How Do I Choose the Best Callus Ointment?

Nicky Sutton

A callus ointment should be of sufficient concentration and strength to be able to remove hard and dry layers of skin that have built up in response to pressure points, without causing irritation. The ointment, which contains a mild acid to break down the callus, is applied directly to the area, instead of the entire food like some lotions and creams. The ointment should not cause irritation, however some pain may be experienced as the callus breaks down. Your podiatrist can advise on the best callus ointment, however, leading brands of callus ointment are often available in drugstores.

Callus ointment.
Callus ointment.

If your callus is very bad or stubborn to remove, visit a podiatrist for treatment. A podiatrist will be able to prescribe effective ointment to treat stubborn calluses. The best callus ointment is designed to be applied directly to the callus, which differs from callus lotions or creams that can be applied to the whole foot or hand area. Callus ointment is more concentrated and must not be applied to healthy skin.

Calluses may be caused by ill fitting shoes.
Calluses may be caused by ill fitting shoes.

Callus ointment must soften and break down the callus. The ointment should contain a small amount of mild acid to break down the callus and remove it. It should therefore never be applied to broken, cracked or bleeding skin which should not be subjected to acid erosion. Urea is an ingredient to look for in callus ointment because it penetrates to soften hard skin on the hands and feet, and is good for moisturizing and breaking down tough hard calluses.

A callus may be defined as a patch of hard, rough skin that may develop due to friction.
A callus may be defined as a patch of hard, rough skin that may develop due to friction.

Expect a callus to get worse once callus ointment is applied due to its corrosive properties. As the callus is broken down some pain may be experienced, but excessive pain should not be tolerated. A good callus ointment contains natural oils and moisturizers to soften and moisturize the skin. It should also protect skin with vitamins such as vitamin E, and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as chamomile.

If a callus is large or painful, it may wise to consult a podiatrist.
If a callus is large or painful, it may wise to consult a podiatrist.

The ointment should be applied two to three times daily, with application instructions clearly set out on an information sheet. Product specifications should also clearly state whether it has been dermatologically tested and explain any side effects that could be experienced. The ointment should also be suitable for diabetics, as diabetics can be particularly at risk while using medicated ointments.

Instructions should state the length of time to use the ointment, for example 12 weeks, before consulting your podiatrist. Expect your callus to be reduced in size within the time specified in the instructions, otherwise the ointment could be ineffective. Results are usually seen within seven days.

Some ointments are very strong, and should not be applied to healthy skin.
Some ointments are very strong, and should not be applied to healthy skin.

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Discussion Comments


@fify-- Whatever kind you get, make sure that it has moisturizing ingredients in it like aloe vera, vitamin E or shea butter. Most callus ointments are very tough on skin and can make things worse if it's not moisturizing. I used one like that and it made my skin flake off and made it sore for weeks.


@fify-- You should see your podiatrist and ask for a recommendation.

I got my callus ointment from my podiatrist's office but it's a product that's available without prescription on the market. I don't want to sound like I'm advertising a brand, so just ask your podiatrist or a pharmacist and they'll know. It's one of the best callus treatments on the market.

The ingredients are actually very simple. It just has enzymes, petroleum jelly and camphor. The enzymes break down the callus, petroleum jelly protects skin and camphor relieves pain and inflammation.

My calluses started disappearing from the first week of using this product and they were completely gone by week three.


I'm using an over-the counter callus ointment. But I don't think it's doing anything. I've been applying it regularly for two weeks as per the directions, but my calluses look the same.

Can anyone recommend me a good callus ointment that actually works?

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