Should You Try "Baby Foot" Exfoliation?

Shedding those layers might pose problems for sensitive skin.


"Baby Foot," a Japanese beauty product aimed at calluses, cracks, and thick skin, is trending now among those seeking to bring life back into their worn-down dogs. Here's how it works: First, wash/soak your feet to loosen dead skin cells, eliminate unwelcome microbes, and dissipate funk. Next, apply the two provided plastic bag booties which are pre-lined with a mix of 17 types of natural extracts. These include ingredients such as fruit and salicylic acids, as well as alcohol. Soak your feet in the booties for an hour (or less if you feel any level of discomfort). Watch and wait patiently for the magic concoction to break down the intercellular structures known as desmosomes that hold the skin together. When this happens, a massive shed occurs (I mean sheets of skin peeling off) leaving behind brand-new, soft feet.

The question remains: Is this safe? Dermatologists like and encourage exfoliation. The average human sheds about 50 million skin cells a day-I know that sounds gross, but it's a fact. Not only that, Mother Nature actually has a mechanism in place to turn over cells at night while we sleep. Shedding is just an enhancement of a normal biological function that takes place regardless of our exfoliation efforts. (See: The Ultimate Guide to Exfoliation)

That being said, I liken using a product such as Baby Foot to running a marathon before you've even tried to run a mile. In order to run 26 miles you should ideally know what kind of condition your body is in, how much stress it can take. It is the same concept here: For someone who is expecting, or who has sensitive skin, a history of diabetes, or infections, this kind of exfoliation may not be such a good idea. Although the ingredients are not new, and they are recommended regularly for the purposes of exfoliation, the higher concentrations and more intense slough can come with consequences if your skin is not fully prepared.

The bottom line: The idea of peeling for a cosmetic benefit is far from novel. Remember that iconic episode of SATC when Samantha took the plunge? Her raw face adorned the screen for an hour only to be rendered ageless by the episode's end. (Here's how one body peel can transform your skin.) The identical message can be parlayed here. Baby Foot works, and it can be a great idea for someone who has properly prepared for the proverbial 26.2.

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