Reviewed: The Baby Foot Peel for Dead Skin and Calluses (Is It Safe and Does It Really Work?)

A chemical peel for your feet.
Publish date:
Baby Foot peel

If your feet are prone to dry skin and calluses, keeping them smooth and soft is a constant struggle.

Welcome to my life. Over the years, I've tried countless foot creams, foot files, salon pedicures and even high-tech buffing gadgets to keep the rough, dead skin at bay. (The Emjoi Micro-Pedi seemed to work okay for a while, but having to constantly buy new replacement heads really adds up!)

But then I heard about Baby Foot from a beauty editor friend.

This was before it went viral, mind you, and this new foot-care category—the foot PEEL—was still unheard of here in North America.

The way she described the little plastic booties, flooded with acid, was enough to get me excited. And then (spoiler alert) how it made all your dead skin shed off like a snake?!?! 

Totally disgusting. But duh! I wanted IN.

Fast-forward to the present, and I'm still Baby Foot-ing a few times a year as my foot maintenance product of choice.

Read on to find out how it works, how to use it and what results you can expect—including my very own Baby Foot before and after. Look away now if you're grossed out by feet!

What is Baby Foot?

Baby Foot peel

The Baby Foot peel.

Baby Foot is a chemical peel for your feet. A very STRONG chemical peel.

It's also the OG foot peel, created all the way back in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan. 

Unlike other foot treatments, which require regular filing sessions or daily product applications, Baby Foot is something you only need to use once every couple of months.

It's THAT intense, thanks to a high concentration of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) combined with alcohol, as well as various botanical extracts. 

According to the manufacturer, the glycolic and citric acids break down the bonds between the layers of dead skin cells. The alcohol softens the skin (making it easier to remove), and the lactic and salicylic acids stimulate a flaking effect—all without damaging the fresh skin underneath.

Here's a look at the ingredients:

According to the manufacturer, none of these were tested on animals (Baby Foot is cruelty-free).

The formula has the consistency of a gel, and comes pre-filled inside a set of disposable plastic booties for you to wear. That way, the booties can keep it in contact with your skin for maximum absorption. It's sort of like a sheet mask for your feet, except it is exfoliating instead of hydrating.

The results aren't instantaneous, though. It can take up to a week to start seeing the dead skin peel away—a process that I'll show you in just a second. Let me say that it is equal parts horrifying and life-changing!

Who should try Baby Foot? Anyone who experiences dry, rough skin on their soles, heels or toes. The dead skin accumulates due to pressure and friction from standing, exercising or even wearing certain shoes. (I'm know I'm definitely guilty of suffering for fashion and not wearing my orthotics like I should!)

Baby Foot Peel Instructions

Using Baby Foot is simple—you just need to set aside an hour or two to prepare for and then apply the peel.

Before you start, you may want to remove any nail polish you're wearing, because the acids will destroy the shine and make it look dull.

Alright, here's what you'll find in the box:

Baby Foot peel

The Baby Foot instructions.

First of all, the instructions. They can be a bit confusing, so I'm going to walk you through them here.

Baby Foot peel

Each Baby Foot package contains one pouch.

You also get a sealed pouch. This contains your acid-soaked booties. But wait! Before you pop those bad boys on, you want to soak your feet first.

I fill my tub with a few inches of warm water and then sit my feet in it for a good 15 to 20 minutes. The idea is to soften the dead skin, so the gel can penetrate more effectively. Amongst Baby Foot devotees on the Internet, this pre-soak step is the KEY to an effective peel.

(Weirdly, Baby Foot's instructions fail to mention this until step two, after they've already told you to put on the booties. Then, the instructions are like, by the way: "We recommend taking a footbath to enhance the effects BEFORE and AFTER using this product." So don't make the mistake I did of reading step one and thinking the Baby Foot scientists had suddenly determined soaking was no longer necessary—it is.)

Baby Foot peel

The Baby Foot booties.

So here's what the plastic booties look like. These are for one-time use only. Not pictured: the peel-off adhesives that you'll use to secure the booties around your ankles. 

Baby Foot peel

Cut along the dotted line to open the Baby Foot bootie.

Since the tops of the booties are sealed (to prevent the gel from leaking out), you'll need to cut along the dotted lines to open them up.

Baby Foot peel

Wearing the Baby Foot booties.

Roll up your pants and stick a foot in each bootie. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt or sting, despite all the acids.

To keep the gel in place, secure the booties snugly around your ankles with the enclosed adhesives. (If you can't find them, just use regular tape.) Since the booties are designed to accommodate up to a size 12 foot, they can be a little loose, so I like to put a pair of socks on over top, to make them fit tightly. 

