Exfoliation is one of the keys to healthy foot hygiene.
Using a pumice stone is one of the tried and true ways to exfoliate your foot and heel successfully.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about this fantastic tool.
What is a Pumice Stone?
A pumice stone is an all-natural mineral product created when lava, complete with high levels of water and gas, comes out of a volcano.
The exposed gas bubbles are the key to producing its rough texture, which is perfect for smoothing out rough patches of skin on the feet.
Pumice Stone for Smooth Feet
Identified by its “swiss cheese” appearance, these age-old stones are an organic, non-toxic choice for smoothing rough feet and heels.
The rough texture is ideal for gently exfoliating dead or hard skin (also known as calluses), which tend to form on toes, heels, and bottoms of feet.
They are also handy for removing unwanted hair, particularly on the tops of toes, by rubbing gently in a circular motion until the hair is gone.
After a few treatments, the hair grows back at a slower pace and is much less noticeable.
How to Use a Pumice Stone on your Feet
Although approved for daily use, it is essential not to rub too hard or too often.
Doing so may result in removing too much skin, which will bleed, hurt, or become infected.
Especially when first experimenting with a stone, it is recommended to use less frequently.
Start slowly by using one to three times per week. Never use a dry stone on any part of your skin.
The stone should be wet, which will not only reduce the risk of injury but makes it easier to use on the skin.
To prep skin for use, first, soak your feet in warm water for at least 5 minutes.
You may add Epson salts, essential oil, or moisturizing soap to the water for additional softening.
For a time-saving tip, soak your pumice stone in warm water while you are soaking your feet.
Once the skin on your feet is soft, rub the wet stone on the rough spots in a gentle, circular motion until the dead skin flakes off, or the hardened skin feels soft.
Use light to medium pressure and continue rubbing in a circular motion for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
If the skin still feels rough, re-soak for a few more minutes, pat dry with a towel and moisturize.
You can also use it to exfoliate after a warm shower or soak in the tub when the skin on your feet is soft.
How to Clean a Pumice Stone
Rinse the stone after every use, whether using in the shower or after a foot soak.
To preserve shelf life and ward off bacteria that can grow on the stone, pick one of the following methods to sterilize your stone at least once a week:
- Soak in boiling in water for about five minutes.
- Soak in a mixture of 4 cups water and 2-3 tablespoons bleach or vinegar for 5 minutes.
- Scrub with a stiff brush or toothbrush in a mixture of anti-bacterial soap and water.
After any method of sterilization, rinse the stone thoroughly and allow it to air dry completely before use.
If you leave the stone in the shower, it can grow mold.
You can drastically reduce the risk of mold, fungus, and bacteria by sterilizing at least once a week.
This prevents any inflammation or skin infections.
How Long Does A Pumice Stone Last
The shelf life of pumice stone is about 3-4 weeks with regular use. You can tell it’s time for a replacement when it starts getting smaller, becomes too smooth to be effective, crumbles, or takes on a musty or foot smell.
Where to Buy a Pumice Stone
Due to their popularity, they’re available at grocery stores, beauty supply shops, chain stores like Walmart, or on-line at such retailers as Amazon.
Another source to find them is in specialty health stores specializing in organic soaps, vitamins, and other skincare essentials.
Pumice Stone vs. Foot File
A foot file differs from a pumice stone because, for one, it is a bit sturdier.
It is a human-made, handheld file used to exfoliate dry, flaky skin, or smooth, hard skin like calluses or corns that appear on the toes.
The exfoliating action from a file comes from its sandpaper-like material, such as emery or metal. A foot file can be used either wet or dry, and there are both manual and electric products on the market.
Foot files are great for removing dry, flaky, or thick skin from the bottom of your feet.
They also reveal healthier-looking skin once the top layer is gone. You may notice improved circulation due to the stimulation of the bottom of the feet.
A pumice stone is most effective by using gentle, circular motion strokes across the feet.
A foot file works by moving the tool back and forth strokes across the sides and bottom of the feet. A file can also be used in either all upward or downward strokes to concentrate on one specific area.
Pumice Stone + Foot File
The good news is that you can use a pumice stone and a foot file together.
Stones work well on calluses, where a file smooths out a larger area of skin.
Use either a stone or a file on clean feet. The skin on the feet should be softened and patted dry with a towel. Apply an essential oil or moisturizer after treating the feet with either a file or a stone.
A pumice stone should always be wet before using it on the skin. A foot file should remain dry. If a file gets wet, it will become ineffective, and the abrasiveness of the file could be permanently damaged.
Electric Foot File
If your preference is to smooth out rough skin without soaking, we recommend an electric foot file. The electronic versions work faster, require less effort, and are incredibly effective.
Electric foot files also come with a variety of options, such as adjustable angles, lightweight versions, and different speed levels. Use an electronic foot file with caution and keep it moving across the feet, spending no more than 10 seconds in any one spot.
Pumice Stone Health Warnings
While proper foot care and health are essential for everyone, those with medical conditions should use caution or not use pumice stones at all.
Those with medical conditions such as diabetes, poor circulation, foot numbness, peripheral neuropathy (brain and spinal cord nerve damage resulting in numbness or pain in the feet) or peripheral arterial disease (circulatory issues caused by reduced blood flow by narrowed arteries) should consult with a medical professional before use.
If any injury such as bleeding, cuts, cracked skin, extreme redness, or other irritation results from using a stone, stop use immediately.
Additional Supplies for Foot Care
While pampering your feet by using a pumice stone can reveal healthier-looking, smooth, pretty feet, you can increase the effects with some extra supplies on hand:
- Massage a vitamin-enriched, creamy gel, cream, body butter, or lotion all over your feet to keep skin nourished and moisturized.
- Slip-on a pair of lotion-infused socks overnight to wake up to beautiful, baby-soft feet.
- Massage a bit of skin-loving sweet almond oil into feet and nails before sliding into a fresh pair of cotton socks.
- To keep feet sweet-smelling, spray with an essential oil-infused moisturizing spray.
The Best Pumice Stone for Feet and Heels
Available in all shapes and sizes, choose from round, oval, large, small, fitted with a rope or angled to better fit into your hand.
A larger size will cover a larger area and require less work, while a smaller stone can get into that detail work or is easier to work with if you have small feet.
You can also choose a double-sided stone.
These offer a more abrasive surface on one side for smoothing out all the rough patches of skin. The other side is softer, for a gentler touch or for buffing and polishing your way to a healthy glow and finish.
After getting your feet wet, so to speak, by experimenting with different pumice stones, you will discover what size and shape work best for you.
By working these stones and extra pampering supplies into your routine, your foot care experience will surely be something to look forward to each week.