Rough, hardened soles can be uncomfortable and downright painful, but the right lotion can offer your feet relief in a matter of days. The best foot creams for calluses contain both exfoliating acids (like lactic and/or salicylic acid) to slough away hard skin, and moisturizers to leave your feet blanketed in hydration.
You may already know some of the benefits of using chemical exfoliants on your face, but they can work wonders on your body, too. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) — including glycolic, lactic, and citric acids — encourage the shedding of dead skin cells, while lactic acid in particular helps lock in moisture and prevent water loss, which in turn can keep your feet soft once the hard skin is gone. In terms of beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), salicylic acid has a reputation as an acne-fighting all-star, but when it comes to skin care products for your body, it's also quite effective at dissolving dead skin particles, and it does so at deeper levels, making it a good choice for extra rough heels.
If your goal is to reduce callus buildup as fast as possible, look for products that contain a high concentration of urea. The powerful humectant is lauded by podiatrists for its ability to buff out calluses and increase the skin's ability to hold on to moisture over time, meaning regular use can offer relief from dry, itchy skin and prevent more scales from forming.
Speaking of which, hydration is just as important as exfoliation when it comes to the best foot creams for dry, cracked feet because it helps keep hardened patches at bay. For that reason, many products will include nourishing ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, and/or glycerin. Niacinamide, a water-soluble vitamin, is another great calming agent for feet because it's non-sensitizing, so it's especially suitable for those who have reactive skin.
Now that you're ready to show your feet some love and give unwanted calluses the boot, try one of the best foot creams from Amazon featured below. Just note that if you have diabetes or your calluses become painful, consult with a podiatrist to discuss other options.
1. Overall Best: A Foot Cream With Urea
With positive ratings from more than 14,600 Amazon shoppers, this fragrance-free Kerasal Foot Repair treatment is one of the best-loved foot creams you'll find — it's even earned the seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association. The reason it's such a miracle worker? It contains a potent concentration of salicylic acid (5%) and urea (10%) that, when combined, can effectively soften cracked heels and hardened calluses. And to keep feet silky once all the dead stuff is gone, the formula is also chock full of hydrating ingredients, like aloe vera, shea butter, and white petrolatum (aka the main ingredient in Vaseline, which is a heavy hitter when it comes to sealing in moisture). Many fans report that they get the best results when they apply the ointment at night, put on socks, and let the treatment work its magic while they sleep.
One success story: "This stuff is fantastic. Only 5 days into treatment & my feet are healing quickly. I had a fairly deep crack on the ball of my foot & calluses on my heels. I applied the balm morning & night, wore cotton socks all day/night & used a pumice stone to gently exfoliate in the shower. The crack is about half an inch long now & I no longer have pain when I walk. It’s important to remember to exfoliate while you’re using this! Speeds up healing significantly."
2. Runner Up: A Foot Cream With Lactic Acid
This Amlactin cream is formulated with three types of lactic acid, which, apart from gently breaking up dead skin cells, also work in tandem to attract water to the outer layers of your skin, leaving it hydrated and smooth. In addition to AHAs, the tube contains moisturizing glycerin, petrolatum, and stearic acid, a fatty acid that helps further protect your skin barrier. The gentle, fragrance-free formula can be applied up to two times daily, but keep in mind that the lactic acid may cause it to "sting a little on sensitive or cracked skin," according to a few Amazon reviewers. Still, with more than 1,800 reviewers giving it five stars, that temporary tingle will be worth it when you experience the outcome.
One success story: "Listen I've tried everything! My heels are awful. I've tried every cream, scrub, socks, soaks, 100's of dollars... 100's of products... this is the only thing that works for me. Truly life changing for me I've never been comfortable in flip flops until now. Once a night apply once a day apply. Huge difference. Huge!"
3. The Best Foot Cream For Sensitive Skin
Just like the lotions above, this jar of CeraVe SA cream also gets high praise from Amazon shoppers who have given it a 4.7-star rating after 8,600+ reviews. It sets itself apart from the crowd with how gentle it is — not only is it hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, dye-free, and fragrance-free, but it's also the only pick on this list that's been accepted by the National Eczema Association, making it a safe option for those who have very sensitive skin. It's formulated to work anywhere on your body, which makes it a great multi-use product, but fans are quick to point out how well it works specifically on calluses. ("My feet were transformed after two uses - seriously soft and smooth now," wrote one.) It contains two key exfoliants — salicylic acid and lactic acid — and vitamin D, which, when applied topically, has anti-inflammatory and skin-repairing properties. Further skin-calming benefits come from niacinamide, while the ingredients list is rounded out by smoothing and softening ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which can bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
One success story: "I purchased this lotion for my callused feet. I started using it at night before bed and noticed a difference within three days. Not only that, but my hands feel softer as well. I am impressed. As someone who gets migraines from scented products, I also appreciate the fact that there are no strong fragrances to this lotion."
Also Consider: A Pair Of Exfoliating Socks
No stranger to calluses myself, I can vouch for the awesome power of the Baby Foot peel, though you could also take the word of the 16,000+ reviewers who have given it a five-star rating. The single-use booties (you'll get one for each foot) are filled with a mix of acids, including salicylic, lactic, and glycolic. Slide them on your feet and leave them on for at least an hour. I suggest using rubber bands to keep them tight at the ankles if you're going to be moving around or throw a pair of socks over them so your feet won't be so slippery. Though you won't see instant results, you'll start shedding layers of dead skin about a week later, and your feet will continue to peel for another few days. It takes time, but it's worth it for the results.
One success story: "Before using this product, my feet were extremely callused. Especially in the heel and ball of the foot.The soak did not irritate my skin whatsoever. After a couple days I didn't see any peeling and wondered if my calluses were too thick for the product to work. Around day 3-4 the dead skin started peeling off, I mean, in chunks...They continued to peel for a few days...Once the peeling was over, my feet looked amazing! It's been a few months and I'm starting to get calluses again so I bought this again and will be using it over the weekend. LOVE THIS!"