The Low-Down on Foot Peels

We’ve had a long hot Summer and the use of sandals, thongs or bare feet tends to create excessive callus build up on your feet. Several times this summer, clients have asked me about foot peel packages – the treatments you can buy from the chemist that make you shed all of the skin on your feet - kind of like a snake! Let me give you the low-down..

What are Foot Peels?

First popularised in Japan in the 1990’s, foot peels have gained traction in Australia and elsewhere mainly due to the crazy (and kind of revolting) results seen on social media. Retailing for between $15 - $30 at most chemists, they seem to be a cost-effective way to get your feet looking silky smooth. While ingredients change from brand to brand, the focus being on the botanical, natural and gentle ingredients – the main ingredient that will cause your skin to shed will be ACIDS – and a lot of them. Just looking at the ingredients of one readily available product I can see Glycolic acid and Lactic acid (both are Alpha-Hydroxy Acids or AHAs) and Salicylic acid – the percentages of these acids are not listed on the package.

Are they safe to use?

Given there are several acids in these products, they will not be safe for everyone. People who have open wounds; skin conditions such as dermatitis, excema or psoriasis; sensitive skin; diabetes; other conditions that create a compromised immune system; poor circulation; or are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid these products.

It is also important to note that not all callus or dry skin is just a cosmetic issue. If you have experienced problem skin on your feet for several months or more with no change, it is important for you to be checked by a professional to give you a diagnosis.

What do they do?

AHAs are known as “exfoliating acids” – what they do is work on the top layer of your skin and break the bond between the old, dead skin and the new fresh skin – hence the snake like shedding results that you see online.

Are they right for me?

If you are in good health and have none of the conditions listed above, there should be no harm in using these products every once and a while. Bare-in-mind that if you place your entire foot in the package as instructed, the skin all over your feet will peel away. Most people will not have a problem with callus over the entire foot, and this can lead to rawness and tenderness in areas that did not require exfoliation.

A foot peel is also not the best course of action for someone who has a corn or hard lump on their foot – the foot peel will not target a specific area but the entire foot.

Also, the peel process can take up to 10 days so this is not something you would want to do the day before you go on your beach holiday!

What else can I do to make my feet silky smooth in a hurry!
  1. Apply a moisturiser that contains Urea to your feet daily.
  2. If you have a lot of dry skin, consider applying a heavy foot cream that contains urea to your feet and put socks on overnight. For an even better treatment, wrap your creamed feet with glad wrap and then apply a sock.
  3. Avoid using open shoes every day so give your feet a break.
  4. For very heavy callus, no amount of cream or exfoliation is going to get you the results you dreamed of. In these cases, a trip to your friendly Podiatrist will get you well on the way to having those beautiful beach ready feet. Podiatrists will remove your callus during your consultation, and give you some personalised tips to keep your feet looking in tip-top shape.