How to Remove Dead Skin From Diabetic Feet

Diabetics, due to potential nerve and circulation issues in their feet, are especially susceptible to foot complications like infections and ulcers. These can even lead to amputations if neglected. Regular foot care, including removing dead skin, is important for maintaining healthy feet. Dead skin can mask potential problems and increase infection risk. Removing it gently helps keep your feet healthy and allows for proper inspection during daily checks. If you are looking for an effective solution how to remove dead skin from diabetic feet, then you are in the right place. Let’s know the ways.

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Importance of Professional Care

While self-care is essential, seeking professional help for foot care is equally important, especially for individuals with diabetes. Podiatrists, also known as foot doctors and other healthcare professionals have the expertise and specialized tools to ensure safe and effective dead skin removal. They can:

  • Assess the overall health of your feet: This includes examining for nerve damage, poor circulation, and any existing foot problems that could be exacerbated by improper dead skin removal at home.
  • Develop a personalized care plan: Based on your individual needs and the condition of your feet, they can recommend the most appropriate methods for dead skin removal and guide you on maintaining healthy feet.
  • Use specialized tools: They have access to specialized tools like scalpel blades or debridement tools that are safe and effective for removing calluses and thickened skin, especially in areas with poor circulation or nerve damage, where at-home methods might be risky.
  • Address underlying issues: If they discover any underlying problems like ingrown toenails or fungal infections during the examination, they can diagnose and treat them promptly, preventing further complications.

Consulting a healthcare professional for regular foot assessments and care significantly reduces the risk of complications associated with diabetes and promotes overall foot health.

Let’s See How to Remove Dead Skin From Diabetic Feet

Removing dead skin from diabetic feet requires gentle care to avoid any damage or injury. Here are some techniques you can try:

Pumice Stone:

  • Dip the pumice stone in warm water to soften it.
  • Soak your feet in warm water for approximately 10 minutes to assist soften the skin.
  • Gently move the pumice stone in circular or sideways motions to remove dead skin. Focus on the top layer without overdoing it.
  • Apply lotion or oil afterward to keep your feet moisturized.
  • Caution: Do not use a pumice stone on injured or sore areas.

Paraffin Wax:

  • Some nail salons offer paraffin wax treatments. On the other hand, you can do this at home carefully. 
  • Melt paraffin wax (around 125°F or 51°C) and dip your feet in it several times.
  • After the wax hardens, remove it. Dead skin will come off with the wax.
  • Your feet should feel soft afterward.
  • Caution: Avoid paraffin wax if you have poor blood circulation, open sores or loss of feeling in your feet (such as from diabetic neuropathy). Monitor the wax temperature carefully if using it at home.

Foot Scrub:

  • Look for foot scrubs with granules that help scrub away dead skin.
  • You can also make your own by diluting two tablespoons of sea salt in equal amounts of baby oil and lemon juice.
  • Gently rub your feet to detach dead skin.
  • Rinse thoroughly afterward.

Epsom Salt and Vinegar Soak:

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and add half a cup each of Epsom salt and vinegar.
  • Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.
  • Use a pumice stone or foot scrub to delicately remove any dead skin.

Vinegar and Antiseptic Mouthwash Soak:

  • Mix 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of antiseptic mouthwash in 7.57 gallons of water.
  • Soak your feet in this mixture for 20 minutes.
  • Use a foot scrubber or pumice stone to scrub away dead skin.
  • Rinse and pat your feet dry.
  • Repeat regularly

Remember to consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your diabetic feet or if you suspect an infection. Proper foot care is essential for managing diabetes-related foot issues.

How Often Should You Remove Dead Skin From Your Feet?

How often you should remove dead skin from your feet depends on your individual needs and the condition of your skin. Here are some general guidelines:


  • Mild cases: If you have mild dry or dead skin, consider exfoliating your feet once a week.
  • Severe cases: For more severe buildup, you may need to do it more often, up to twice a week.


