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Do foot masks work?

Last Modified: April 21, 2023

Family Medicine


This post was written by Ashley M. Bojrab, DPM, FACFAS, ABPM, CWS, PPG – Podiatry.

As soon as sandal season rolls around, we start looking for solutions to make our feet look and feel more presentable. We want them to be pretty and polished before we step out in our flip flops or spring fashions. One new option many are turning to, is foot masks. As a podiatrist, of course, I have some thoughts on this proposed treatment for dry, cracked skin.

What is a foot mask?

Foot masks (also sometimes marketed as peels) are sheets or pastes that can be applied to the feet with the purpose of exfoliating and making skin more supple. They contain ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid and/or lactic acid, all of which are used to help remove dead skin cells and soften calluses. Some masks also contain moisturizing ingredients that help hydrate, such as hyaluronic acid.

Do foot masks work?

Like most things pertaining to the body, it depends! Some masks may be more successful than others, depending on the product and the person using it. Some skin types will respond with positive results after just one application, while others require multiple masks. In some cases, one application can be too much for a person whose skin is more sensitive.

Who should use a foot mask?

People who know they have sensitive skin should test the mask prior to a full application. This is done by applying a small amount of the paste or liquid on the sheet to the skin prior to use. Watch the area for 24 to 48 hours and note any negative changes to the skin.

If a person has underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease, they should speak with their healthcare provider prior to using a foot mask.  

If none of the above considerations apply, most people should be able to utilize these products without much trouble. There will likely be some trial and error before arriving at the perfect product for each individual’s feet, but they should see some softening and notice an overall smoother feel after exfoliating.

Here’s to warmer days ahead!

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