The 7 Best Callus Removers of 2022

Curad's Callus and Wart Remover sloughs off dead skin cells

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Calluses form when skin is subjected to repeated friction and pressure; the skin thickens and hardens to protect itself from damage, and over a short period of time, a callus is born. Calluses aren’t a serious medical problem for most people (although diabetics should always be aware of changes to their feet), and in many cases, you can leave them alone. But sometimes calluses can be a problem—if they become infected or turn into ulcers. That's why it's important to have a callus remover on hand.

Reviewed & Approved

Curad's Mediplast Callus Remover is a great solution for getting rid of calluses in a discreet, painless way. If you're looking to remove your calluses with a physical tool, we recommend the Rikan's Foot File.

“It's pretty genius of our bodies, actually, to toughen up and protect areas of skin that are being repeatedly rubbed or traumatized," says Caren Campbell, MD, California-based dermatologist.

When looking for a callus remover, look for chemical or manual abrasion. Chemical abrasion is when the remover uses an acid-based active ingredient like salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin. Meanwhile, manual abrasion uses scrubs or devices. We researched dozens of callus removers and evaluated them for key ingredients, form, material, and price.

Here are the best callus removers on the market.

Best Overall: Curad Mediplast Corn, Callus & Wart Remover

4.7
Curad Mediplast Corn, Callus, & Wart Remover

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Customizable sizing

  • No risk of cutting or damaging skin

  • Also works for corns and warts

Cons
  • Feels like wearing a Band-Aid

  • Not recommended for sensitive skin or people who are pregnant

We chose Curad's Callus Remover as our top pick because it can be used to treat calluses and other foot problems, such as warts and corns. The pads come sized 2 inches by 3 inches, but you can simply trim them to suit your needs. You can reapply a new one every 48 hours for two weeks, if necessary, to get rid of your calluses. Here’s a pro tip: if the patch is loosening or falling off before 48 hours is up, you can keep it in place with surgical tape (or even duct tape, says Dr. Campbell!).

The brand doesn't recommend the usage of these pads by pregnant women or people with sensitive skin, so if you're concerned these pads may have a negative impact, consult your dermatologist first.

Active Ingredient(s): Salicylic acid 40 percent | How to Use: Cut pad to fit callus, apply pad to the skin, and leave on for 48 hours. After 48 hours, remove the pad and repeat as needed.

Best Budget: Dr. Sholl’s Duragel Salicylic Acid Callus Remover Cushion

Dr. Sholl’s Duragel Salicylic Acid Callus Remover Cushion
Pros
  • Customizable sizing

  • Budget-friendly alternative

Cons
  • Not recommended for sensitive skin or people who are pregnant

If you like the idea of a medicated patch but not the higher price tag of Curad’s Mediplast patches, the more budget-friendly patches by Dr. Scholl’s should be right up your alley. It’s essentially the same concept: trim a bandage to fit your callus, apply and leave it on for 48 hours, then remove and apply a new one. Repeat as needed.

The reason these patches work as well as they do is that the high concentration of salicylic acid exfoliates the excess layer of skin creating a callus, and it protects your skin from further friction.

“You need a barrier to prevent the chronic friction or rubbing that causes the skin to try to protect itself,” says Dr. Campbell, “which is what a callus is—thickened skin.”

Not only are the Dr. Scholl’s patches less expensive, but they are also durable and fast-acting; they can eliminate mild calluses in as few as two applications.

Active Ingredient(s): Salicylic acid 40 percent | How to Use: Cut pad to fit callus, apply pad to the skin, and leave on for 48 hours. After 48 hours, remove the pad and repeat as needed.

Best Gel: Cacee Extra Strength Callus Remover

Cacee Extra Strength Callus Remover

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Immediate improvement

  • Short application time

  • Includes natural ingredients

Cons
  • Messy application process

  • Must spot test to check for irritation

If you’ve struggled to keep medicated patches on your feet or need instant relief from calluses, a gel product like the Cacee callus remover might be your perfect match. With a blend of potassium hydroxide and tea tree oil, this gel works quickly to penetrate the tough, dry, thickened outer layer of callused skin, so all you’re left with is soft, smooth, good-as-new skin.

Although this isn’t a mess-free application, it’s an easy one: after cleansing your feet, apply the gel to the affected area and leave it for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing it off. The gel works the best when you exfoliate while it’s applied to your skin (but the manufacturer advises against using an electric tool for exfoliation, so stick with a pumice stone or manual file). The whole process can be repeated the following day if you need another treatment, or you could work it into a weekly beauty regime for preventative care. We do recommend performing a patch test first, however, before using the product all over your feet, because potassium hydroxide can be irritating for some people.

Active Ingredient(s): Potassium hydroxide | How to Use: Clean your feet and apply the gel. Leave on for 3 to 5 minutes, exfoliate, and rinse.

