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You don't need to indulge in a professional pedicure to get rid of those pesky calluses. But it might take a heavy-duty lotion or cream to undo the damage your feet have endured. The best remedies both moisturize your skin and slough off old, tough, dead skin cells. For the softest, smoothest tootsies, though, you might want to use a callus shaver or foot file, too.
Lotions are not the first choice for callus care, according to Houston's Tanglewood Foot Specialists. "Lotions are a thinner vehicle for moisture and do not penetrate the skin as deeply," they note. There is one lotion that the clinic recommends, however: Amerigel Care Lotion. It contains zinc oxide, dimethicone and a trademark ingredient called Oakin that relies on natural tannins to fight infections, exfoliate and reduce inflammation.
Creams are thicker than lotions and stay put where you place them, making them more desirable for foot care than lotions. Lesley Thomas of "The Telegraph" prefers Kiehl's Intensive Treatment, loaded with avocado and shea butter; she also gave a shout-out to Aveda's sweet-smelling Foor Relief cream. "InStyle" magazine's Best of Beauty 2011 selected Neutrogena's Norwegian Formula Foot Cream. Tanglewood Foot Specialists gives their nod to Cetaphil and Eucerin.
Some of the best callus care creams are available only by prescription from your podiatrist. Most will contain a high percentage of urea or uric acid, a heavy-duty exfoliant that can soften and help heal even the toughest, fissured feet. Tanglewood Foot Specialists like Straight Arrow's Foot Miracle and Gordon Labs' Gormel Creme.
A tried-and-true home remedy is to slather your feet with your chosen lotion or cream just before bedtime, then put on a pair of clean cotton socks. You can use a specialty product with this beauty routine, but it turns out you can also use simple petroleum jelly. Bag Balm is another popular overnight remedy.