Not a glamorous thing to admit, but I have always struggled with hard skin on my feet and it looks and feels horrid – think crusty heels and socks that crackle and catch as they go on and you have got the idea. I am told it is from being a flip flop lover, which I quite understand, the flipping of the sole has a hardening effect on the skin.
Flip flops aside, until recently I had tried everything under the sun to combat my unsightly heels, including:
Exfoliating Foot Socks – wow! These things are, at first glance amazing, but actually quite brutal. The first time I used this type of bootie after 8 days the skin on my feet shed like an old snake and I felt like this was a total blessing, but I do now feel they add to the problem of hard skin, because for me, it came back twice as badly. Helen, my Reflexologist (I say that like I use her a lot, she’s actually only done my feet once and it was wonderful) told me that we do need a layer of hard skin on our feet for protection and for balance.
Pumice Stone – there was always a pumice stone in the bathroom when I was a kid and I actually never liked the look of them – I always thought they looked grey and somehow a bit unhygienic. I bought one a few months ago and I tired it on damp feet whilst standing in the bath. I kept dropping it and it felt way to small, and actually a bit crumbly, and it didn’t really seems to smooth my feet very much. It is now in the bin.
Supermarket plastic foot file – I bought a plastic-handled foot file that was about £3 from a supermarket. Back in the summer, I was happily filing my feet in the garden (dust flying everywhere) whilst watching my son play, and the bloody thing snapped. I might’ve been a bit gung-ho with my filing technique or it was a cheap n nasty bit of kit. “Buy cheap buy twice” my husband always says, and in this instance he was right.
Foot file that looks like a cheese grater – In the foot care aisle of a big pharmacy store, I saw a handled foot file that looked like a mini cheese grater and for some reason I bought it! I got to work on my hard heels with it and actually it made them sore! So that too, went in the bin.
Helen, who I mentioned earlier, is a Reflexologist and Foot Health Practitioner, she says;
Developing hard skin (callus) on the soles and sides of our feet is a natural response to friction, pressure and drying out. It mainly occurs around the heel, big toe, little toe, and ball of the foot as these are the areas that take the most weight and / or, are most often subject to the results of poor fitting shoes.
Callus is protective: Our skin is a vital organ for protecting our delicate insides from the outside world, and it literally holds us together. When it is subject to continuous rubbing, trauma or loss of moisture, the deeper layers of skin get busy producing extra skin cells to push up to the surface as a barrier to whatever is going on. This is why many people with hard skin find it gets worse during summer – flip flops offer no support; they continually bounce on and off the heel while the foot loses all its moisture which usually helps maintain its elasticity. Poor feet! Because hard skin forms as protection, an important tip when filing down hard skin is to do it gently and in smooth long strokes in one direction, do not take it all off in one go, and moisturise well afterwards. I know this might sound counter-intuitive, however, if you go at it with a sawing motion or with the force of a cheese grater, the skin knows that it is under attack, and then it will try to protect itself.
Such wise words Helen, thank you.
So what does work?
For me, the only things that have made my feet baby-soft are a stainless steel handled foot file and Flexitol Hard Skin & Callus Balm (see photo below)
The foot file is bloody ace! It has a rough side and a fine side (much like its supermarket friends) to help remove stubborn dead skin and then smooth it, but the big difference is that it comes with new ‘grits’, 5 of each. When the old one is a bit worn out, it can be taken off and replaced – hurrah. Also, unlike the cheaper versions, it is sturdy and can withstand even the most vigorous of filing sessions – great for when I first got it, because my feet were pretty awful.
After filing my trotters, I apply a small amount of the Flexitol Balm to the heel area only, and massage it in well. The website says that the product is designed to remove hard skin without the filing, but I ignored that and went for both, and will continue to do so.
I can honestly say that after years of hating my hard heels and actually sometimes picking the hard skin off , and making the area bleed (I know! I know!) I have finally found what works ; two things used three times a week to give me feet that I am proud of. Having nice feet makes me feel good, even if winter is in the way. Smooth heels stops crackly socks and that alone is worth the £12.50 I spent to get them.
Hope that was helpful. Let know if you try it.
Follow Lucy on instagram; @geriatric_mum
Find Helen (Foot Expert) on Facebook here; HappyFeetByHelen
Lucy Baker is a mother of 3 and she had her last child at 43-years-old. She hosts an online support community for ‘mums who happen to be older’ on facebook called We are Geriatric Mums which is currently at 1.9K members. Lucy is a confidence coach and her website is www.shecoachesconfidence.com
This feature is not sponsored. Flexitol has been recommended because it is good.