It's sandal season: if you’re looking for ways to get better-than-pedicure smooth feet, odds are you’ve probably come across Baby Foot ($25 on Amazon), a foot peel that gets rid of calluses and the top layer of your feet’s skin. The product has achieved cult status for its shockingly impressive results (a quick scroll through the brand’s Facebook page will gross you out and make you a believer).
But before you try the internet's favorite foot peel, there are a few things you should know: like if it's safe, how it works, and what to expect before (and especially after!) you tie those booties on.
How does Baby Foot work?
Baby Foot is essentially a chemical peel for your feet, explains Margarita Lolis, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey. According to Baby Foot's site, the product contains natural extracts and acids to "exfoliate and moisturize at the same time." Lolis says that the active ingredients "lactic acid, salicylic acid, alcohol, and glycolic acid are keratolytic, so they get into the top layer of your skin, break up the connections in the dead skin cells, and two to three days later, the dead skin peels off."
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That snake-like shedding is what caused Baby Foot to go viral: large swaths of dead skin hanging from users's feet, revealing fresh, soft skin beneath. The brand claims that "after peeling, your feet are reborn just like a baby’s foot, giving you healthy, beautiful feet.” Customers rave the product is "revolutionary" and its results are "remarkable."
The process is simple enough: you simply secure the mask around your feet for an hour (the perfect amount of time to catch up on a show or finally start reading that book on your nightstand!), and then wait a few days for the first signs of peeling to show.
Once it does, you must brace yourself for a lot what I can best describe as an oddly satisfying amount of dead skin peeling off your foot as if it’s grated cheese. Yes, it’s gross... but also oh-so-satisfying. It took about 3-4 days for my feet to stop molting after the first signs of dead skin, but when they did, my feet felt and looked better than they had in a very long time.
What are the active ingredients in Baby Foot?
While Baby Foot's site doesn't list ingredients aside from "16 types of natural extracts," Ulta lists the first five ingredients: water, two types of solvent-acting alcohols, lactic acid, and glycolic acid.
“Since the product is designed for feet, which usually have a thicker layer of skin, it is not a surprise that it contains a higher concentration of alpha hydroxy acids than ordinarily present in facial peels,” says Sabina Wizemann, a senior chemist in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab. She explains that the ingredients are so effective due to the design of the product: “It is also formulated as a gel, that when combined with the concealing effect of plastic booties adheres better to skin and prevents water loss.” That means maximum product absorption.
Is Baby Foot safe?
For most people, yes. The process is painless, and while its ingredients are effective on many folks' skin, it's important to note that these are acids, and you should check with a medical professional before starting on a chemically exfoliating regimen - on your feet, or elsewhere. "I would caution that if you have any warts, corn callouses, open sores, or skin sensitivity, you should definitely skip this," warns Dr. Lolis. That's because it includes both lactic acid and glycolic acid, which can irritate sensitive skin.
It's also a great way to avoid going for a pedicure. I have very ticklish feet, so to get rid of my calluses and dead skin without having to get tickled by a professional pedicurist wielding a foot file was a dream come true. I will definitely be using this product again and again.
What you can try instead
If you decide to skip Baby Foot, don't worry - you can still get the summer-ready feet you seek with the best at-home pedicure kits we've tested. You can also visit your dermatologist if you wish to have similar treatment to the Baby Foot performed by a medical professional. and found the Dr. Scholl's Express Pedi Foot Smoother ($14.99, Amazon.com) and Amope Pedi Perfect ($16.90, Amazon.com) performed excellently in smoothing testers' feet.
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