Dry skin? Cracked heels? Stubborn calluses?
Smooth, baby-soft feet are a cornerstone of a beautiful pedicure. A foot file grater is one of the most popular ways to achieve callus-free skin.
But is it the best option for your feet? And, how does the electric callus remover stack up?
Read on to find out!
Foot File Grater: Everything You Need to Know
The foot cheese grater is an effective way to remove dead skin from your feet.
But, it comes with plenty of risks, and it might end up doing more harm than good.
What Is a Foot File Grater?
A foot file grater is a tool that shaves off dead skin from your feet.
It’s a simple steel strip with sharp-edged holes – precisely the same thing you’d use for grating cheese.
Foot graters are cheap, lightweight, and useful. But they’re also banned in beauty salons in many states. Here’s why:
Are Foot Files Safe?
Your feet carry your weight all day long, receiving more pressure than any other part of your body.
Feet skin thickens to absorb the mechanical stress and protect you from bacteria.
When you shave it off, you’re removing that protective barrier and risking infections.
One woman in North Carolina got a near-deadly infection when her nail technician used a grater file to remove her dead skin.1CAITLIN O’KANE. Woman almost loses leg after getting infection she blames on salon procedure, CBS News. 2018
In her post, she writes:
“I am ambulance to the Emergency Room to find out I am toxic and have a serious case of cellulitis caused by a strep infection in my bloodstream caused by the scrapes on the outside of my heel from the callus cutter.”
Foot file graters are banned in salons across North Carolina (and many other states).
When you use a foot file grater, there is no way to tell if you’re hitting only dead skin. Most people overdo callus grating, leaving their feet raw. The micro-injuries and scrapes are open doors for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
There is no way to sterilize your foot file properly. Essentially, grating off your calluses is like opening up sores and rubbing bacteria, fungus, and yeast into the wound.
Foot File Grater: Pros vs. Cons
Foot file graters are easily the most common way of removing dead skin and calluses. There are certain perks to using one:
- Graters are inexpensive, usually costing under $10.
- They get the job done, shaving off all of your dead skin.
- Foot files are compact and easy to carry and use. They don’t take up a lot of space when you’re packing for a vacation.
But, the downsides far outweigh the advantages:
- With the sharp stainless steel blades, you shave off more than just calluses, damaging healthy skin as well.
- The open sores are entry-points for bacteria and infections (that could end up putting your life at danger.)
- There is no way to sterilize your foot file or clean it properly. Carrying it around increases your chances of infection even more.
- Foot graters are banned in many states because of the health risks that they pose.
Foot file graters come with potentially life-threatening risks, and this isn’t an overstatement. Luckily, there are safer ways to remove your calluses and achieve smooth, healthy skin.
Electric Callus Remover: Better Alternative?
Unlike file graters, callus removers slough away dead skin gently but effectively.
What Is an Electric Callus Remover?
Electric callus removers use a mineral roller to buff away dry skin and calluses.
The best way to use them is right out of the shower or after a foot soak. The warm water helps break down the dead skin cells and soften the skin. Then, glide the callus remover over your feet.
Are Electric Callus Removers Safe?
Electric callus removers are one of the safest foot exfoliation options.
Most models will slow down if you press too hard. This feature protects you from shaving off too much skin or hurting the healthy skin underneath.
Unlike foot graters, electric callus removers don’t have any sharp parts that could cut you—the spinning stone buffs off the dead skin and calluses, rather than grating away.
To make sure the device is clean and safe to use, wash the stone with soap and water, and avoid sharing it with other people.
While callus removers can’t open sores, they can still break your skin if you apply them too long.
To avoid damaging healthy tissue, make sure your feet are well soaked since dry skin is more likely to break.
Electric Callus Remover: Pros vs. Cons
While electric callus removers are a safer option for smooth feet, a lot of people still hesitate about ditching their foot file grater. To give an honest assessment, let’s compare the perks and downsides of switching to a callus remover.
The main benefits of electric callus removers are:
- Rotating exfoliation stones are quick and efficient at removing dead skin.
- Unlike rasps and razors, the electric callus remover doesn’t have any sharp edges or metal parts, and it can’t cut you.
- The motor slows down when you push on the skin to prevent over-exfoliating and irritation.
- The electric motor powers the stone rotation. Goodbye, endless scrubbing and grating!
But, callus removers do have some downsides:
- A callus remover is usually pricier than a foot file grater, and they’re harder to find at many drugstores.
- Some devices are bulky, making them uncomfortable for travel.
- Some callus removers work with batteries, so you have to remember always to keep a spare pair of AAs.
Electric callus removers still have more benefits than downsides. Most importantly, with a callus remover, you’re not risking severe medical issues.
How to Choose an Electric Callus Remover
Whether you have stubborn calluses or just a bit of unsightly dry skin, a callus remover can buff them off without hurting your skin.
Shop around to find the best device for your needs. There are plenty of affordable, powerful, and compact callus remover options.
When you’re choosing a callus remover, consider what you need:
- Do you travel a lot? Then, choose a smaller, easy-to-pack device.
- How much can you spend? A callus remover means you no longer have to get pedicures. While this is a money saver in itself, there’s no need to go over budget. There are many high-quality, inexpensive devices.
- Batteries, cable, or rechargeable? With rechargeable models, you don’t have to worry about the battery running out. But, they usually can’t be used while they’re charging, so you have to remember to plug it in every few days.
- Do you have stubborn calluses? Please choose a model with a coarse rolling stone that can get rid of them with less effort.
Our favorite callus remover brand is Own Harmony because they check all the boxes.
Editor’s Choice Callus Remover: Own Harmony Callus Remover
Own Harmony callus removers pack a lot of value but only cost $29.99. Here’s why we think they’re the best callus remover on the market:
- The high torque motor produces over 2000 rotations per minute and effortlessly buff off dry skin.
- The advanced pressure-sensitive technology slows down the motor to protect you from over-exfoliating.
- The remover comes with a regular and a coarse mineral roller.
- The built-in rechargeable battery lasts 45 minutes per charge, and it can be charged 1000 times, which gives you 45,000 minutes of continuous use.
My personal favorite for this summer is the Own Harmony CR1700.
It features a 3D stone roller, perfect for hard-to-reach spots. There are two speeds – the second one perfect for stubborn calluses.
Even professional pedicures sometimes miss spots, leaving patches of dry skin. As someone who lives by the beach, I have quite a few of these. Since sandal season is upon us, I love that this callus remover can take them all off.
The CR1700 also recharges faster and lasts longer, which, along with the compact, easy-to-pack size, makes it perfect for taking on trips and vacations.
Foot File Grater Vs. Electric Callus Remover: Final Thoughts
Foot graters have been a salon and home beauty staple for years.
But, they are also unnecessarily coarse, hard to clean, and damaging to your skin. The bruises and injuries caused by foot file graters can be an entry point for dangerous infections. Bacteria, yeast, and fungus can all get to your bloodstream and potentially turn into a life-threatening condition.
Most states have banned foot file graters from beauty salons. But, many are drawn to their effectiveness and still use them at home. Luckily, there is a safer alternative to get the job done.
Electric callus removers only buff away dead skin, without hurting the tissue underneath. Since their rollers are made of stone (rather than metal), they can’t open sores or irritate the skin. Some models have additional systems to make sure you’re using them safely – for instance, the motor slows down when you push.
Affordable devices like the Own Harmony model can provide high-quality at the price of a single visit to the salon. All the more reason to ditch your foot file grater already!