How To Remove Hard Skin & Get Silky Soft Feet (In 5 EASY Steps!)

How To Remove Hard Skin & Get Silky Soft Feet (In 5 EASY Steps!)

 

A quick glance around during sandal season should tell you all you need to know - most of us don't give our feet enough TLC.

Overgrown toenails and chipped polish are just the beginning. Dead skin corns and cracked heels can leave us with truly ugly looking feet - no wonder so many of us are embarrassed to get them out.

Although we often feel judged for the condition of our feet, solace can be found in the fact it has little to do with personal hygiene. If you want to know how to remove hard skin and get soft feet once and for all, you've come to the right place!

Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in August 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2018.

What causes hard feet?

HOW TO SOFTEN FEET USING A DRYER SHEET
Silky soft!

We don't expect to wear shoes every day and them show no sign of wear, so why do we expect our feet to stay in perfect condition? It's easy to forget that we rely on our feet to do, well, pretty much everything. From walking to the sofa to running a half marathon, everywhere we go, our feet come with us.

All that movement takes its toll on our soles, and that's without factoring in other elements.

What causes hard skin on feet?

The main cause of hard skin on feet (correctly known as a foot callus) on the soles of our feet is intermittent pressure. This means that anyone who moves is more likely than not to experience foot calluses at some point during their life.

For people that move more - such as runners, hikers and long-commuters - foot calluses become even more likely.

There are certain factors which increase the chances and severity of foot calluses, including:

  • Being overweight
  • Having naturally flat feet
  • Having high arches

All of these result in uneven pressure on the soles of our feet.

What causes corns?

Corns are much smaller than foot calluses. They are small lumps of hard, dead skin with a central core, and usually found on top of or between toes (particularly the 4th and 5th toes). They can be rather painful, especially if left untreated.

Corns are caused by friction, and are often a result of ill-fitting shoes that repeatedly rub against the skin.

What causes cracked heels?

Cracked heels are perhaps the most unsightly of all. They occur when heels become dry, hard and rigid. When pressure is put on the feet, the skin can't give or expand, which causes it to crack.

Causes of dry skin, leading to cracked heels include:

  • Lack of moisturising
  • Long baths
  • Scrubbing feet dry

How to remove hard skin & make your feet soft

use empsom salts to get soft feet
Epsom salts are a great natural remedy for many things.

Whilst the removal of corns is best left to a doctor, cracked heels and calluses can be treated at home.

Follow our foolproof method to get silky soft feet in just five steps.

1. Try a foot soak

All foot treatments should start with a foot soak. This helps to soften the skin, and make it easier to remove.

Your foot soak should be carried out in a basin or bath of warm water. Additional ingredients can be added to the water to make it even more effective at softening feet.

Why not try adding:

  • The juice of a lemon - citric acid aids in the removal or dead skin cells.
  • A cup of white vinegar - rich in acetic acid which helps with skin removal and healing cracked feet.
  • A generous sprinkling of Epsom salts - great skin healing properties.
  • A cup of honey - known for its natural moisturizing benefits.

2. Remove dead skin on feet

Time to tackle that unsightly hard skin. Post foot soak, it should be softer and much easier to remove. Grab a pumice stone, and rub it over the soles of your feet in circular motions.

Be gentle on the arch of your feet, as there should be no foot calluses here, and instead, direct your attention to the soles and balls of the feet. Scrub away until the skin feels soft and smooth. If at any time your feet become sore or sensitive, stop.

3. Treat cracked heels

If your feet are looking really worse for wear, they may need additional treatment. DIY foot 'masks' will be able to penetrate deep into cracks and fissures and give them the nourishment they need. There are various, natural, at home treatments you can try. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Vaseline - slather the substance onto feet, being sure to massage it well into cracked heels. Tie a bag around each foot and leave to soak for an hour.
  • Oatmeal - mix 1 tbsp of oatmeal with a few drops of jojoba oil and massage onto feet. Leave for 20 minutes before rinsing and drying with a towel.
  • Rice flour - mix 3 tbsp of rice flour with 3 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Mix ingredients and apply to feet. Leave to work its magic fo 15 minutes before rinsing.
  • Coconut oil - massage into feet, pop on a pair of clean, cotton socks and leave to soak overnight.

4. Renourish skin using a moisturiser

Now all that nasty dry skin has been removed and cracked heels have been treated, it's time to apply a layer of moisture to soothe and soften the newly exposed cells.

