One second you’re slabbing on moisturizer and the next, your skin is dry, chapped and uncomfortable. How’d that happen so fast? Thankfully, you don’t have to leave your house for the OG dry-skin beauty remedy: the pumice stone. Here’s everything you need to know about how to use a pumice stone at home and where to score your very own.
How to Use a Pumice Stone (and Where to Buy Your Own)
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What Is A Pumice Stone?
A pumice stone is an actual stone composed typically of hardened lava and water that’s been used for centuries—starting in China where it was used as traditional medicine—to remove dead skin and soften skin around the body, including (but not limited to) the feet, elbows and hands.
How to Use a Pumice Stone
Here’s a step-by-step on how to use it:
- First, grab a pumice stone, towel and moisturizer.
- Soak your targeted area (like your feet) into warm water for 5 to 10 minutes to soften the skin and make it easier for the pumice stone to glide over and through dead skin.
- Dip the stone into soapy warm water before rubbing it onto the area in a circular motion for 2 to 3 minutes. (Stick to light or medium pressure when exfoliating to avoid over scrubbing.) Not sure if it’s working? You’ll probably start to see dead skin falling off the area (a weird, but satisfying sight). While you’re using the pumice stone, don't forget to rinse off from time to time to have a clean slate.
- After a few minutes, run your hands over the area you've just pumiced. Is it softer or do you still feel dry or flaky? If so, go over it again for another minute or two until it’s smooth.
- Once you finish using the rock, rinse the skin and stone with warm water.
- Finally, dry the area and apply moisturizer (oil or cream) to keep the skin looking and feeling soft.
Tips for Using a Pumice Stone
While a pumice stone is easy to use, you want to keep these things in mind:
- Be gentle. The last thing you want is to remove too much skin. If you’re rough and put too much pressure on the pumice stone, you’re more likely to cause redness, bleeding or possibly even risk infection. (Note: If your skin does start to feel irritated or sore, stop using the rock.)
- Focus on areas with the roughest skin (like feet, hands, or elbows): For example, when using a pumice stone for your feet, work on places like the heel, sole and sides of your toes. There are mixed views on applying the stone onto your face because of the abrasive, porous texture. It can cause redness, rashes and irritation especially for people with sensitive skin, so you might want to avoid this area.
- Work your way to daily use. If it’s your first time using a pumice stone, try once a week to see how your skin reacts before bumping it to daily use. Using it daily can reduce the size of any callus or corn on your feet.
- Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. Whether you’re using lotion, cream (we like PurSources Foot Cream ($16), Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream ($18) and Glytone Ultra Softening Heel and Elbow Cream ($54) or oil (aka coconut oil, almond oil and avocado oil, to name a few), it’s important not to skip this step for long-lasting results of plumped skin.
- Don’t share your pumice stone with anyone else. Since a pumice stone is used for removing a person’s dead skin, the last thing you want to do is swap a fungus or bacteria. Let’s be honest: If you’re not sharing a toothbrush on a regular basis, don’t share a pumice stone.
How Long Do Pumice Stones Last?
A pumice stone’s lifespan can depend on the number of times you use it. Keep a close eye on the size or texture of the stone. Over time, the pumice stone can wear down and get too small to even work around the area. It can also lose that coarse texture and feel too smooth on the skin to the point that it’s not getting the job done (and risk you over-exfoliating which can aggravate the area). So throw out the old stone and treat yourself to a new one.
However, if you want it to last, don’t forget to wash your pumice stone off every time you reapplying onto an existing or new area using water and soap. (Optional to use a scrub brush to really remove any dead skin buildup.) After washing it, let it dry to prevent bacteria and dampness after your next use.
Another way to make sure there are no lingering bacteria on the rock is with a deep clean. Add one to two cups of water in a pot and wait until it’s boiling before adding the stone. Let it boil for five minutes before removing and letting it dry.
What Should I Look for In a Pumice Stone?
Pumice stones are usually available in your local beauty or drug store. While they are naturally porous, they come in lots of varieties. Some stones are double-sided to give the option of exfoliating and buffing the area. The abrasive side contains big pores and feels rough to the touch. (Note: The bigger the pores, the easier it is to remove those tough, thick sections.) The softer side will have a smoother finish to polish your new soft skin and get it ready for moisturizer.
Pumice stones also come in different sizes and shapes that work better for various purposes—for example, a long stone on a stick is useful for hard-to-reach areas and angles. These are a few things to keep in mind when you’re ready to hit that add to cart button. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our faves: