Are Foot Peel Masks Beneficial?

Dry skin is a common concern among a variety of people, according to Mayo Clinic. In fact, a number of individuals deal with parched, scaly skin on their feet (per Medical News Today). Keep in mind, the skin on the feet has fewer oil glands than anywhere else on the body, making it especially likely to become dry and rough. They're also subjected to more daily friction and irritation when walking, standing, and wearing shoes. This can result in calluses and cracked flakey skin.

Symptoms of dry, rough feet can be uncomfortable and may even increase the risk of developing an infection, especially when there are open lesions on the skin. In relatively mild cases, serious health risks may be less of a concern, however, dry feet can still be a source of embarrassment for some.

Luckily, in either situation, treatments are available that promise softer, more hydrated tootsies. One over-the-counter option is a foot peel mask. These masks are applied to the feet and act as an exfoliator, causing the outer layer of skin to shed in as little as five days, explains Cleveland Clinic. In theory, calluses and dry skin are peeled away, leaving only baby-soft skin. However, here's what you should know about these products before you begin slathering them on your feet.

Foot peel masks are effective for most people

The idea of visibly shedding skin from your dry, worn-out feet may sound gratifying, and this is the effect many foot peel masks on the market offer. But is it really beneficial? Dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal told Cleveland Clinic that foot peels are effective at getting rid of old skin and revealing softer, smoother skin underneath — a process that can require up to two weeks. The masks are safe for treating standard dryness. However, those with eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, cuts or wounds, and other infections or irritation on the feet should steer clear of using these products.

Certain people with other health issues may be more likely to suffer adverse reactions after using foot peel masks, podiatrist Dr. Rebecca Pruthi explains to HelloGiggles. "Since they [foot peels] are not performed under a doctor's supervision, there are associated risks. People with diabetes, smokers, or those that are immunocompromised should not use these treatments," she said. 

If you do decide to use foot peels, familiarize yourself with the ingredients that target your skin concern first. For exfoliation, look for glycolic and lactic acids, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, told Women's Health. If moisture is your priority, make sure your mask has shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and avocado oil listed on the label.