Despite its massive fan base, Baby Foot isn’t the only exfoliator that can bring rough, calloused feet back to life. There are actually three main types of ingredients to look out for in foot peels: chemical exfoliators, skin softeners, and manual exfoliators, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Chemical exfoliators containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids like glycolic, salicylic, and fruit acids, are the most intense option on the market and often come as little booties where you soak your feet in them. “[Alpha and beta] hydroxy acids work by dissolving connections between skin cells, so dead skin can be shed,” says Dr. Zeichner. The result? Shedding serious amounts of skin, which explains the dramatic, grossly satisfying photos you’ve seen Baby Foot reviewers upload.
We’re constantly putting pressure on our feet, which is why that skin tends to harden and thicken — and so it’s one of the first places to show signs of form of flaking, peeling, and calluses. However, Dr. Zeichner says that calluses are formed as a measure of protection and that removing calluses and dead skin all together might leave your skin more sensitive to its environment.
“The goal should be to have enough of a callous to protect your feet, but not too much that it leaves you with uncomfortable and unpleasant thick skin,” Dr. Zeichner says.
In moderation (Dr. Zeichner doesn’t recommend a foot peel any more than once every few weeks, though you could use foot masks as often as you wish), the following treatments really do live up to their claims and help restore the skin. All nine of these foot peels are recommended by board-certified dermatologists and podiatrists who stress the importance of regular exfoliation and moisturizing, so your feet stay soft and healthy all year round.
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