Also, don't do what I'm doing here, which is sticking my foot in the air. You want to be sitting upright, so the acid is pooling under your soles—not working on the tops of your feet, where there's no dead skin to target.

You need to wear the booties for ONE HOUR before you take them off and wash your feet with soap and water. 

For the next seven days, do not apply any creams or lotions to your feet, and be sure to soak your feet daily. According to Baby Foot, the water is essential to activate the peeling process.

WARNING: Do not scroll down unless you want to see the graphic results!

Baby Foot peel

The Baby Foot peeling process starts within two to seven days.

This is what starts to happen within two to seven days after the initial Baby Foot application. The dead skin literally starts to peel off in SHEETS. 

You just need to be patient and let it happen. I can still remember the first time I did this, and I was convinced it hadn't worked. Four days passed, and if anything, my feet were looking worse: much drier and more callused than before. Damn you, Baby Foot, I was thinking.

Then, a day later, I was taking off a pair of tights when much to my alarm, a whole bunch of flakes fell out on the floor. FOOT FLAKES. I was repulsed, but elated. The grotesque sloughing-off can continue for up to two weeks, so you will definitely need to change your sheets, and vacuum. 

But it's all worth it, because a pair of soft, smooth and yes, baby-like feet will finally emerge!

Baby Foot Peel Safety

Baby Foot peel

The Baby Foot peel is safe for most people if used as directed.

Is Baby Foot safe? For most people, yes—as long as you use it according to the manufacturer's instructions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Baby Foot safety:

  • Who should NOT use Baby Foot? Avoid Baby Foot if you have open cuts or sores, warts, corns or any skin disease affecting the soles of your feet. Also steer clear if you have diabetes or an immune deficiency. People with very sensitive skin may also find the strong acids too irritating. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor.
  • Can you leave Baby Foot on longer than one hour? The instructions suggest one hour—any longer and you're taking a risk. A lot of Baby Foot reviewers recommend two hours, but I've found that makes areas with thinner skin, like the tops of the feet, uncomfortably itchy for days later. I think it's just too long for them to be in contact with the acid!
  • Can you speed up the process by peeling off skin with your fingers or a foot file? It's tempting to want to "help" things along by peeling off skin with your fingers or going at your soles with a foot file. But this could be too aggressive, and you could inadvertently take off skin before it's ready. Instead, the manufacturer recommends gently rubbing your feet with your hands after bathing.
  • How often can you use Baby Foot? If your feet have a lot of dry skin build-up, you can do a second round of Baby Foot after four weeks. For maintenance, use Baby Foot about every two months. 
  • Did I buy a fake Baby Foot? If you didn't get results, it's possible that you purchased a counterfeit Baby Foot. Before you use the product, make sure it says Baby Foot (not "Baby Feet") and that the contents match the photos here. Otherwise, the peel could be ineffective or even harmful.

Baby Foot Peel Dupes

If you're looking for an alternative to Baby Foot, you're in luck. These are the closest dupes on the market, which contain almost identical peeling ingredients:

Conclusion + My Results

Baby Foot peel before and after

During the Baby Foot peeling process (left) and after (right).

So here's what my feet looked like during the Baby Foot peeling process, and after.

I was well overdue for a peel before this session, so I'm pretty darn impressed! I still have some callused skin in a few spots because I over-pronate (roll inward). I could repeat the treatment in a month to work on them some more, but it's never going to be a permanent solution.

Still, it's one that I am extremely happy with! Since Baby Foot is only removing dead skin, not living tissue, it is not traumatizing the skin in any way or encouraging calluses to build up faster.

Not only is it more effective than any other treatment I've tried, but it also involves less manual labour than filing, and is way cheaper than a pedicure. 

The only catch? You need to do Baby Foot when your feet are going to be under wraps (like during the winter). Sheets of dead skin falling off your feet just doesn't go well with sandals, you know?

Where to Buy

Have you tried Baby Foot yet?
What were your results?

Read Next

Best skincare and beauty products 2017

Editor’s Picks: The 100+ Best Skincare, Makeup and Hair Products I Loved in 2017

The most amazing beauty staples and new discoveries of the year.

Reviewed: COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, the Best BHA Exfoliant for Your Skin

Not just for blackheads—it treats acne, pigmentation, dull skin and more!

The Ordinary skincare review

Reviewed: The Best (and Worst) Skincare Products from The Ordinary [UPDATED]

What's worth buying from the brand everyone's talking about.