  • Monitor your feet: Pay attention to how your feet look and feel. If you notice excessive dryness, flakiness, or calluses, it’s time to exfoliate.
  • Be gentle: Always be gentle when removing dead skin to avoid causing any damage or injury.

Individual Factors:

  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes, consult your doctor. Diabetic feet require special care, and you should follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.
  • Skin Sensitivity: Some people have more sensitive skin. Adjust the frequency based on skin response.


  • After exfoliating, moisturize your feet to keep the skin soft and prevent further dryness.

Remember that everyone’s skin is different, so adapt the frequency based on what works best for you. If you have any concerns or specific conditions, consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

FAQs About How to Remove Dead Skin From Diabetic Feet

How do you get rid of dead skin on diabetic feet?

It’s important for people with diabetes to take extra care of their feet due to potential circulation issues. Here’s how to safely remove dead skin:

  1. Soak and soften: Soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften the dead skin.
  2. Pumice stone: Gently rub a pumice stone or foot file over the areas with dead skin. Use circular or back-and-forth motions.
  3. Moisturize: Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to your feet to help keep them soft and prevent cracking. Avoid putting lotion between your toes.


  • Never cut corns or calluses yourself.
  • See a podiatrist regularly for professional foot care. This is especially important for those with diabetes.
What are 3 things you should never do to the feet of someone with diabetes?

Never use extreme heat: This includes soaking in hot water, using heating pads, or placing hot water bottles directly on their feet. Nerve damage might prevent them from feeling the heat, increasing the risk of burns.

Never attempt removing corns or calluses yourself. This can lead to wounds and infections due to impaired healing in diabetic individuals.

Never allow them to walk barefoot. This increases the risk of injuries, which can become serious due to potential delayed healing and infection risks associated with diabetes.

How do you clean diabetic feet?

Here’s how to clean diabetic feet safely:

  1. Wash daily with warm water: Use lukewarm water, similar to what you’d use for a baby’s bath. Avoid hot water as it can burn.
  2. Use mild soap: Choose a gentle soap that won’t irritate the skin.
  3. Dry thoroughly: Pay close attention to the areas between your toes, patting them dry with a soft towel.
  4. Moisturize: Apply lotion or cream to the top and bottom of your feet, but not between the toes.

Remember, never soak your feet as this can dry out the skin. It’s also crucial to consult your doctor about any concerns you have regarding your feet.

Which oil is best for diabetic foot?

It’s important to understand that no specific oil is universally recommended for diabetic foot care. While some studies suggest potential benefits of certain oils, like olive oil, for wound healing, more research is necessary to conclusively recommend any oil for general diabetic foot care.

Consulting your doctor is crucial before applying any oil to your feet, as they can assess your individual needs and recommend the safest and most effective approach for your specific situation.

Is hot water good for diabetic feet?

No, hot water is not good for diabetic feet. Here’s why:

  • Nerve damage: Diabetes can cause nerve damage, making it difficult to feel hot or cold. This increases the risk of burns without realizing it.
  • Dry and cracked skin: Hot water can dry out the skin, making it more prone to cracking, which can lead to infections.

Instead, use warm water when washing diabetic feet. It’s crucial to dry them thoroughly afterwards, especially between the toes. Always consult a doctor if you have any concerns about your feet.


Diabetics, like champions, need to take care of their “feet” – their foundation. Neglecting foot care can lead to infections and even amputations. Removing dead skin helps you check for problems and keeps your feet healthy.

However, just like you wouldn’t train alone, seeking professional help from podiatrists is crucial. They have the expertise and tools to safely remove dead skin and address any concerns, keeping your feet healthy for the long run. Remember, prioritizing foot care is an investment in your well-being. Talk to your doctor or visit reliable resources like the American Diabetes Association for more information. By taking charge, you can keep your feet healthy and live a full life!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment recommendations specific to your individual circumstances.

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