How To Use a Pumice Stone For Soft, Smooth Feet: Guide

Taking care of the skin on your feet is just as important as taking care of the skin on the rest of your body, which means your exfoliation and moisturizing routine should extend down to your toes. Maintaining soft feet can help eliminate cracked heels and calluses, and a pumice stone is a great exfoliation tool that can help you get there. Here, we spoke with Emily Splichal, DPM, Casey Ann Pidich, DPM, and Marisa Garshick, MD, on everything you need to know about pumice stones, how to use one safely, and how often you can incorporate this tool into your routine for feet that are soft as ever.

What is a pumice stone?

According to Dr. Splichal, a pumice stone is an exfoliation tool commonly used for dry skin and calluses on the feet. “It is made of natural lava rock that is porous and perfect for removing dead layers of the skin,” she says. The rock itself is very lightweight and very rough to the touch. This texture makes it ideal for exfoliating, says Dr. Pidich.

Does a pumice stone remove cracked heels?

According to the experts, a pumice stone can help remove excess skin, cracked heels, or calluses on the ball of the foot. While this tool can be beneficial for excess skin build-up, the experts warn that if you have a very deep crack in your heel or bleeding, visit a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis.

It’s also important to note that when using a pumice stone, avoid any areas that may have a fungal infection or plantar warts, as these can contaminate the stone and cause more problems than you bargained for.

Do you use a pumice stone wet or dry?

Dr. Pidich says you should always wet a pumice stone before exfoliating to help reduce friction. A dry stone can be too abrasive and harsh on the skin and can lead to injury. “If a pumice stone is dry, it can potentially cause small tears, especially if used vigorously on sensitive areas,” Dr. Garshick explains.

How to use a pumice stone

“Start by soaking your feet in warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes to soften the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. Next, wet the pumice stone and gently rub it all over the callused areas you want to exfoliate. “Gently debride the dry skin until you feel the softer skin exposed,” says Dr. Splichal.

The experts agree that the best method for using a pumice stone is to move it in a circular or back-and-forth motion. “Medium pressure is needed to remove the dead skin. However, too much pressure can cause injury or cuts to the skin. It’s a delicate balance and depends on how thick your foot calluses are,” says Dr. Pidich.

How often should you use a pumice stone?

According to our experts you should use a pumice stone at most once or twice a week. “This frequency helps prevent over-exfoliation and allows your skin to recover between sessions. Using it too often can lead to skin irritation, redness, or damage,” Dr. Garshick says.

You should not use a pumice stone on delicate, broken, or inflamed skin areas. Further, Dr. Pidich recommends consulting with a podiatrist before using a pumice stone if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or are pregnant. It’s also crucial to clean and store your pumice stone in a cool, dry area and wash it after every use. “Ensure you keep the pumice stone as clean as possible as it can easily trap bacteria. Do not leave them in the shower where there will be a lot of humidity,” Dr. Splichal adds.

What to do after using a pumice stone on feet

After using a pumice stone, thoroughly rinse your feet to remove any remaining dead skin, and then apply a rich, hydrating moisturizer or foot cream. “The most effective creams to help reduce calluses contain urea,” says Dr. Pidich. Urea works to retain the skin’s moisture and break down dead skin cells, which works well in tandem with a pumice stone. Dr. Splichal also recommends using a foot butter or moisturizing foot mask after you exfoliate with a pumice stone, like the Voesh Solemate Heel Balm & Moisturizing Heel Socks ($22) or the Patchology Rosé Toes Shea Butter Foot Mask ($10).

Final takeaway

Pumice stones are a great tool for softening feet and preventing cracked heels and calluses. Use them wet to exfoliate and slough off dead skin for a smoother texture on your heels or balls of the feet. You can use a pumice stone once or twice a week to ensure proper exfoliation without harming your feet. Finish your pumice stone regimen with a hydrating foot balm or moisturizing mask to give you silky, plush feet.

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