Callused skin buildup on the fingers often results from repetitive hand actions like playing musical instruments, crocheting or knitting, and sports, such as gymnastics. A very thick finger callus can separate from the live skin beneath and and become painful. This may result in a fluid-filled blister or in the callus pulling off of the skin entirely. A far gentler way to remove a finger callus is to soak it in warm water, abrade it gently and gradually, and apply some kind of moisturizer to soften it over time.
Soaking the finger callus should be the first step in any removal attempt. This softens the dead skin of the callus, generally making it easier to remove. The heat may also turn the callused skin white, making it easier to see. The water should be as warm as one can tolerate, but by no means hot enough to harm the skin or cause blisters. Some people like to add Epsom salts to the water to further condition the skin, but this is not necessary.
After soaking for about five minutes, one should be able to see the finger callus clearly. Gently rubbing it with a pumice stone or exfoliating body scrub should loosen and begin to scrape away small flakes of the hardened skin. If the rubbing begins to hurt, stop this action. Pain usually means the live skin under the finger callus is being rasped, which can leave the area very tender and sore. Thin calluses don’t require as much sanding as thicker ones.
Gently drying with a soft, clean towel prepares it for further treatment. Typically, the next step is to apply a moisturizer to the area. Ordinary body lotion works well, but may sting, particularly with sensitive skin. Other options include cocoa butter and alcohol-free aloe vera moisturizer. Lotions infused with vitamin E often work well because the nutrient helps the skin heal quickly, while the lotion keeps the skin hydrated.
A thick finger callus may require several sessions for complete removal. One should space these sessions at least 24 hours apart to give one’s hands a chance to recover slightly. Thinner calluses, such as those from constant use of a pen, may require only one session for removal. Regular moisturizing should keep one’s hands soft and may help keep a finger callus from coming back.
Calluses generally build on the fingers for protection. If one place on the fingers is constantly rubbed or abused, a callus is likely to form there. Moisturizing regularly also protects the hands by keeping the skin soft, so it gives against the repetitive activity instead of grinding against it. Even if calluses do form, moisturized hands often develop much thinner calluses than dry ones.