Callus-free feet – What causes calluses on feet and how can I get rid of hard skin?

4 min. read
Show More
Almost everyone has calluses on their feet at some point or another. The problem can be reoccurring and causes particular problems when our feet are on show in the summer. This article explains how calluses form, how to prevent them and what to do to remove them for smooth, soft and healthy skin.

What are calluses?

Calluses are common on the soles of feet

A callus is an extended area of thickened skin which is often yellowish in color. They are particularly common on feet although hands and fingers can also be affected. Considered the most significant foot problem,1 they normally appear on the heels or soles. They are almost always painless but can be unsightly and should be treated because, if left untreated, the condition of the skin deteriorates and cracks may form.

  1.  Source: Foot Monitor 01/2008, GER/F, n=1,000

What causes calluses?

Callused skin is caused by a thickening of the stratum corneum

Calluses are caused when feet are frequently exposed to pressure and friction.

Our skin has three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutis. The outermost layer of the epidermis, the external layer of the skin, is known as the stratum corneum or horny layer and is made up of cornified cells (corneocytes) and epidermal lipids. When feet are subjected to pressure and friction the epidermis reacts to protect itself by thickening the stratum corneum with layers of hardened, calloused skin. The medical term for this is thickening process is hyperkeratosis.

People with dry skin are more prone to the development of calluses on their feet, and that fact that all skin dries out as we get older means that we’re more likely to get callused skin, and other foot conditions, as we get older. You can find out more about other foot conditions in our article say goodbye to hard skin.

How can I prevent calluses from forming on my feet?

Regularly remove hard skin from your feet to prevent calluses from forming

Appropriate footcare will help you to prevent calluses from forming. We recommend the following:

  • Choose shoes that fit well and don’t pinch, rub or put your feet under undue pressure 
  • Regularly and carefully remove excessive hard skin from your feet with a pumice stone, foot file and/or an exfoliating footcare product such as Hansaplast Callus Scrub & Care 
  • Moisturize your feet twice daily (ideally) with a moisturizer such as Hansaplast Dry Feet Moisturizing Cream 

You can read more about how to care for your feet in dry skin on feet.

How can I get rid of foot calluses?

Calluses are relatively easy to remove if you get to grips with hard skin early on and regularly moisturize your feet. We have two products specially formulated for callus removal, both of which are clinically and dermatologically proven to be effective and are suitable for diabetic skin:

Hansaplast Callus Scrub & Care

This 2-in-1 treatment product contains gentle but effective exfoliating ingredients such as pumice stone particles and natural rock salts. When massaged into feet it helps to slough away dead, calloused skin. In addition to removing calluses, the nourishing formula with Urea and Almond Oil provides intensive care and leaves skin soft and smooth.

Hansaplast Callus Intensive Cream


A foot moisturizer with a high concentration of Urea – 20%. Urea is one of skin’s own moisturizing factors and, when applied topically, rehydrates dry skin, strengthens its protective barrier and, when used in high concentrations, reduces calluses. In research, 91% said their feet were noticeably softer and smoother after just four days1 and results continue to improve over time.

  1. Beiersdorf dermatological study with 33 subjects using the product twice daily for two weeks, 2011

A footcare routine for calloused skin

These three simple steps will help you to soften hard skin on your feet and remove calluses. Repeat regularly:

Step 1: Soak feet

Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes in warm water to soften areas of hard skin. Use a gentle cleanser to clean skin without drying it out. Pat feet dry.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Rub any hard skin with Hansaplast Callus Scrub and Care.

Step 3: Moisturize

Moisturize your feet twice daily with Hansaplast Callus Intensive Cream. Once calluses have been removed, moisturize feet twice daily with Hansaplast Dry Feet Moisturizing Cream to prevent calluses from reforming.
If you are unable to remove callused skin, or if your callused skin bothers you in any way, consult your doctor.

Expert tip: Never try to remove hard skin with a razor blade or other sharp object. You’re likely to remove too much skin, and you risk damaging deeper skin layers that could lead to infection.



Hansaplast medical professionals and scientists such as Dr Maike Kuhlmann are hard skin experts

Where can I find out more about feet?

This article gives you an overview of callused skin on feet. You can read more about the four main foot concerns, and how they are interconnected, in say goodbye to hard skin. For more information on each of the other conditions go to skin on feet, no more cracked feet or corns.

Related Articles

Related Products