Best Tool: Rikans Foot File and Callus Remover

4.9
Rikans Foot Rasp
Pros
  • Portable and easy to store

  • Works on wet or dry feet

  • Immediate improvement

Cons
  • Takes practice to use correctly and safely

  • Could cut or damage your skin

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming appearance of this simple foot rasp; it’s a fan-favorite tool for gently shaving and filing away dead skin. You can use it on dry skin or after soaking, so it’s flexible for your level of comfort, and it not only exfoliates thickened calluses but does a number on rough patches, cracked heels, and any other superficial dryness on your feet. 

While this is a nifty tool that gives you instantly-improved results, there are a few caveats about using it. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the correct motion for filing (i.e. one-direction strokes, not back-and-forth movements), and you should definitely start off slow here: use it gently and briefly the first time to be sure you aren’t removing too much skin or going too deep. You also need to clean the rasp after use for sanitization and keep it in a clean, dry location.

Active Ingredient(s): N/A | How to Use: Gently move the rasp across the affected area(s) of your foot in one direction (do not file in a back-and-forth motion). Change the angle of the rasp if needed. Repeat as often as needed daily.

Best for Hands: SandBar Original Callus Remover

SandBar Original Callus Remover

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Fits the curvature of your hand

  • Mimics callus-causing tools and athletic equipment

  • Portable and discreet

Cons
  • Sanding bar wears down over time

The SandBar is marketed to athletes because of how effectively it can remove calluses associated with working out or weightlifting, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help the Average Joe with hand calluses from gardening, manual labor, or even long hours driving with your hands on the steering wheel.

Essentially a metal pipe with a sandpaper-style section of grit covering one half, the SandBar is shaped like many of the tools and equipment people use that cause their calluses in the first place (like dumbbells and bike handles). That means you can target those same calluses in a very specific way, gently filing them down to get relief. We like how simple the SandBar is to use, how it fits neatly into the palm of your hand but can also be used for your feet, and the fact that it can be thrown in a gym or work bag for on-the-go callus removal.

Active Ingredient(s): N/A | How to Use: Rub the bar on your calluses, moisturize, and repeat as needed.

Best Foot Soak: Daily Remedy Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak

Daily Remedy Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak

Amazon

Pros
  • Soothing, spa-life approach to callus removal

  • Moisturizing and nourishing ingredients

  • Tea tree oil fights other foot fungi

Cons
  • Time consuming application

  • May not be effective for tough calluses

This Epsom salt and tea tree oil foot soak pulls double-duty as a relaxing foot bath and exfoliating scrub, softening every part of your feet (but especially those tough, thickened calluses). Plus, tea tree oil is a fantastic natural antifungal, meaning it can also help get rid of foot odor, athlete’s foot, and other common fungi and bacteria that tend to thrive on your feet and toenails.

As far as usage goes, it really couldn’t be simpler: fill up a basin or tub with warm water, add the right amount of foot soak product, and sit back to relax. After 15 to 20 minutes you can rinse and dry your feet off, then follow up with either an exfoliating tool or a moisturizing cream. Between the relaxing smells of lavender and peppermint, the cruelty-free ingredients, and the callus removal power, you’ll start looking forward to your nightly foot baths.

Active Ingredient(s): 100% Pure dead sea salt | How to Use: Combine 1 ounce of the foot soak for every gallon of warm water in a basin or tub. Soak foot or feet for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse, and dry.

Best Electric: PRITECH Electric Foot Callus Remover

PRITECH Electric Foot Callus Remover

Courtesy: Pritech

Pros
  • Works on wet or dry feet

  • Three interchangeable rollers for different filing textures

  • Good for people with limited dexterity/hand strength

Cons
  • Needs to be recharged after 45 minutes

  • Replacement roller (if needed) heads cost extra

You’re thinking an exfoliating tool is the right choice for you, but you can’t or don’t want to put in the manual effort needed to tackle your tough calluses. In that case, an electric-powered file is your best bet: you get all the exfoliating benefits of a file without any of the elbow grease, and the result is smooth feet and soft skin in no time at all.

Because this is an electric tool, there are a few bells and whistles to make the callus removal process as easy as possible. The remover comes with three changeable roller heads in light, regular, and extra coarse, plus it has two speeds that allow you to get just the right amount of scrubbing done. The battery is rechargeable with a USB cable; one charge will last you about 45 minutes (and require only two to three hours of charging). 

The remover can also be used on wet or dry skin for maximum convenience, comes with a cleaning brush, and includes a carrying case for all the accessories.

Active Ingredient(s): None | How to Use: Soak your feet (optional), choose a roller head, and gently rub your feet with the rotating roller head until your desired results are achieved.

