A callus is the thickened or hardened part of the skin formed by regular pressure or friction against the skin. Calluses form as a natural and normal protection of the skin and is part of the body’s defense system.
A callus on a finger is a result of regular friction or pressure placed on that portion of the hand. It is normal for manual laborers, guitar players, and gardeners to have calluses on their hands and fingers. For archers, thick calluses are found on their dominant hand, and are usually on the first three fingers used to pull the bow back. In male gymnasts, thick calluses form on their fingers and hands that receive the strongest pressure when doing exercises on a vaulting horse and rings. For people who put pressure on their fingers when writing, the finger where the pencil or pen rests usually develops a callus.
When a callus is not treated or softened, it can become too thick and possibly affect the dexterity and sensitivity of your finger or hand. It is recommended that you remove a callus while it is still thin. Do not remove a callus by slicing or cutting it without medical supervision. You risk developing an infection and causing complications.
Here are some ways to remove a callus on a finger:
If the callus on your finger is still thin, you may just need to moisturize it and regularly rub it until the skin flattens and the callus disappears.
1. To soften the callus:
- Soak your finger in a bath, water solution or even a foot soak solution for a few minutes
- Apply moisturizing cream or lotion on the callus, or use pure lanolin, that is still the best moisturizer.
2. Rub the callus for several days after softening until the callus disappears.
To soften and remove a thicker and harder callus, you can:
1. Thin out the callus with sandpaper or a pumice stone.
- Soften the callus using the methods stated above.
- Pat dry the portion of the callus.
- Use low grit sandpaper or a pumice stone to sand down the callus. If the callus is too hard or thick, that moisturizers and the sandpaper does not make it thinner, consult a medical professional.
2. Use Epsom salt and petroleum jelly.
- Make a solution of hot water with 1/2 cup of Epsom salts.
- Soak your callused finger in the solution for 15 minutes.
- Dry the soaked finger.
- Apply petroleum jelly on the skin around the callus.
- Rub the callus with a pumice stone for around 3 minutes.
- Clean the callused area.
- Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the callus.
- Use an adhesive bandage to cover the callus.
- Leave the callus covered for 1 to 4 hours.
- Do the treatment in the morning and in the evening, leave the callus bandaged overnight.
- Repeat the procedure until the callus has softened.
If you regularly play string instruments, it would be difficult to remove a callus from your finger, since your skin naturally forms a shield to buffer the tension caused by the instrument’s strings.
If you work with hand tools like rakes, shovels, or hoes, use a good properly fit pair of working gloves to lessen calluses from forming. Ill-fitting gloves may also cause calluses.