Why Do I Get These Gross Calluses on My Hands?

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Do you lift weights like you’re in Pumping Iron? Play guitar like you’re in Zepplin? Use a pen like you were born before 1990? If so, you probably have the calluses to prove it. Those rough, hardened patches of whitish skin are the result of accumulated cells called keratinocytes. Keratinocytes, a.k.a. calluses, are your skin’s attempt to cope with excessive pressure and friction. While they might ruin your chances at becoming a hand model, as long as calluses aren’t painful, they aren’t harmful. That being said, they might, however, indicate that you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re unlucky enough to have spots tougher than bargain bin sirloin, soften their appearance and texture by scrubbing them with a something abrasive like the craggy surface of a pumice stone. And as much as the salespeople at DSC may want you to, you should absolutely not try to shave them off with a razor—that’s how you hurt yourself. A callus that’s painful to the touch can and should be treated by a dermatologist or podiatrist.

If you don’t have calluses, bully for you, but if you like to run, play golf or wear poor-fitting shoes, now’s the time to pick up some lotion and cream up. Well-moisturized hands and feet are the first defense between your skin and excessive friction and pressure by preventing wear on dry skin, and acts as a lubricant. Gloves and bandages will do the trick, too, though they can make you look an awful lot like an evil villain.

But if they don’t bother you, go ahead and hold on to those tough spots—you can always use them to show off your keys to success.