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How do I get rid of dead skin?
December 1, 2005 12:07 PM   Subscribe

SkinCareFilter: I always have lots of calluses and dead skin on my hands. What's the best way to smooth it out?

I get a lot of calluses and dead skin on my hands/fingers, particularly below each set of knuckles. It comes from lifting weights just about every day for many years, and generally I don't mind it, but lately it's gotten more severe. I also don't think the womenfolk enjoy the presence of dozens of rough spots on my hands. I've tried wearing gloves, and it doesn't help unless the gloves are so thick I have trouble keeping a grip. I also tried filing it down once to no great effect. Is there a good way to smooth it out?
posted by TunnelArmr to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Pumice stone is good for rubbing off calluses (and don't forget to moisturize). You can pick one up at Bed Bath & Beyond, or any similar place.
posted by Gator at 12:09 PM on December 1, 2005


If your skin is really try, I'd suggest getting pure shea butter and rubbing it in before going to bed. Wear gloves or socks on your hands.

Baby oil might work too; lanolin is great for the skin.

If your calluses are formed from lifting weights, then they aren't going to go away until you stop that activity. But a pumice stone will keep them manageable. Best time to use the stone is after your skin has been soaking for awhile, like after a bath or even washing dishes (assuming you don't use gloves).
posted by luneray at 12:36 PM on December 1, 2005


A combination of sandpaper and moisturizer should do the trick.

That being said, I would advise keeping the calluses and getting rid of your softbatch friends. Calluses are a sign of living, of being in touch with your surroundings.
posted by hendrixson at 12:41 PM on December 1, 2005


Pretty Feet and Hands has a ridiculous name but offers immediate and marked results. A friend of mine gets it for his father who has rough skin issues. It is sometimes found in drugstores with the products for diabetes care.
posted by Morrigan at 12:47 PM on December 1, 2005


A pumice stone and using a cream that contains a high percentage of urea works for me.
posted by squeak at 12:48 PM on December 1, 2005


Pummice stone and bag balm.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:53 PM on December 1, 2005


Calluses are a sign of living, of being in touch with your surroundings.

This may be, but unfortunately, they hurt! At least, the ones TunnelArmr is talking about do, which I also get from the weights. Not terrible pain, but I could do without it; trimming them is why I was asking about a special tool. The pumice stone I've tried was too wimpy for the job, had better luck with a grinding wheel -- or a scalpel.
posted by Rash at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2005


Lots of good info, thanks guys. I had tried filing them with an emory board a while back and it did basically nothing, so I gave up that tack, but the general consensus seems to be a pumice stone (not sure if I'm ready to resort to the scalpel yet). Now I just need to decide which of your many recommended lotions to try...

hendrixson: Back in high school before I took up lifting people would always remark on the softness of my hands and say things like "you must never have done a day of work in your life!" So I hear what you're saying, sort of. I still want them gone, though.
posted by TunnelArmr at 2:40 PM on December 1, 2005


The only way to really take care of it is to stop doing the things that caused the calluses in the first place. Skip the moisturizers for one day and they'll be right back in full force.
posted by kindall at 2:48 PM on December 1, 2005


I also don't think the womenfolk enjoy the presence of dozens of rough spots on my hands.

If it makes you feel any better, I kinda like the weightlifting calluses on my guy's hands... I blush to admit it, but his hands feel more, well, manly than the hands of the artists/eggheads/non-weight-lifting-types I dated for so long. Other women's mileage may vary, of course.

posted by scody at 3:06 PM on December 1, 2005


I have to second Bag Balm.

Now that winter has set in, my hands have fallen apart--between the dry air, and the constant handwashing I have to do (two kids, one in diapers).

Even my trusty shea butter wasn't working. I bought a tin of bag balm yesterday at the drug store, and the first application had my hands back to pre-baby softness.

Bag balm is made of lanolin, and some people are allergic--and of course it is not vegan-friendly, if you're so inclined. Still, it is the ultimate skin softener.
posted by padraigin at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2005


You could try good old petroleum jelly at night and a pumice stone in the morning.

Apply the jelly before bed, wear gloves/socks to seal in the moisture, and use a pumice stone in the morning on the rough spots so you don't rub away the healthy, soft(er) skin.
posted by phoenixc at 4:45 PM on December 1, 2005


Moisturize, especially during winter when relative humidity is low, there's lot of dry wind, and it's wet.

The Body Shop has this goop with pumice sand in it. It's supposed to be for feet but I found it quite effective for my hands.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:47 PM on December 1, 2005


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