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A callus is a hard, rough area of the skin that usually appears on the foot, hand, knee, or elbow. Calluses typically develop because of excessive rubbing or pressure which may be caused by wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes, physical labor, using hand tools or playing musical instruments.
There are many different types of callus removers to file away or soften calluses on feet, elbows and other areas where the skin has become rough and thick. Rasps, files, lotions and balms are some common callus removers. Before choosing between the different types of callus removers, it is important to look into each option and start by using the most gentle method first in order to help avoid injury or discomfort.
Callus rasp is a device made generally from metal with a plastic handle. This contains several small blades that are used to slowly cut away rough and dead skin. Rasps are used on the bottoms of feet where calluses are usually most severe. Rasps are almost always the most effective method for removing large or extremely thick calluses. This cannot be used on the back of elbows because it is too harsh on delicate skin.
Files and artificial filing stones can also be used on the bottoms of feet, and sometimes even on elbows if they are used gently. These devices gently wear away layers of skin in order to remove the callus and expose healthy skin beneath the surface. This method generally takes several weeks of daily filing before results can be seen, but for mild or moderate calluses, this may be the perfect method for removal.
Lotions, balms and creams are used for the mildest cases of calluses. There are many products at local drugstores that help soften calluses and rough patches in order to make the skin healthy again. In most cases, this method is not effective when used alone. Files and rasps are often much more effective when used in combination with a lotion. The cream helps to soften the top layer of dead skin, allowing an easy removal of the layer with a file or rasp.
Callus removers should not be shared among friends or family, because in rare occasions, blood may be drawn if the area is filed too aggressively, making the tools unsanitary. A combination of different tools may be used to fully remove rough skin and dry patches. If any of these methods cause irritation, discontinue its use.
If the callus doesn’t soften or heal with these options and causes pain in the surrounding area, you should go see a podiatrist or dermatologist. A doctor can thoroughly examine the underlying conditions like warts or skin cancer.