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Corns are small, hard skin growths that usually appear on the sides and bottom of feet. They may occur on any area subjected to regular friction and mechanical trauma such as fingers.

Although corns do not cause much trouble systematically as often, excessive and constant pressure can make them uncomfortable and painful enough to make you feel miserable every time you put your foot on the floor.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, women are more prone to corns than men. Apart from this, athletes, bedridden patients especially amputated patients, patients with gait problems, diabetics and elderly patients are at a higher risk of developing corns.

If you belong to any of the mentioned risk categories, you might be glad to know that there are various tricks and remedies that can help you prevent and subside corns before it becomes a real pain.

(Read more: Skin disorders and diseases)

  1. How to remove corns

Though opting for home remedies has an advantage over conventional treatments in the form of minimal side effects, a natural healing process and cost-effectiveness, getting rid of foot corn demands consistent effort, irrespective of the mode of treatment. That said, let us explore all the options that you have at your disposal for easy and effective corn removal.

  1. Pumice to remove corns
  2. Apple cider vinegar to remove corns
  3. Castor oil to remove corns
  4. Aspirin to remove corns
  5. Baking soda to remove corns
  6. Garlic to remove corns
  7. Onion to remove corns

Pumice to remove corns

The very first thing you should do for corns is to remove them mechanically. What better than pumice to get rid of dead skin growths? If you don't know what pumice is, it's a hard but light porous stone which is abrasive in nature when used on the skin. By constant abrasion, it peels off the corn slowly. Here are the steps you should follow for effective results:

What you’ll need:

  • Pumice stone
  • Warm water (not hot)

Procedure:

  • Before rubbing your skin with a pumice stone, soak your feet or hands, wherever corn is growing, in a warm water tub for at least 10 minutes.
  • This will make the affected skin soft and aids in easy removal of corn
  • Now, pick the pumice stone and dip it into warm water for a few seconds
  • Rub the corn gently in sideways or circular motion for few minutes to remove the thickened dead layer of skin

Though pumice is the most effective method for removing corns, it is best to avoid over scrubbing. It takes some time to peel off the layers of skin accumulated to make the corn. Also, avoid applying too much pressure on the corn while rubbing it with pumice. For all you know, you may end up hurting your skin, which may result in bleeding and infection. Instead, use gentle pressure and give your skin it's own time to heal a bit before repeating the filing every alternate day.

Apple cider vinegar to remove corns

Apple cider vinegar or ACV is an excellent remedy for most of your skin problems. It reduces inflammation, infections and is also helpful in reducing acne.

The main constituent of apple cider vinegar, that is maleic acid, has the ability to remove or exfoliate dead skin cells from corns, gradually reducing these unsightly outgrowths. In case you develop an active infection in the growth, this magical solution will also help in the suppression of microbial growth and thus eradication of infection.

Here is how you can use ACV get rid of corns:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • Lukewarm water
  • Cotton ball

Procedure:

  • First of all, soak your feet in lukewarm water for 10 minutes
  • After this, take a cotton ball, dip it into the vinegar
  • Apply it on the skin covered with corns for at least 5 minutes so that it sucks the therapeutic liquid
  • Repeat the application several times a day for a few weeks to see noticeable results

Castor oil to remove corns

Castor oil is one of the most well-known remedies for corns. Produced by processing castor beans, this oil is very dense in nature and has multiple benefits for human use. When applied over corns, it lubricates the dead skin cells and helps in gradual softening of the hyperkeratotic growth, eventually resulting in its resolution. Here is an easy way to use castor oil to get rid of corns:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon Castor oil  

Procedure:

  • Take the castor oil, rub it between your palms to heat it up a little
  • Apply it on all areas invaded by corns
  • Massage it gently to get the oil absorbed
  • Repeat its application religiously every night for a few weeks
  • All your corns will go away gradually

Aspirin to remove corns

Aspirin is one of the most easily available remedies for corns. Yes, you heard it right, this potent painkiller can not only reduce the pain from corns but also it can help you get rid of corns completely. Aspirin contains an active component known as salicylic acid, which aids in quick and effective removal of dead skin cells.

Salicylic acid is used for various skin disorders for ages. It helps in exfoliation of the upper layer of epithelium (stratum corneum) by breaking the connection between individual cells. Aspirin also stimulates the formation of an entirely new epidermal layer along with the renovation of several layers of skin beneath.