Make sure feet are clean, then massage a thick layer of foot cream into the skin. It's best to use a specialised cream, as these are much richer than body moisturisers and will penetrate the skin more deeply.

5. Repeat your at-home pedicure regularly

coconut oil for soft feet
Keep up your routine if you want feet to stay soft.

By now, your feet should be looking and feeling a whole lot better. The care doesn't end there though. Often, one treatment enough isn't sufficient and the above steps should be repeated until your feet have completely recovered.

How to prevent dry, cracked feet

As with most things, the prevention of calluses, cracked heels and corns is much easier - and less unpleasant - than trying to treat them.

Try the following to prevent ugly feet:

1. How to correct your gait

If you've been unfortunate enough to have been born with flat feet, it may be worth going to see a specialist, such as a physio or a podiatrist. They will be able to provide you with insoles to put into your existing shoes which will even out the pressure put on the soles of your feet, preventing the build-up of hard skin in the future.

2. Foot moisturiser 

As they're often hidden in shoes, we tend to neglect our feet much more than other body parts. This is a big mistake, and will only encourage feet to become cracked and dry skin to develop.

Not only should feet be moisturised every day, but a specialist foot cream should be used. These are much thicker and contain ingredients that will nourish and soothe your tired feet, preventing foot calluses and cracked heels.

3. Wear shoes that fit

russell and bromley & adidas shoes
Invest in quality shoes that fit.

Ill-fitting shoes are one of the main causes of corns. As a general rule, if a shoe feels too snug, it's probably a bad idea.

If you really must have that pair of red patent brogues, be sure to stretch them out sufficiently before wearing them or visit a shoe smith who will be able to do this for you.

Comfortable feet are happy feet. Treat them well, and they'll look and feel much better for it.

 

Q&A

What are calluses? 

A callus is where a piece of skin on your foot has thickened or hardened because of friction. A callus can appear even if there is little to no rubbing.

How do you prevent calluses?

You can prevent calluses by wearing comfortable shoes. You can try adding insoles to make your shoes more cushioned. 

What causes hard skin on feet? 

There are a number of reasons why you might develop hard skin on your feet. These can include being overweight, having flat feet or high arches, or wearing uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes. 

Why are my feet swollen? 

You should see a doctor if you often experience swelling in your feet. It could be a sign of an underlying health problem. If your feet have swollen temporarily, it could be caused by the heat, your alcohol intake, or footwear. 

 

 

Here's to silky soft feet, all year round. Why not treat yourself to a spot of nail varnish too? How do you keep your feet soft? Let us know in the comments below.

Author

Stephanie C

Editor

Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Tracey Morgans on September 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you so much, since being In a wheelchair for some reason my feet are dreadful, very hard skin on the heel and also toe nails like concrete, I am going to try of these, thanks so much

    1. Author Stephanie C on September 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Tracey :) Oh it's our pleasure. Sorry to hear you've been having problems with your feet - we hope they improve soon!

    Reply
  2. Author Mastuh OSCG Ayteayteforefive (8845) on December 7, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    hello. I'm mastuh OSCG 8845 and I have a question. what can you use to get rid of calluses if you do NOT have a pumice stone nor a filer?

    1. Author Steph on December 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Hi Mastuh. Calluses must be treated as stated in the article. Hard skin, however, can be removed by using a rough flannel in circular motion after soaking. I hope this helps.

    Reply
  3. Author Jonathan Cartwright on December 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I have dry feet and i do my feet as much as possible can cos i am always on the go can you help

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Hi Jonathan. If you're struggling for time to care for your feet, why not try the old method of rubbing cream on them then wearing socks overnight? It will give them a deep, nourishing treatment and you will wake up with silky soft feet.

    Reply
  4. Author Miss Shirley Croy on December 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Hello Stephanie I have problem feet I have a corn on my right foot just below me big toe, & on me left foot well I don't know what it is, it's on the bottom of me foot on the part that you stand on when yer heels are off the floor, it's sore & the size of a 10p piece, I dig it out it's like layers of skin once i'v done that it eases a little bit. What do you think it is Stephanie ? I'v had it for about 3-4yrs now I think ! i'm 53 & wanna start taking more care of meself more please could you let me know what it possibly is & how I can treat it. Hope you can help me Regards Shirley.

