Here’s How to Make a Dermatologist’s Easy Foot Peel Treatment at Home

Updated: Aug. 24, 2022

Have crackly, dry feet? This easy formula will peel off layers of dead skin and give you smooth feet for weeks—plus, says a cosmetic surgeon, it's safer than other treatments that can "draw in bacteria."

If you’re anything like me, you spend pretty much the entirety of your summer barefoot. Not just days at the beach or pool, but in the house, on the patio, walking through the backyard, and yeah, sometimes even driving in your car (the obsession is real, I know). However, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, walking around barefoot can put you at increased risk of foot problems. So although shoes are always optional when the summer months roll around, my feet will inevitably build a layer of crackly callus at the heel—which isn’t exactly the most attractive thing in the world.

Typically I rely on getting a pedicure where I can get a foot peel treatment, which is always a matter of figuring out when I can fit a trip to the nail salon into my schedule. That’s why I’ve been on the hunt for a homemade foot treatment I can just whip up myself—and as usual, YouTube came to the rescue.

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Why do feet get crackly and dry?

Calluses on the feet build up when the foot has constant pressure on the skin due to repeated friction and rubbing. Increased pressure on the heel causes the skin to split, and the skin at the rim of the heel becomes dry and thick. While the foot may experience a lot of pressure in the summertime, skin tends to be driest during the winter, so your feet can experience dryness all year round.

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This homemade foot peel only requires three ingredients

Recently I stumbled on a tutorial video from Beverly Hills MD with Dr. John Layke, DO, a Los Angeles plastic surgeon who shares a simple three-ingredient “foot power peel.”

“This do-it-yourself treatment is so effective, it can deliver dramatic long-lasting results after just one use,” says Dr. Layke in the YouTube video. “Plus it’s a lot safer than those abrasive pumice stones and foot files, which can break healthy skin and draw in bacteria.”

To make this homemade foot peel, all you need are:

The steps to apply the homemade foot peel are the following: 

  • Mix the three ingredients together.
  • Then slather the foot peel on the bottoms and sides of your feet and wrap it in plastic wrap, just like they do at the nail place.
  • While the salon treatment usually only lasts for a few minutes, Dr. Layke suggests you slide on a thick pair of socks or slippers and leave the homemade foot peel on for one hour.

After that hour? “The mixture of aspirin and lemon juice acts as a powerful acidic exfoliate that safely works to loosen and dissolve layers of dead skin,” says Dr. Layke. While he initially recommends leaving the foot peel treatment on for one hour, he says for maximum results (especially for very dry feet), try leaving it on for two or three hours.

“If you’re experiencing anything more than a mild tingling sensation, or your feet start to sting or feel irritated, you should wash the paste off immediately,” he says.

When you’re finished, remove the peel and rinse off your foot, pat it dry with a towel, then massage your feet with either jojoba, olive, or avocado oil to lock in the moisture.

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This homemade foot treatment will last for weeks

At the end of the video, Dr. Layke says the results can last several weeks or even months. “Keep in mind: even though your feet will likely feel a lot smoother right away, the full effect of this treatment usually kicks in a few days later,” he says. “Even after you wash it off, your feet will typically continue to shed bits and pieces of [dead skin] for up to one week. So don’t be alarmed if you notice strips of dead skin coming off your heels and toes in the days that follow.”

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