As much as we love to tell people not to “judge a book by its cover”, we are all guilty of having done it at some point in our lives. Some of the easiest ways to make deductions about a person are by assessing their appearance.
Many of us have had moments when we shook people’s hands to realize that the calluses on their hands must mean they work out, or that they take part in physical labor. This, in fact, is a skin condition which leaves a lasting mark on your appearance and how you are perceived in public.
Hand calluses are hardened and layered parts of your skin, which are caused due to repeated exposure to friction and pressure (1). Any part of your body that you continuously subject to physical pressure is prone to develop calluses.
Are hand calluses harmful?
They are not harmful. Most commonly this can be seen on your palms, or on the foot, or even elbows. Although they are not as painful or serious as foot corns, calluses can still be a sore sight on an otherwise healthy-looking skin. They can leave a lasting mark on your appearance.
Most people who work out or excessively use their hands for physically laborious activity are prone to developing calluses on their hands, and if left unattended they can become a permanent presence on your hand.
Hand calluses exhibit themselves as hardened and thick layers of skin which form on the skin in regions which experience more friction and pressure than other parts (2). This is the skin’s instinctive reaction to protect itself against possible damage. Whereas normal skin can easily get damaged by extra friction, thicker and tougher skin is more resilient to it.
Can hand calluses get infected?
While calluses on their own are no reason for medical concern, there are instances where people attempt to cut out the thickened areas of skin. This opens up the chances for infections, especially if done by people with no medical education. Doctors often advise people to leave their calluses alone and to protect those areas from further pressure. This ensures a softening of the calluses over time.
Prevention is the aptest way to deal with calluses, wherein you can find different ways to protect your sensitive skin even while physically exerting yourself. Protective gloves and padding are just a few of the numerous solutions available today to reduce the formation of calluses.
Can one get calluses from weightlifting?
As mentioned previously, any physical activity that applies excessive pressures on the hands or feet can cause the formation of calluses. In this case, weightlifting is one such activity that can easily trigger calluses to form on the palms. But this will only happen if bare hands are continuously used and left unprotected or unpadded.
How to remove hand calluses?
Since hand calluses are not a medically serious skin condition, people tend to treat them at home and find ways to prevent them in general. Here are some of the more common household treatments that may help in treating hand calluses:
- Soaking in hot water: callused areas show a significant improvement when soaked in warm water for a short period of time (3). Gently rubbing the area post the soaking can help in removing the calluses layer by layer.
- Apple cider vinegar: this home ingredient contains salicylic acid, which is known to soften skin and break down hardened layers of skin that form the calluses. However, people should be mindful of the amounts of vinegar they apply on the skin since certain people are sensitive to the product and can experience mild burning.
- Castor oil: is a lubricant that can help in preventing any further formation of calluses, and it can also help in rubbing off layers from the calluses.
- Pumice stone: the use of pumice stone on the affected areas rarely tends to go wrong, especially for stubborn calluses on the foot. Using a pumice stone to rub on the calluses priorly soaked in warm water can be an easy and definite way to soothe the callused regions. This is also a safer option than other home remedies.
Overall, hand callus is a skin condition that need not be a huge concern for people and can be easily treated even without the constant help of a dermatologist.
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