What to Consider Before Trying a Foot Peel — The Pros and Cons of a Foot Peel Treatment

What to Consider Before Trying a Foot Peel — The Pros and Cons of a Foot Peel Treatment

Effortlessly effective for achieving baby-soft feet, foot peels have everything going on for them, except they may not be as good for your foot health as they seem.

We are only a month away from summer and after months in close shoes, your feet may be looking a bit worse for wear. Getting your feet ready for sandals now will ensure they look their best and are easy to maintain during the estival season.

A few days ago, I had a DM on insta which asked me, “what are the best foot peels?”  Initially I was shocked and mortified because my initial response would have been “don’t go there”. But then I thought, hang on — there are some pros to foot peels.

The skin on the soles of your feet can be the toughest, thickest and most calloused on our body. Weight bearing, certain occupational activities and your biomechanics can play a role in your feet developing harder skin, leaving the soles looking dull, dry, dehydrated, thick and yellowish. While from a health perspective, there is no reason for dry skin on the feet to be of concern, cosmetically it makes your feet appear an afterthought.

So, what’s my professional opinion about peels?

First, let’s talk about what foot peels really are. Foot peels are designed to deeply exfoliate the feet. They typically come in the form of booties or socks infused with a gel or liquid containing various chemical ingredients. Most at-home foot peels contain an alpha hydroxy acid solution that may include acids, such as glycolic and lactic acid and also frequently beta hydroxy salicylic acid. Moreover, many manufacturers add hydrating agents such as glycerin, vitamin E and nourishing plant oils to optimise the socks’ softening properties.

These acids are used to slough off dead skin and reveal the silky-soft feet beneath. The process is quick — some take as little as 60 seconds — and effortless as you can do it while watching TV or browsing Insta. Over the following few days after the treatment, you may not notice any immediate changes. However, within a week or so, the dead skin cells on your feet will gradually start to peel off. This peeling process can last for several days, during which you should avoid picking or forcefully removing the skin.

While in most instances, foot peels are safe to use, they work by breaking down the barrier between the dead and healthy skin. So there are few things you may want to consider before using them.

First, let’s highlight the foot peel pros:

  1. Zero effort. Foot peels are quick and easy to use.  Basically, put your feet in plastic boots and chill while you wait as long as recommended in the instructions. Then your skin will start to peel off within ten days.
  2. Cheaper than a podiatry consultation.
  3. Effective. They do what it says on the tin. Feet are prone to hard skin buildup and foot peels are an effective way to remove it.
  4. Comfort. A DIY foot peel treatment is done in the luxury of your home at your convenience and can be a relaxing way to unwind.

Now here are the cons to foot peels:

  1. Foot peels are not suitable for all thick callus or corns – they will not give you the desired result.
  2. Healthy skin may feel tender, irritated, and raw after the foot peel, as the chemical cannot determine between thick callus and healthy skin, the peel treats all the skin. With my podiatrist hat on, I truly don’t feel this is ideal for your foot health. 
  3. It’s contraindicated for open sores / irritated skin, wounds, and fungal and viral skin infections of the foot.
  4. Skin is not left baby soft as most believe it to be.

What’s more, they are definitely a no go for people who have an immunocompromised condition or diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or use steroids for a long time. Also they are not suitable or advisable if you are pregnant, or have a dermatological condition such as eczema or psoriasis of the legs and feet.

If the thick skin or callus causes pain, discomfort and or difficulty walking, medical treatment is required not a foot peel. 

How to use a foot peel

  1. Start by washing your feet thoroughly with warm water and mild soap to remove any dirt or impurities.
  2. Put on the foot peel booties or socks as per the instructions provided. They are usually made of plastic or fabric and come with an adhesive strap or tape to secure them around your feet.
  3. Wait for the recommended time. Foot peels require a specific amount of time for the chemical ingredients to work on the skin. This time can vary depending on the brand and product, so it's important to follow the instructions carefully.
  4. Rinse off and moisturise. After the recommended time has elapsed, remove the booties and rinse your feet with water to remove the remaining product. Pat your feet dry and apply a moisturiser to keep them hydrated.

What are the best foot peels?

Not sure how to answer this — I’ve never used one (never needed to). My suggestion would be picking a brand whose values align with your personal ones.  This may be consciously or subconsciously . When developing Callen Olive, I knew from my personal values that the brand must be registered vegan, cruelty free, naturally derived, results driven and with professional credibility. 

How often should I use a foot peel?

If you do decide to use a foot peel, please allow eight weeks in-between treatments to let the skin fully rejuvenate.  Overusing them will exacerbate the cons of using a foot peel. Most importantly, do what feels right for you. I always do, LOL!

The reality is that DIY cosmetic treatments have become more popular than spa or salon treatments since COVID.  I support and encourage this process along with a lot of self-love by regularly using an emery board foot file (skin dry prior to bathing) 4 mins on each foot together with a leg and foot cream or serum daily to successfully treat your legs and feet at home.  Unfortunately, like everything in life, great things deserve great care. Your body is your biggest asset — treat it with respect, take care of it and, incorporate your legs and feet into your daily #selflove routine.

Callen Olive products have been designed to maintain your legs and feet glowing and smooth while providing you the ultimate luxurious experience. They have an indulging, rich texture and smell absolutely divine. To shop the collection, click here.

Back to blog