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Calluses, the result of repeated friction, are the skin's way of building a protective layer. These thick, dry, yellowish patches usually appear on the feet or hands. Over time, calluses can become uncomfortably large and rough. Home treatments made from things you may already have on hand may be all you need to soften calluses. Once the rough areas are soft, you can rub away the outermost layer of skin with a pumice stone.

Oil and Vinegar -- Not Just for Salad

Mix equal parts castor oil and apple cider vinegar in a large pot or roasting pan. An old pot that you no longer use for cooking is best.

Heat the mixture until it feels comfortably warm to the touch.

Soak your feet in the warm mixture for at least 10 minutes. If the pot isn't large enough, soak one foot at a time.

Rinse away the oil mixture with warm water, then smooth away dead, dry skin with a pumice stone.

Calendula and Marigolds

Place several calendula or marigold blooms in a dark glass jar. If you don't have a dark jar, cover a clear glass jar with aluminum foil.

Cover the blooms with almond or safflower oil, then place the oil in a warm, sunny location for at least 48 hours.

Strain the oil through a paper coffee filter. Squeeze the filter to remove as much oil from the blooms as possible.

Return the strained oil to the jar and put it back in the sun for another 48 hours, then pour the oil through the strainer a second time. If possible, repeat the process six or seven times for a highly refined oil.

Smooth the oil over callused areas three times every day. Continue to use the oil to keep your skin in good condition after the calluses are removed.

Natural Foot Scrub

Mix a natural scrub consisting of one part olive oil and one part sea salt or regular table salt. If you like, you can use sugar or cornmeal instead of salt.

Soften the callused area in a warm bath or shower, then smooth the scrub onto the callused areas. Rub the scrub into the thick, dry areas areas, using gentle, circular motions.

Smooth the calluses gently with a pumice stone while the scrub is still on your skin, then rinse the scrub with lukewarm water.

Dry your feet, then rub in lotion or cream.


See a physician if your calluses don't respond to home care or if your skin is painful or inflamed.

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About the Author

M.H. Dyer

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.