Microplane Foot File: Goodbye, Calluses!
Calluses on the feet are a problem all of us deal with at some point, and many of us have callused feet all year long, which is one reason getting a pedicure is such a rewarding experience. What is a callus? Explained simply, it is a protective thickening of an area of skin that develops in response to pressure. Given how much daily abuse our feet take and the fact that many of us wear ill-fitting shoes or improbably high heels, it's a wonder the bottoms of our feet aren't one big callus!
Many options exist for removing or softening calluses, from pumice stones to callus files, and, for slower but more impressive results, a well-formulated BHA (salicylic acid) product. For those who don't want to bother with the longer process of using BHA to soften calluses, a new device worth your attention vastly improves on such classic but archaic options as using a pumice stone. The Microplane Foot File ($21.95) is an ingenious invention from a company whose tooling background brought them fame via their line of kitchen graters and tools, all fabricated from metal. The Foot File looks like a mini cheese-grater and its action is similar. Fastened on a plastic, hand-held component is a flat metal sheet with 95 tiny files. The company claims that when used as directed, the files cause "a bidirectional exfoliating system" that quickly removes callused skin. This device really works, and quickly—though it is not without its drawbacks and cautions.
The primary drawback depends on where your callus is. Calluses over flatter areas (like the bottom of your heel) can be removed completely. But if your callus is on the side of your big toe, the curvature of the callus makes it difficult to eliminate completely because the metal file can't pivot or conform to the shape of the callus. What happens is partial removal, though the rest can be slowly abraded by manipulating the Foot File several times over the tricky portion of the callus. I loved the fact that the skin shavings fall neatly into the built-in reservoir (earlier models did not have this feature), and the company also includes stick-on buffing pads so the opposite side of the file can be used for finishing touches.
The caution comes into play because this device works almost too well to remove thickened skin. Using it improperly, too often, or too aggressively can mean you remove too much skin, and that paves the way for a painful walking experience, not to mention the potential for infection. If you carefully follow directions and don't go overboard using it, the Microplane Foot File is a wonderful tool for instantly reducing (or, with patience, eliminating) stubborn calluses. My suggestion is to use it in the evening (it must be used on dry feet, so don't shower first) and follow with either a BHA product for further smoothing or an emollient balm, followed by cotton socks. You'll wake up to beautifully soft, callus-free feet, and that's bound to put a spring in your step! As a side note and final comment, avoid Microplane's Foot Cream Orange Blossom ($10 for 6 ounces). It's a basic emollient moisturizer, but it contains several irritants, including peppermint and wintergreen oils, plus menthol.
Source: Paula Begoun