How to Get Rid of a Writer's Callus
A writer’s callus, or writer’s bump, is a thick lump of dead skin that forms on the fingers to protect the sensitive skin underneath from the pressure and friction of the pen or pencil rubbing against the skin. They are generally not painful or dangerous. They are just your body’s way of protecting itself. There are several simple, painless ways to remove them.
Caring For Your Writer’s Callus At Home
Reduce the amount of stress you put on your fingers when you write.Because calluses are your body’s defense mechanism for preventing irritation to sensitive skin, you may be able to get rid of your callus by simply reducing the friction when you write.
- Relax your grip on the pen or pencil when you write. If you are squeezing too hard, it is likely that the pen or pencil is digging into your skin and rubbing. Take short breaks while you write and stretch your hands to remind yourself not to cramp up and grip the pen or pencil too tightly.
Provide extra protection for your hand by wearing a soft glove or using moleskin as padding.This will cushion the skin and prevent the pen or pencil from rubbing directly on your skin.
- If it is too warm to comfortably wear a thin glove, protect just the area with the callus by wearing a Band-Aid or moleskin over the callus when you write.
- You can create a donut-shaped pad by folding the moleskin in half and cutting a half circle out of it. Then apply the moleskin donut around the callus. This will reduce the pressure on the callus.
- Or alternatively, you can put the moleskin on the pen or pencil to make it softer.
Take a bath and soak your hand in the warm soapy water to help soften the thick protective layer of dead skin.
- Keep your hand submerged until the skin around the callus becomes wrinkled and then gently massage the callus.
Use natural remedies to soak your hand.These methods will help soften and exfoliate the callus. You can try them all until you find the one that works the best for you. Soak for at least 10 minutes to get the best results.
- Soak your callus in warm water with Epsom salt dissolved into it. Follow the directions on the box to adjust the concentration of salt to water.
- Create a solution of warm water and baking soda. Baking soda is a natural exfoliant.
- Or alternatively, soak your hand in warm chamomile tea. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties which will soothe irritation from the pen or pencil rubbing.
- You can also try a warm mixture of castor oil and apple cider vinegar. The oil will have a moisturizing effect and the acid in the vinegar will help soften the skin and promote healing.
Rub the dead skin away with a nail file, emery board, pumice stone, or washcloth.This should not cause pain because the skin is already dead. Do not grind down so deeply that you hit sensitive, live skin underneath. You may need to do this repeatedly over several days.
- Do not use a pumice stone if you have diabetes because it increases your risk of infection.
- Do not cut or clip the callus away as this increases your chances of going too deep and injuring yourself.
Apply moisturizers to soften the callus.Gently massage the moisturizer into the callus and surrounding skin. You can use commercially manufactured moisturizers or various home-remedies including:
- Vitamin E oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive Oil
- Aloe. Aloe can be applied using either a commercially prepared mixture, or if you have a plant in your house, you can split open a leaf and apply the soothing, gooey gel directly onto the callus.
Use naturally acidic household substances to soften the callus and loosen the dead skin.These substances can be held in place against the callus with a bandage. Leave them on for at least a few hours or even overnight to give them time to work. Some things you can try include:
- Lemon juice, soaked into a cotton ball
- Vinegar, soaked into a cotton ball
- A slice of raw onion, soaked in lemon juice and salt or vinegar
Applying Medications and Seeking Medical Care
Try over-the-counter medications for removing calluses.Patches containing salicylic acid are available which you can put on the callus.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and your doctor’s recommendations for how often to change the patch.These medications must be applied carefully, because if they come in contact with the healthy, live skin around the callus, they may cause chemical burns.
- Do not use these methods if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or are prone to numbness. In this case, consult your doctor.
Apply aspirin as an alternative source of salicylic acid.By crushing up aspirin tablets, you can make your own topical medicine and apply it.
- Grind five aspirin tablets into a powder and add a half teaspoon lemon juice and a half teaspoon water. Mix until a paste forms.
- Apply the paste to the callus, not to the healthy, live skin surrounding it.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and put a warm towel on it for 10 minutes. Afterwards scrub away the paste and any loose dead skin.
See a doctor if these methods do not help.The doctor will be able to examine it to confirm that it is a callus.
- The doctor may prescribe a stronger medication to get rid of the callus.
- In extreme cases, the doctor may remove it with a scalpel.
Contact a medical professional if your callus shows signs of being infected.Calluses generally are not associated with infection, so if yours shows any of these symptoms, it should be examined by a doctor:
- Discharging blood or pus
QuestionIs there any surgery for it?
Family Medicine PhysicianFamily Medicine PhysicianExpert AnswerThere is no need for surgery. Simple procedures like applying salicylic acid can dissolve the calluses.Thanks!
QuestionIs a callus from using a drywall screw gun the same as a writer's callus?
Family Medicine PhysicianFamily Medicine PhysicianExpert AnswerNo really, no. The only difference is that the calluses are in different places on the hand. The treatments in this article should work on a callus from a screw gun as well.Thanks!
QuestionShould I contact a doctor if I have a painful bump on my middle finger from writing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerConsider trying some of the techniques in this article, but if it hurts or looks strange, you should definitely see a doctor about it.Thanks!
QuestionIs it normal to get a callus on the ring finger?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes (I actually have one on my ring finger from gripping a pencil incorrectly with a lot of pressure for many years). Whatever the cause of it is, if you want to get rid of it, you can follow normal procedures for removing one as described in the article.Thanks!
QuestionIs this method effective for children?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, a callus is a callus. You should get pencil grips, too, those have helped me.Thanks!
QuestionWhat will happen if I leave it alone?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you reduce the amount of pressure you apply on the writing instrument, it may slowly go away. If you keep the same amount of pressure, there will probably be no difference in the callus.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I reduce the pain from a callus?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPain is caused by excessive pressure placed on the finger while writing. Although it may be difficult at first, you must change your writing position if you are holding a pencil incorrectly. In the meantime, apply some soothing creams to the callus or wear a bandage to prevent your pencil from rubbing on it further.Thanks!
QuestionIs it normal if the callus is red?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it can be red.Thanks!
QuestionCan this be removed permanently?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Just like any callus, it can come back if you go back to putting frequent pressure on the area.Thanks!
QuestionWhat other ways are there to hold a pencil?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou shouldn't need to change your writing grip itself, the main thing is to reduce the pressure on the writing instrument. Most right-handed people use the "tripod" grip: index finger on thumb, middle finger behind. Most left-handed people also use this grip, but there is greater variety among them.Thanks!
What will happen if you pop it?
How to remove bumps on toes?
To get rid of a writer's callus, start by soaking your callus in warm water mixed with baking soda or Epsom salts, which will help soften it so it's easier to remove. Then, exfoliate the callus using a nail file, pumice stone, or washcloth until you've rubbed off all of the dead skin. If home remedies aren't helping, pick up some over-the-counter salicylic acid patches from the store and apply one to your callus.
- Do not apply hydrocortisone creams. These are for rashes and will not help.
- If you have an exam or event that you need to do a lot of writing for that you cannot avoid, blister bandages can provide temporary relief.
- If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood circulation, consult your doctor before beginning any home treatment.
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