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Hi there Shirley. Thanks a lot for your comment :) It's great news that you're wanting to start looking after yourself more - we hope to help you with that! I would personally recommend going to see your GP about this. Corns can be extremely painful if left. A cream/cushion from the pharmacy along with filing should help remove it. However, the sore on your foot sounds much more serious and I'd definitely book and appointment to get it looked at properly. I hope that helps! Thanks, Steph

    Reply
  5. Author Jonathan Cartwright on December 16, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I have dry feet cos on them all day and i try to do them when i have time

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Hi Jonathan. All that standing can quickly get on top of your feet! If you try and give them a quick bit of TLC every few weeks or so, they'ree look and feel much better for it.

    Reply
  6. Author Mastuh OSCG Ayteayteforefive on January 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Ma'am, can foot cream also work when it comes to making feet soft? I ASK because I want very soft feet & I am male with somewhat rough feet but I want my feet SO soft that it feels like velvet.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 9, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Hi Mastuh. If you want soft feet, a foot cream is definitely the thing to go for. Apply it once a day before going to bed and it a week or so you should have much softer skin :)

    Reply
  7. Author Dry feet on January 22, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Is there anything else besides a flannel and pumice stone for cracked heels?

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Hi there. Have you tried using nourishing foot cream?

    Reply
  8. Author J R Das on March 26, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Thanks,very useful information given.

    1. Author S. A. on January 20, 2019 at 7:43 am

      To the person who said they wonder whats wrong with foot. That you peel around the corn or whatever it is. I want to say, it may be a plantar wart which grows inside bottom of your foot. For this, you need a podiatrist to cut it out and put treatment to kill wary virus.

    2. Author Julie on January 23, 2019 at 11:08 pm

      I had a plantar wart on my foot and I got rid of it by putting nail polish on it. It took about a week of keeping the nail polish on it and reapplying since it was on bottom of foot. I'm glad I did not throw away money on a Dr. visit!!

    3. Author Joanne A on January 24, 2019 at 9:36 am

      That's an interesting idea, Julie!

    Reply
  9. Author sheena on July 15, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Hi stephanie, ive tried your method but my heels are not soft; instead it feels like ive rub the heels but havent soften in the end. What can i do in this case?

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 16, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Sheena, What did you try?

    Reply
  10. Author Preeti on July 18, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Really very useful article you explain amazing upcharnuskhe tips. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Author Joanne A on July 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      We're glad you found it useful Preeti!

    Reply
  11. Author Njabs on October 10, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Hi Steph I work on high heels and I stand for 9 hour in these heel as a result of this I've developed hard skin on heel and my toes, weekely I remove the skin but keeps coming back what can I use and what kind of heels should I buy?

    1. Author Joanne A on October 10, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Hello Njabs! Wearing heels regularly will definitely make the skin on your feet harder. You could try a foot file, like the ones made by Scholl, to remove the hard skin. I'd also suggest regularly using a foot cream to keep them moisturised. You can cover your feet in the cream, put on some fluffy socks and go to sleep to allow it to work its magic! As for heels, you could try insoles to cushion your heels and toes. If you can reduce the height of your heel or find a shoe with a higher platform to heel ratio, that will help too.

    Reply
  12. Author Wendy on November 7, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Hi - My feet are cracking and peeling in the arches/bottom of my feet. I was putting curash on them as I thought that would help with the moisture as I have my feet in socks and shoes all day. What do you suggest Thanks

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 8, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Hi Wendy! We'd suggest you try the tips in our article above. We hope they help!

    Reply
  13. Author Mary Clarke on November 12, 2018 at 10:38 am

    ccs swedish formula, Fantastic, work a week in enough Job done.! Mary .

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 12, 2018 at 11:02 am

      We'll have to give this a try! Thanks for the recommendation, Mary!

    Reply
  14. Author Annette on November 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Should we be using coconut oil when the forests are being decimated and orangutans are becoming an endangered species?

    1. Author Joanne A on November 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Annette! Are you thinking of palm oil - not coconut oil? The environmental impact of harvesting coconut oil is actually very low. If you want to avoid palm oil, you should check the ingredients list of bread, shampoo, makeup, margarine, crisps, chocolate, non-dairy substitutes, soap, biscuits, cooking oil, cleaning detergents and ice cream. It's frightening how many products use the stuff.

