Calluses are your skin's way of protecting itself. Friction and repeated rubbing against the skin causes it to thicken to avoid injury. People often develop calluses while breaking in new shoes. If your work or hobby has you spending time moving about on your knees, calluses can develop there as well. Although they're the skin's protective mechanism, calluses are unsightly and can be painful. Thickened, discolored skin on your knees is embarrassing, but you can get rid of the calluses with a persistent skincare regimen.
Fill a bucket with 1 quart of warm water. Add one to two squirts of liquid soap, and stir to make a soapy solution.
Soak two clean washcloths in the soap solution. Wring out the washcloths so they're not dripping. Lay the soapy cloths over your knees and leave them there for 10 minutes to soften the skin.
Remove the washcloths and rinse your knees. Pat the skin dry. Gently rub the calluses on your knees with a moistened pumice stone. Rub in circular motions for one to two minutes for each knee to remove some of the callus and dead skin cells.
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Rinse the skin again and towel dry. Apply petroleum jelly to moisturize your skin.
Place a salicylic acid patch on each knee during the day or at night to help get rid of the calluses, following the package directions.
Protect your knees from friction while working by using knee pads. Exfoliate your skin once or twice per week to prevent dead skin and callus buildup. Moisturize daily.
Never attempt to cut off calluses yourself. If calluses on the knees are particularly painful, see a dermatologist for help.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.