So, run to your medicine box, pick an aspirin and follow these steps to remove those hard outgrowths:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 tablets of aspirin
  • Water

Procedure:

  • Crush aspirin tablet into powder form
  • Mix it with a few drops of water to make a paste
  • Apply it on the affected areas 
  • Leave it for 10 minutes
  • Wash the applied area with cold water thoroughly
  • Repeat its application daily to get noticeable result within a few days

You might feel a slight burning sensation on the application of aspirin. Don’t worry, it is not harmful. However, if you feel a burning sensation, which doesn't seem normal to you, stop using this drug immediately.

Baking soda to remove corns

Another alternative for removing the scaly dead tissue associated with corns is baking soda, also chemically known as sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is basic in nature and works as an excellent exfoliating agent, slowly peeling off layers of dead skin cells from corns.

There is not much research done on the use of baking soda for the removal of corns, however, several studies validate the benefits of baking soda in case of hyperkeratosis. A study recommends soaking of keratinised skin in water and baking soda solution, stating the fact that the alkaline nature of sodium bicarbonate helps in water absorption through thickened tissue. So, when you file your skin with a mechanical object like pumice, exfoliating gloves or sponge, it will aid in easy removal of the scaly layers.

Here is an easy method to use baking soda for corns:

What you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoon of baking soda
  • A small tub of warm water

Procedure:

  • Mix baking soda into the water
  • Dip your feet in the solution and wait for 10 minutes
  • Thereafter, rub your skin with pumice, exfoliating gloves or sponge
  • Repeat this practice daily to make your corns disappear permanently

Garlic to remove corns

If you are too lazy to boil water or use pumice stones, you can always use garlic for resolving this common skin problem. Garlic possesses antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties and it also helps with the regulation of cutaneous microcirculation and wound healing. This means that it not only helps in reducing corn size but also it may be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation just in case you end up scraping your skin with pumice.

A study done on the effects of garlic in dermatology demonstrates complete resolution of cutaneous corn on the application of garlic extracts directly on the affected tissue. The mechanism behind the resolution of corn lies in the fibrinolytic (the breakdown of fibrin) action of garlic, which results in the disintegration of corn capsule from the normal healthy tissue lying beneath it.

If you too want to reap these therapeutic benefits of garlic, use it in the right way by following these steps:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic

Procedure:

  • Crush garlic cloves to make a fine paste
  • Apply it on the concerned area of body, avoiding contact with normal tissue
  • Leave it undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Wash the area thoroughly with cold water
  • Repeat garlic application for few days to see noticeable results

Onion to remove corns

Onions belong to the same family as garlic. No wonder the two exhibit almost similar effects on your health. However, when it comes to corn removal, onions possess some additional benefits. They have the capability to soften the thickened layer of skin, change skin texture and improve the overall appearance of the corn. Along with this, onions also help reduce infections, in case you develop one in corn. Doesn’t it sound like a cherry on the top?

Well, let's know, how can you use onion for corns:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 onion

Procedure:

  • Make a paste by chopping the onion into small cubes and then grinding the pieces to a fine paste
  • Apply the paste on the skin affected by corns
  • Leave it for 10 minutes then wash thoroughly

If you can not handle onion in paste form, you can also try another way

  • Cut onion into thin round slices
  • Rub the corn with onion slices for a few minutes

This will have the same effect as onion paste without making you bear the pungent smell of onions.

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References

  1. Al Aboud AM, Badri T. Corns. [Updated 2019 Mar 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; How to treat corns and calluses
  3. Carol S. Johnston, Cindy A. Gaas, Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. MedGenMed. 2006; 8(2): 61. PMID: 16926800
  4. Sue Dolon. Naturally Skinsational. Skin Care Resource Center
  5. Vinay R. Patel. Castor Oil: Properties, Uses, and Optimization of Processing Parameters in Commercial Production. Lipid Insights. 2016; 9: 1–12. PMID: 27656091
  6. Tasleem Arif. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015; 8: 455–461. PMID: 26347269
  7. Myra C Long. Ichthyosis with confetti: a rare diagnosis and treatment plan. BMJ Case Rep. 2014; 2014: bcr2014204509. PMID: 25012887
  8. Nader Pazyar, Amir Feily. Garlic in dermatology. Dermatol Reports. 2011 Jan 31; 3(1): e4. PMID: 25386259
  9. Nahida Tabassum, Mariya Hamdani. Plants used to treat skin diseases. Pharmacogn Rev. 2014 Jan-Jun; 8(15): 52–60. PMID: 24600196