There are certain beauty habits, like squeezing out blackheads or peeling off a gel manicure, that are oddly satisfying, but also frowned upon since they can cause damage to your skin or nails. The best foot peels to remove dead skin give you that same feeling of satisfaction, but without the guilt, since they leave you with super-soft feet sans any damage.
While many of the foot peels on the market incorporate gentle botanical ingredients, like lavender and rosemary extract, they also include acids that pack a serious punch. While this might sound scary, the acids in question are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are derived from natural substances. Also popular in exfoliating treatments for your face (although in smaller concentrations), AHAs, like glycolic and lactic acid, help get rid of dead skin cells by stimulating the skin's shedding process, which is why they're the true star ingredient in at-home foot peels.
To keep feet smooth during the intense peeling process, you'll also want to look for moisturizing ingredients like castor oil and argan oil. Not only is castor oil a humectant that helps retain moisture, but it can also help fight fungus. Other popular botanicals used in foot peels — like lavender, peppermint, and lemon — help eliminate foot odor, so if that's something you're dealing with, be on the lookout for these.
Because all foot peels use some combination of AHAs, you'll notice that they do come with a few warnings on the packaging. Since there's some heavy peeling action going on, if you have any open cuts or wounds on your feet, hold off on the peel. Anyone with diabetes, eczema, or who is pregnant or nursing should also avoid these types of products.
For everyone else looking for a solution for dry, cracked feet, here are three of the best foot-peeling masks on the market.