. Battery-operated models typically can only be used in dry environments. However, there are a small handful of models designed to be taken into the shower and used on wet feet, as well.
Manual callus removers range from $3 to $15, depending on the brand and the size of the rasped surface. Electric callus removers are more expensive, with the bulk of models falling into the mid-$20 range. Between $30 and $40, you'll find corded units and wet/dry battery-operated models.
Q. Can I cut off my callus with scissors?
A. Cutting the skin of a callus is tempting, but may cause more problems than it solves. When someone tries to pick or cut off a callus, podiatrists call this "bathroom surgery." If you cut too much or too deeply, you can create an open, bleeding wound that may become infected. Using a callus remover designed to do the job right is the safest way to handle the issue.
Q. Is a corn the same thing as a callus?
A. Corns and calluses are both caused by the build up of hard, dead skin, but they develop on two different areas of the feet. Corns appear in and around toes while calluses develop on the heel or bottom pad of the foot. If you can reach a corn with a callus remover, you may be able to eliminate the problem.
Callus removers we recommend
Best of the best: Care me Powerful Electric Foot Callus Remover
Our take: Keeps feet silky smooth when used as a maintenance tool for daily buffing and removal of everyday rough skin and calluses.
What we like: You don't need to exert much pressure on your calluses to remove them. The electric unit is comfortable in your hand, and the roller head is easy to clean.
What we dislike: It isn't tough enough to remove ultra-thick calluses.
Best bang for your buck: Microplane Colossal Pedicure Rasp
Our take: If you're grappling with a thick build-up of dead skin on the bottom of your feet, this manual callus remover handles the problem effortlessly.
What we like: The process is painless even though you're grinding off dead skin.
What we dislike: You have to go slowly and carefully when sloughing off the skin because this aggressive tool takes off calluses fast.
Our take: This manual callus remover is a two-in-one tool that removes both thick and thin patches of dead skin.
What we like: This tool has a stainless steel razor blade on the other end to handle the top layer of extremely thick calluses and a traditional rasp to remove and buff the rest of the callus. The slide-and-lock design keeps your skin safe while using either end.
What we dislike: The sharp razor blade may result in deep cuts if mishandled.
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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