Corns and calluses are growths of hard, thickened skin that result from repeated friction or pressure. Calluses can form on your skin anywhere there is repeated pressure. When your body tries to defend itself from injury, it sometimes creates strange armour. The outermost layer of skin piles up a thick fortress of dead cells whenever it’s rubbed too much or too often. That’s what happens when an ill-fitting shoe keeps rubbing the same toe, or a metal-handled rake puts friction on the inside of your thumb. The epidermis gradually builds up a callus.
In most of the cases, over-the-counter soaks and exfoliates are unlikely to get rid of corns because the skin has become so thick; in such situations, simple home remedies can work:
Before bed, use a needle to prick a vitamin E capsule, then rub the oil into your corn. After letting the oil sit for a few minutes, put on a white cotton sock and head to bed. Repeat nightly until the corn is gone.
In a glass container, pour white vinegar over a slice of white onion. Leave the container in a warm place during the day, then cover the corn with the onion before you go to bed. Use a bandage or bandage tape to hold it in place while you sleep. If the corn is not soft enough to be removed in the morning, repeat the treatment nightly until it softens more.
For corns on your toes, use castor oil as a softener with a corn pad as protector. To protect the corn, you want non-medicated, doughnut-shaped pads, sold at pharmacies. Place one of these pads around the corn, dab a few drops of castor oil onto the corn with a cotton swab, then put adhesive tape over the top of the pad to hold it in place. The little padded doughnut encircles the corn and shields it from pressure while also holding in the moisturizing castor oil.
To create your own corn-softening compound, crush five aspirin until they turn into a fine powder. Mix the powder thoroughly with one-half teaspoon of lemon juice and one-half teaspoon water. Dab the paste onto the thickened skin; circle it with a piece of plastic wrap, then cover the plastic with a heated towel. Remove everything after 10 minutes and gently scrub away the loosened skin with a pumice stone.
Before going to sleep, cut a slice of lemon peel about an inch long and the width of your toe. Place the pith over the corn, securing with a bandage and covering with a white cotton sock overnight. Continue each night until the corn disappears.
One of the best ways you can treat corns and calluses is with a foot soak. Add 3 tablespoons baking soda to a basin of warm water and soak. Or massage calluses with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.
- Choose shoes that fit well. You should have a thumb’s width of distance between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Shoes should be wide enough so that your toes and the balls of your feet aren’t cramped from side to side. If shoes are too roomy, your feet slide around and rub against the sides.
- For what are called “soft corns,” use an emery board. Soft corns occur between your toes. They arise when the bones in adjacent toes rub until the skin thickens. A pumice stone won’t fit in that tight space between toes. Instead, purchase the same kind of emery board that’s designed to pare down fingernails and file away a little bit after every bath.
- Soak a cotton pad in apple cider vinegar and secure it to the affected part of your foot with adhesive tape. Wrap with plastic wrap and slip on a cotton sock. Your corn or callus should disappear by morning.
- Another good way to soften calluses and corns is to soak them in water containing Epsom salt.
- If you have diabetes or circulatory problems in your legs or feet, always see your doctor for corn and callus care.
- Never cut or pick off a corn or callus. This can lead to painful wounds, scarring and infection.