    Reply
  15. Author Susie Cvetkovic on November 12, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for the tips girls. We all need reminding that its not just about our complexion and our hands. I'm a bit adhock with my foot routine but my husband suffered seriously bad cracked heels on his feet at one time. He now uses a punice stone on them when having a shower and then applies Nivea cream to the soles and heels of his feet before bed which has made them a lot softer and far less painful. Would just point out that sometimes people mistakenly think they have corns on their toes and bottoms of the feet when they are actually veruccas which need completely different treatment. A pharmacist can generally confirm what you have so no need to book a doctors appointment.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Great tips! Thanks, Susie.

    Reply
  16. Author Gymraes on November 26, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Great suggestions but my once soft (& non-problemsome) feet became worse after I used a battery powered roller gifted to me. Has anyone else found this? Stockings 'snag' as soon as I put them on - even after moisturising.

    Reply
  17. Author palok on December 13, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    is there any specific foot cream that will be more useful for my hard heel?

    1. Author Joanne A on December 14, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Any foot cream should do the trick! It's all about regular treatment.

    Reply
  18. Author Alea on December 15, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I suffer from very dry feet and lately been using coconut oil to moisturize. If I don't air my feet at night I feel uncomfortable. Having socks or feet under the blanket while sleeping makes it worse. Will coconut oil still work if I don't wear socks? Why are my feet still super dry? Mainly in the winter, I'm assuming it's the dryness from the heater. I just purchased a humidifier. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Author Joanne A on December 17, 2018 at 9:51 am

      A humidifier could definitely help. The winter weather really dries out the air - and our skin! The main reason we suggest putting socks on is because the socks heat up the oil and keep it close to the skin so that it works with maximum impact. It also stops your bed sheets from getting covered in products from your feet. You could give it a go without the socks, but it might rub off.

    Reply
  19. Author Jen on December 15, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Hi there. Thanks for a great article! My problem is with toenail fungal infection. I have tried so many treatments, including laser treatment which cost me a fortune, but nothing is working. Have you or anyone got a foolproof method of treating this problem. It’s so ugly, not to mention painful at times. Thank you for your comments.

    1. Author Joanne A on December 17, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Hi Jen. For this specific problem, as you've tried many treatments with no success, we'd advise you speak to your GP.

    2. Author Janine on April 4, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Hi Jen, I guess you can try onycosolve spray this has worked for me.. On foot/nail fungus..

    Reply
  20. Author monaa on December 28, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    hie thank.u so much im definately goin to try this .for years now l nvr wear open shoes tryin to cover my ugly dry feet

    1. Author Joanne A on January 2, 2019 at 9:13 am

      Hopefully, these tips will help your feet to look fabulous!

    Reply
  21. Author Tracy Lennon on January 9, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Hi I have never had any problems with my feet up Until I went away on holiday in the sun and it was so nice I wore sandals most days but since I’ve been home I have noticed my skin is hard and cracked at heals and I have used all the pedeggs and got a foot bath and the new pedicure set and what would I use to get them back to soft and healthy looking again 🙁

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 10, 2019 at 9:33 am

      Hi Tacy! Have you tried any moisturisers? Cracked feet are caused by a lack of moisture and too much pressure on the feet.

    Reply
  22. Author Princess on January 10, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    i have been in e village the soil is so sandy so i thought maybe thats the cause of my rough skin under the feet now i know to take all that away thanks to u.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 10, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Good to hear, Princess!

    Reply
  23. Author Cynthia Gibson on January 18, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Great article!! I’m definitely going to try your remedies. Thank you!!

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 18, 2019 at 9:13 am

      Thanks, Cynthia! Let us know how you get on.

    Reply
  24. Author VishalC on January 24, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Thank You, Very cured treatment for FOOT CALLUS . From chlidhood i have been corn in my foot skin but it doesn't give me pain i.e i am left it as it is .my both feet have callus and one corn.Now i am happy to applying these treatment.Thank you so much.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 24, 2019 at 10:42 am

      You're very welcome, Vishal!

    Reply
  25. Author Scott on January 26, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I noticed my wife has corns/callus on the TOPS of her left foot (4th/5th toes). We ordered a rechargeable callus remover from Amazon in the hopes of preventing any further concerns. We will see how useful the remover is. This was a very informative article. Any tips or points I need to know? Thanks.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 28, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Do let us know if the remover works for you. We're glad you enjoyed the article and we hope the tips help - alongside the remover.

