The Most Effective Way to Remove Dead Skin From Your Heels

picture of a bare foot where a woman is applying lotion to it

Chemical peel at home with lactic acid – the most effective way to remove dead skin from feet


What is Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a hydrating alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) commonly derived from milk, but there are alternative vegan sources, like fermented corn starch, beets, and other sugar-rich foods. Synthetic forms of this ingredient are often found in peels and serums.

Other examples of AHAs include glycolic acid and citric acid.

How Does Lactic Acid Work In Feet Peel

Lactic acid breaks down (actually it is kind of burning off) dead skin. Your dead skin will be peeling off your feet for about a week after you complete the below procedure.

Benefits of Using Lactic Acid Over Pumice Stone/Coarse Scrubbers

I know that every time you go to have your pedi done your aesthetician scrubs your dead skin of your feet viciously.

Many even cut if off with a razor.

And your feet feel and look so nice right after.

You continue using pumice stones at home. And yes, your feet, do feel soft right after you do it.

But then eventually some of you notice that the skin of your feet gets harder and harder. You even notice cracks appearing.

And the more viciously you scrub, the harder your heels get.

This does not work for everyone, but some of us does. It sure does for me.

In some people this is how skin regeneration works: the more you remove – the more your body produces (it is kind of the same idea with oily skin: the more you remove oil, the more you oil your skin oil glands produce to compensate for removed oil. Read more about it HERE).

Using lactic acid removes dead skin without scrubbing. No scrubbing means that your body won’t be compensating for removed skin. I find that with lactic acid peel it does not that way.

WARNING about lactic acid (and any acid)

I must warn you that lactic acid is an extremely potent acid, especially the strengths I am talking about in this post. You have to be VERY CAREFUL, wear gloves, goggles and watch that you do not spill anything on your bear skin. KEEP AWAY from children. Read all the labels on your products before using them!!!!!

Please, do not use it on your face. Only use it for a purpose I talk about in this article.

Picture of a foot with very dry and cracked heel bottom

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I am fast forwarding in time here and writing the best and the most effective acid peel that really helped me.   I tried another acid peel prior to this method (I will describe it later in the post).

I just wanted to provide you with an effective solution earlier and did not want to make you to read to the very end.

I came up with this DIY foot peel myself by using trial and error method.  I needed something that would help to remove thick dead skin from feet exactly where I needed it:  bottom of my heels and large toe. 

I did the research and was able to find that I can purchase pure 80% lactic acid eBay (you can also buy 90% lactic acid on amazon).  And this acid is cheap comparing to many creams and peels that I tried before.

I read numerous consumers reviews on the use and dilution of a product.  I discovered that people diluted acid to achieve 3-5% strength and add it to creams, lotions, toners and other skin care products.

However, I did not find any useful information on how to use lactic acid for feet peel.  Thus I decided to try to develop my own routine.

I tried to dilute my 80% lactic acid to achieve a 40% strength (I diluted acid with a grapeseed oil). Then I soaked cotton pad in this acidic solution and applied it directly to a problematic area. 

To be honest I didn’t notice any results after,  which was quite disappointing. 

However, I was not going to give up. 

So I decided to use pure 80% strength acid.  I did about 4 rounds of procedure.  And finally I achieved what I wanted.  I finally ended up with pink, nourished, hydrated baby like feet that are free of calluses.  I honestly did not know my feet were able to look like THAT.  It’s been 2 months since I’ve done my first series of peels and my feet are still great.  I exfoliate feet twice a week in the shower using exfoliating gloves; no scrubbing and no pumice stone.

Image of a label with 80% lactic acid

Lactic Acid Feet Peel

So here is the procedure. 

  • Put on  rubber gloves  (it would be ideal if you put goggles to protect your eyes from splashing but to be honest I did not do that)
  • Have some flat round cotton pads
  • Soak cotton pad very generously with lactic acid. 
  • Apply soaked cotton pad to a desired area.  In my case I applied it to the back side of my heels and to the side of my both large toes. 
  • Hold cotton pads in place and wrap your feet with plastic wrap creating a plastic sock. 
  • Put on regular socks and leave pads for about 30 to 40 minutes (I would say it is good for a beginner.  I personally  leave peel on for 1 hour and even longer).
picture of a foot in a basin with water and scrubber
  • Fill up a medium sized basin with hot (not boiling) water.   The water should not be a boiling hot but comfortably hot so you can keep your feet in there.  Soak your feet for about 15-20 minutes allowing affected skin too soften more.  Use exfoliating gloves to gently exfoliate dead skin.  If you do not have exfoliating gloves, use a VERY GENTLE feet scrubber like this.

Use the FINE side only. You only want to remove the layer that was softened by the acid.

  • Dry feet very well and apply shea butter, or petroleum jelly, or any other oil. 
  • Repeat procedure every other day for 3-5 days.  Your skin might start peeling off even from the first time.   For me it was after the third time.
  • Apply moisturizing care products or natural oils after each procedure to prevent feet from drying.  While taking a shower, exfoliate your feet daily to promote faster removal of peeled skin (GENTLE exfoliation only).  Reassess your diet, hydration and wear comfortable shoes.

I made a video on how to do this peel at home.  This is my first ever video, so, please, be understanding 🙂   I know it is mediocre, but it explains well the whole procedure.

Chemical Peel at home – mild version 

picture of chemical peel

This is another version of chemical peel at home.  I used it prior “inventing” lactic acid peel.   I found it to be helpful, however, it did not allow me to target specific areas.

Why would you might consider this type of foot peeling?

  • Well, it does help you to remove dead skin from your feet.  And it comes in pre-packed individual “sock” so you do not really have to mix anything.  You might find it less stressful and easier to use.
  • You would need to buy at least 10 pairs to achieve good results.  My skin started peeling off after the 3rd application, but I read that some people needed 5 or even 7 applications to see any action.

For anyone who would like to use this peel, I recommend to use it during colder temperatures and when you do not expose your feet to others.  Once your skin starts peeling off, it is not a very appealing picture. So you would want to hide your feet from others during this times. 

I used to do the serious of 7 peels twice a year:  every fall after sandals season was over; and in the spring before the flip flops season.   This way I had nice soft feet all year around.

However, there were few things I did not like about these peel socks.

1)  Peel socks were very cumbersome to put on.  I find that each sock was too big for my foot (they do not come in individual sizes).  I eventually started wrapping “socks” with plastic wrap and then secure them with regular socks.

2) I found that it was also very uncomfortable to walk in those socks.  These socks are basically plastic bags filled with peeling acid.   It felt as if my feet were constantly emerged in a cold water. 

3)   Acids in socks was working on my whole foot including the top of it.  And the skin on top of your foot is much more gentle than at the bottom.  So I ended up with a quite severe acid burn on top of my feet and it was very painful for few days to have any foot wear on.  Eventually I found a solution: I would cover the top of the foot with plastic, then put on the socks.  This way the top of my foot was somewhat protected from acid burn. 

4)  These socks are great to work on the whole foot.  I was more interested in targeting specific areas where skin was extremely dry and thick.

I use chemical peel with lactic acid twice a year: in the spring and fall (when my feet are not exposed).

When you are using the peel, make sure you moisturize your feet as much as you can, even few times a day: this will expedite dead skin removal.

I do not let my aesthetician to use scrubber when doing my pedicure. She only uses gentle exfoliating gloves.

Enjoy your baby like soft feet 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Most Effective Way to Remove Dead Skin From Your Heels

  1. Fantastic post. I’ll be doing this asap. I have lactic Acid 10% and it’s good, but I’m going to buy the 80% you mentioned and use that instead. Thank you ! 😁

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