Q&A

Is it true that when you remove calluses with a razor, they come back harder?

Q.

Is it true that when you remove calluses with a razor, they come back harder?

A.

The basic answer to this question is no. Callus (also called tyloma) formation is the normal protective reaction of the skin to repeated friction or pressure which occurs over a long period of time. (If the pressure or friction occurs excessively over a short period of time, the skin does not have enough time to form the callus and the result is the formation of a fluid blister.)

Callus is a thickening of the keratin layer of the epidermis and is nature’s way of protecting the delicate structures beneath the skin from external abuse. The excessive external irritation to a particular area of the skin causes the underlying blood vessels to dilate. This in turn supplies more oxygen and other nutrients to the keratin producing layers of the skin. As a result of these extra nutrients, there is an excess production of epithelial cells in the area. As these cells are pushed upward, they cause a thickening of the horny layer of the skin. This is the callus, or tyloma. Trimming away the callus tissue does not change the actual cellular structures which produce the callus so there is no way for these cells to form “harder” callus tissue.

Remember, the nail professional should not “remove” calluses. She should smooth and soften calluses. If the callus is severe enough to require removal, the client should be referred to a podiatrist. — Dr. Mix

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