    Reply
  26. Author sipokazi on February 11, 2019 at 7:12 am

    hey dear! my feet are very ugly especial on the top of toes and side of the feet its even hard for me to wear sandals, i tried so many things like Avon and home remedies but i can see any different, what else can i use please help so desperate Regard sipokazi

    1. Author Joanne A on February 11, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Hi Sipokazi! Do you have any ideas what the problem could be?

    Reply
  27. Author Ruth on February 17, 2019 at 2:36 am

    its a daily struggle with my feet. If I do all this every day, my feet stay smooth, but if I skip even just a couple days the hardness and dryness comes back so fast!

    1. Author Joanne A on February 18, 2019 at 10:07 am

      We understand the struggle, Ruth!

    Reply
  28. Author Odeh Ejiro on February 19, 2019 at 12:28 am

    My son feet has being so hard, & even get me worried if it can be soft again, I will be Great full to God & knowing u ppl.

    Reply
  29. Author Scott Marson on March 1, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    I've had calluses on the tips of my toes for years I just thought I was a good hard worker but now that I've turned 50 they really hurt when I get out of my shower I can peel the whole callus off and I also have very thick nails feet and hands !can I submit pics

    1. Author Joanne A on March 4, 2019 at 10:38 am

      I'm sorry to hear that, Scott! Have you tried anything to treat them?

    Reply
  30. Author kana on March 18, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    hi. for the foot soak, do we add in all those ingredients at the same time (i. e. lemon, vinegar, epsom and honey) or pick just one?

    1. Author Joanne A on March 19, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Hi Kana. The intention is to add them all at the same time however, you can pick 1 or 2 if you don't have all of them available to you.

    Reply
  31. Author Lunar moonshine on May 20, 2019 at 2:01 am

    I don’t know if it can work on cracked feet, but what I do to keep my feet soft is apply foot cream when I wear running shoes, soft winter boots and just before sleeping with socks. I recommend you to use a cream of your preference and liking, but if you don’t have the money to buy some then I have a “home hack”. Get a bowl, grab your conditioner (I prefer coconut) and pour it until it feels the bottom of the bowl or until you want, add small amounts of water and begin mixing it until you have a goopy white substance. Tho, you have to apply it multiple times because it dries quickly, it’s also useful to use it as hand cream, body cream or a after shave remedy. I hope this helps!!

    1. Author Joanne A on May 20, 2019 at 10:36 am

      Hi Lunar! I'd never thought about using conditioner as a moisturising cream. That sounds like a good idea.

    Reply
  32. Author Sofna kariapper on May 21, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Hi, How to reduce foot inflammation?

    1. Author Joanne A on May 21, 2019 at 10:57 am

      Hi there! Do you know what the cause of the inflammation might be?

    Reply
  33. Author Kimberly S on August 9, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I have always, always taken very good care of my feet and moisturize twice daily. This summer my feet suddenly became very hard, the skin tough and cracked and my feet hurt terribly. I’m hoping some of these remedies work because when your feet hurt, everything hurts!

    1. Author Joanne A on August 12, 2019 at 10:47 am

      That's very true, Kimberly!

    Reply
  34. Author Barbara Doherty on August 14, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Get a water softener, there are different types out there. You could use Kerasol cream or Dr.Teal’s foot cream, available over the counter.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Barbara!

    Reply
  35. Author Anne Ballinger on September 3, 2019 at 8:22 am

    My son has the opposite, his feet are damp all the time, he showers and dry his feet, but after a few minutes they sweat and clammy , and when he is in work his socks are soaking wet, you could wring them out, they do not smell but make his shoes/trainers damp all the time He works VALETING car etc.. So the shoes might get wet, but even when her is not working his feet are wet and clammy, any suggestions, he can change his socks while in work twice a day! When he worked in construction he ended up having Trench foot as his feet were soaking all the time, any suggestions please

    1. Author Joanne A on September 3, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Hi Anne! I feel like this could be the cause of an underlying condition. I would suggest your son goes to the doctor to see if there is anything they can diagnose or prescribe.

    Reply
  36. Author Omah on September 20, 2019 at 1:22 am

    I don't know if it's natural but my leg is dry and ugly

    1. Author Joanne A on September 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Omah! Could you please explain what you mean here? What have you tried so far?

    Reply
  37. Author Johnson on September 20, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    What can I do to make the calluses disappear.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 23, 2019 at 10:54 am

      Hi there! What have you tried so far?

    Reply

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