Facials for your face? Sure! But for your FEET? Just. Say. No.

You guys, I just read something crazy: a provider in New York City is offering "foot facials" that cost between $350 and $375!! So are you, like me, wondering: what the heck is a foot facial? Well, I'll tell you! Basically, it's a series of steps designed to heal any fissures (cracks) in the skin on your 

feet, then using sterile equipment to remove any thick or hardened areas of skin on your feet (calluses) or on or between your toes (corns.) Now, I'm all for all of those ideas (especially having them done in a sterile environment. Just say NO to bathroom-surgeries for hard skin removal. Please!)

But, you know what I'm NOT for? Giving these procedures, all of which I offer in my Houston podiatry practice, a fancy name, and slapping them with an astronomical price tag. Who's got the time or cash for that? Not me, let me tell you. So, instead of heading to the Big Apple for your fancy foot facial, just check out my tips for preventing cracked heels, and treating corns and calluses. (Plus a bonus section on the key to getting safe pedicures in a plain-old nail salon.) Think of what you can do with all that money I just saved you while you keep reading! 


Tips for Preventing Hard or Cracked Foot Skin 

1. Get rid of dead skin 

Please note, this tip should only be done at home, with fresh new products. And it should only be done BEFORE you have hard skin, not on patches that have already thickened or hardened. To keep hard patches from forming, soak your feet every day or every other day. After your feet are nice and soft, gently rub a sterile pumice stone around your heels and under your toes, in areas where hard skin is likely to show up. Never use a sharp razor, as this can cut your feet, and avoid this procedure in spas or nail salons, as it may lead to infection. 

2. Keep Scrubbing

Just like a pumice, a foot exfoliating cream, or even a nubbly wash cloth, can help exfoliate dead skin in more sensitive areas of your feet. 

Apply moisture with a little foot massage for an indulgent way to prevent calluses

3. Apply Moisturizer

After exfoliating your feet on a daily basis, be sure to apply a good quality moisturizer to your feet. For some, a regular, over the counter moisturizer product will be enough. But if callouses have been a repeat problem for you, a stronger moisturizer may be in order. Products made with urea can provide a more permanent solution for preventing hard skin from forming. 

4. Switch up your kicks 

While dry feet and built up dead skin can contribute to hard skin, so can your shoes. If you wear the same pair of shoes--even supportive sneakers--every day, they will press on your feet in the same spots. All. The. Time. And, over time, even the best, podiatrist-approved shoes can rub and press enough to create hard, irritated skin patches. To avoid this problem, wear a different pair of shoes every day, or every other day. 

5. Check in with your podiatrist

If corns or calluses are already present, it's important not to try and treat yourself at home. Over the counter products don't really resolve these problems, and attempting to shave off or cut out hard patches of skin can only leave you vulnerable to infection. Thankfully, however, we can easily treat your callouses in the office. And we can do it painlessly and without a risk of infection! So do your best to keep feet smooth at home, but if you want to get some help from the pros in that department, be sure to follow these spa-safety 'dos and don'ts.'


What to Do (and What NEVER to Try) When You're Getting a Pedicure

Hitting the salon to keep those feet mositurized and your nails looking cute? No problem (if you pay attention to my tips:) Woman getting a pedicure

Do: Bring Your Own Equipment
This is really the only way to ensure that your feet won’t be contaminated by other people’s germs. In theory, salons own enough equipment to be able to thoroughly sterilize tools between client visits, but in practice, not all of them do, so investing in your own foot file is your safest bet.

Don’t: Shave Off Your Calluses
A callus is a thickened area of skin that should only be removed by a podiatrist. The most your beautician should every do is lightly file a corn or callus, but it’s best to leave them alone entirely.

Do: Make an early appointment
The busier a salon is, the less likely they are to properly sanitize equipment between customers. If you go early on a weekday things will be calmer (and cleaner!)

Don’t : Go near that whirpool!
The only way to properly clean a whirlpool is to drain it and scrub down the whole tub, even the drain, where sloughed-off skin can get stuck. Because it’s so time consuming, salons don’t do it, which is why so many people have picked up bacterial or fungal infections from foot baths.

Don’t: Cut Your Cuticles
When you take off that protective barrier around your nail, you leave yourself open to infection. Instead of taking off the cuticle, you can let your beautician soften it with cream or oil and then gently push it back.


Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.