A callus shaver is a tool that removes the layers of dead skin that make up a callus. It can be a cheap and effective tool for home pedicure treatment and a good alternative when a salon visit isn’t possible. However, improper use can lead to cuts and infection. To get the best results when using a callus shaver, pre-treat the foot, lightly shave the callus with the tool, and moisturize. You should not use a callus shaver if you have diabetes or a blood clotting disorder, as you could seriously injure yourself.
Choosing a Shaver
There are many varieties of callus shaver to choose from, but they all use the same basic design. The tool has a long handle topped with a razor blade secured on top of a perforated piece of metal. Most are made from stainless steel to prevent rust forming. Choose a device that feels comfortable in your hand.
To pre-treat your feet, fill a bucket or a bathtub with hot, but not boiling, water. Then add a few drops of body wash or soap and stir. Let your feet soak in this mixture for at least 10 minutes. You can apply professional callus remover gels to the callus and let them sit for about a minute before washing them off.
Before you start shaving, you may also need to prepare your callus shaver. Although some come with the razor blade installed, others need to be attached manually. To install the blade, consult the instructions on the packaging, because different shavers might have different designs. Always use a clean, sharp blade.
Finally, dry your feet and seat yourself comfortably with the affected area of the foot easily accessible. Many people prefer to sit either cross-legged or with one foot resting on the other leg's knee. In addition, make sure the area has good lighting and that you will not be disturbed during the process. To avoid accidentally cutting yourself, remove anything that might make you jump suddenly. If you do cut yourself while removing a callus, you should immediately clean and wash the area, and seek medical care if the cut is deep, won't stop bleeding, or gets infected.
Removing the Callus
To begin, place the callus shaver at the top edge of the callus so that the edge of the blade is touching it. Applying light pressure — about as much force as you would use with a regular razor — slowly draw the callus tool across the surface of the callus. You should see a thin strip of dead skin emerging through the open area just beneath the blade as you draw the tool across the callus.
Repeat this process over the entire callus until you have removed all of the dead skin. If you experience any pain while shaving the callus, you are applying too much pressure. The tool is designed to work slowly, with a light touch and many repeated strokes. Stop when you've removed most of the dead skin, but well before you get to any soft skin on your foot.
It is best to use a file or pumice stone to remove the last layer of the callus, so stop using the device when only a thin layer of the callus is left. Then moisturize the shaven area well with hand or body lotion. Be sure to wipe your callus shaver with rubbing alcohol after each use and store it in a clean, safe area.
There are several alternatives to callus shavers if you feel uncomfortable using one. Some of the most popular ones are pumice stones and files, which can be used to gradually slough off skin. You can also use callus removal gels or lotions to soften or melt the dead skin. Generally speaking, ones with lactic acid, urea, or glycolic acid work well. You can also get your calluses professionally removed by a pedicurist, podiatrist, or chiropodist. If you have a condition that limits the circulation to your feet or makes it hard for you to feel things in them, like diabetes, you should always get calluses removed professionally, since you could easily damage your feet. This is also true for people whose blood doesn't clot properly.
You can often prevent calluses with proper foot care. This includes not wearing shoes that are too tight or that don't fit properly, and regularly exfoliating and moisturizing your feet. If you have any abnormalities with your feet, like bones that stick out, you should see a podiatrist to determine which kinds of shoes will work best for your feet or to pursue treatment. Likewise, an abnormal gait can also cause you to develop calluses, so make sure to wear shoes to balance out your gait or see a specialist for treatment.