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Scrubs to soaks: 9 ways to remove dead skin from feet

Dead skin on the feet can accumulate for several reasons. But to keep your feet soft, you need to get rid of dead skin. Try these ways to remove dead skin from feet.
A woman removing dead skin from feet at home
Dead skin from feet should be removed. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 31 Mar 2024, 12:00 pm IST
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When dead cells on the skin’s surface fall off on their own, new cells emerge. The buildup of dead skin cells should not be ignored and needs to be removed. If dead skin is not removed, it may appear dry and cracked. The easiest way to get rid of dead skin from feet is to use a pumice stone, which is a natural lava stone. All you have to do is soak your feet in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, and gently rub the pumice stone over the dead skin. If there are cuts or injuries, you should avoid using it. Other than that, try out these tips to get rid of dead skin from feet.

What is dead skin?

Dead skin cells are those that have finished their life cycle. Our skin renews itself, moves the oldest cells to the surface and produces new ones in the deeper layers. These cells inevitably perish once they reach the surface, resulting in dead skin, says dermatologist Dr Ajay Deshpande. This is a natural procedure that is necessary to keep skin healthy and to stop germs and debris from building up.

A close-up of legs of a woman with dead skin on feet
Pressure on feet can lead to buildup of dead skin cells. Image courtesy: Freepik

What causes buildup of dead skin cells on feet?

Dead skin on the feet, especially, can accumulate for several reasons:

1. Pressure and friction

Walking or standing for long periods can cause the skin, especially on the soles, to thicken. As a protective response, the skin dies.

2. Dry environment

If you stay in a place with dry environment, it can dry out your skin. This increases dead skin buildup, says the expert.

3. Lack of moisture

Irrespective of the environment or weather, using a moisturiser is a must.
Not moisturising your feet regularly can lead to dry, dead skin accumulation.

4. Ageing

As we start growing older, the natural exfoliation process of our skin slows down. This leads to more noticeable dead skin, especially on the feet.

What are the best ways to remove dead skin from feet?

You can try the following methods to remove dead skin:

1. Sugar scrub

This is the most basic and very effective scrub. Mix sugar with coconut oil to create a thick paste. Once you get the paste, massage it gently onto your feet to exfoliate dead skin.

2. Coffee scrub

Caffeine helps rejuvenate the skin while scrubbing away dead cells, says Dr Deshpande. You can combine coffee grounds with a bit of olive oil then use it to remove dead skin from feet.

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3. Oatmeal scrub

It is a gentle scrub perfect for people with sensitive skin. Mix ground oatmeal with honey and milk to make an oatmeal scrub for your feet.

4. Citrus peel

You can apply a mixture of lemon juice and honey to your feet, wrap them in plastic, and rinse after an hour. The citric acid in lemon juice helps peel away dead skin, says the expert.

5. Apple cider vinegar soak

Soaking feet in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water can soften and loosen dead skin. This can make it easier to peel off the dead skin.

6. Epsom salt soak

Epsom salt also helps to soften and remove dead skin. Just dissolve the salt in warm water and soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes.

A woman soaking her feet in water to remove dead skin
Baking soda soak can help to remove dead skin from feet. Image courtesy: Freepik

7. Baking soda soak

A baking soda and water solution can soften the feet. This can make scrubbing dead skin off easier.

8. Vinegar and Listerine soak

Mix vinegar and Listerine with water to remove dead skin from feet. The antiseptic properties of these ingredients can help to soften and remove dead skin.

9. Tea tree oil soak

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial benefits, and is great for softening skin, says the expert. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to warm water then soak your feet.

After any of these treatments, gently use a pumice stone to remove the loosened dead skin, then apply a good moisturiser.

How to prevent dead skin buildup on feet?

Preventing dead skin buildup involves regular care. Here’s what to do:

  • Use a thick, nourishing moisturiser every day to keep your feet hydrated.
  • Exfoliate your feet one or two times a week.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well to reduce pressure and friction.
  • Have water and healthy drinks to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.

These simple steps can keep your feet soft, healthy, and free of unwanted dead skin buildup.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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