Final Verdict

The Curad Mediplast Corn, Callus, & Wart Remover pads get rave reviews from Dr. Campbell as a safe and easy way to remove calluses. For a simple, handy tool that gets rave reviews for ease of use, try the Rikans Colossal Foot Rasp.

How We Selected

When selecting callus removers, we spoke with dermatologists and spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective products. After taking all of our options into consideration, we determined which to feature based on a few key criteria as recommended by dermatologists: key ingredients, form, and usage.

Once we narrowed down our options, we compared each callus remover's benefits to its price tag. While some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best callus removers on the market.

What to Look for in Callus Removers

Acid-Based Active Ingredient

Since a callus is just extra skin that has thickened or hardened to protect itself, Dr. Campbell says most OTC treatments are aimed at debriding or removing that excess skin—and a gentle way to do this is with some kind of acid ingredient. Salicylic acid is a popular choice, but she adds that you can also choose a hydrating ingredient like lactic acid to chemically exfoliate the skin.

Exfoliating Features

Speaking of exfoliation, that’s the name of the game here with callus removal, so some people opt for manual or electric tools with built-in debriding features to gently scrape, scrub, and file away the calloused skin. Pumice stones, stainless steel rasps and files, and coarse rollers can all work towards removing tough outer layers of skin and revealing the softer skin underneath.

Chemical vs. Manual Abrasive

Whether you choose a patch, peel, gel, or tool to treat your calluses, ultimately you have two method options, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital: physical and chemical.

  • Physical methods, like exfoliating scrubs, abrasive devices, and razors, literally separate dead cells from the surface of the skin with some kind of friction. “Abrasive devices use coarse materials and can be thought of like sandpaper for your feet,” says Dr. Zeichner,” [while] razors or other sharp devices physically cut away thick skin.”
  • According to Dr. Zeichner, chemical methods use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) to dissolve connections between cells on the surface of the skin (just like chemical peel facials, basically). “Acids can be used at various concentrations—low concentration chemical exfoliators provide mild benefits and can be used daily, [but] products that contain higher concentrations will give dramatic results with shedding of sheets of skin,” he explains. Common ingredients in chemical treatments include glycolic and salicylic acid.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is callus removal painful?

    If you’re doing it correctly and only removing the excess skin overlying the normal skin, says Dr. Campbell, removing a callus shouldn’t be painful. If it is painful, you’ve probably gone too deep.

    “If you go past the epidermis, the top layer of skin, you are getting into the superficial or deeper dermis, which is where larger nerves and blood vessels live and things get even more painful,” she explains.

    It’s smart to start small and slow, taking your callus removal one gentle step at a time—especially if you’re using any kind of tool. Dr. Campbell says you never want to exfoliate a callus down past the point where it’s flush with the rest of your skin and to stop if you see any bleeding (that’s a sign you’ve gone too deep).

  • Is it better to remove calluses with a tool or with a chemical product?

    This depends on several things, including how thick or deep your calluses are, how sensitive your feet are, how adept you are at at-home self-care, and how much time you have (or are willing to spend) for callus removal.

    Physical methods, as Dr. Zeichner described, may work well for people with deep calluses, people with skin that’s often sensitive to beauty products, and people who need quick results. On the other hand, chemical methods might work better for people who only have mild to moderate calluses, people who don’t mind spending weeks slowly removing them, and people who don’t have the dexterity to manipulate handheld tools.

    Whatever you choose, it’s usually an individual preference—but Dr. Zeichner warns that only people with thick calluses should use high-concentration foot peels (and even then, only sparingly, i.e. once per month) to avoid causing damage to the skin.

  • Are there any dangers associated with callus removers?

    Using a callus remover at home may result in damage to your skin (as it may introduce bacteria, i.e. an infection), and some people should be particularly cautious when using these products.

    • Pregnant women should not use salicylic acid treatments, says Dr. Campbell, though she notes these products are usually safe for breastfeeding women.
    • People with diabetes should ask their doctor about at-home callus removal before trying it on themselves. Diabetics are prone to nerve damage in their feet, which can make it hard to know when there's a serious problem. Your doctor may recommend only specific types of products or even request that you make an appointment to treat your calluses in-office rather than at home. 
    • It’s possible that your callus is actually a wart, in which case these treatments won’t help (and could actually introduce more problems).

    “[A wart is] caused by a virus that gets into a cut or abrasion in the skin and causes the skin to thicken, much like a callous,” says Dr. Campbell. “Warts tend to have tiny dots within them that represent small blood vessels [inside].”

    Not only will callus treatments not work on warts, exfoliating tools like pumice stones could actually spread the virus further, according to Dr. Campbell.

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Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. How to prevent calluses & what happens when calluses go untreated. Milwaukee Foot and Ankle Specialists.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and your feet. Updated May 7, 2021.