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I recently had a corn on each of my little toes, and while shopping came across two different removal methods, Scholl Corn Removal Medicated Plasters and Carnation Footcare Corn Caps. So I decided to try a little experiment: I bought one pack of each, and used one on each corn.
Scholl was the more chemical-sounding of the two. Both contained the same active ingredient, 40% salicylic acid, but the Scholl plasters also contain polyvinyl alkyl ether adhesive, titanium dioxide, liquid paraffin, antioxidant (4, 4'-thio-bis-tert-butyl-5-methylphenol), red iron oxide and black iron oxide. Sounds... unhealthy.
Application was very easy. The plasters come in two parts, a little sticky dot that you attach directly to the corn, and then a round pad with two thin plaster bits coming off it that you stick over the corn (with the dot on it). The plaster is an odd shape, but this helped it to stick around toes, which are awkwardly shaped, it has to be said.
The packet contained 4 plasters, which are supposed to be changed daily. This wasn't long enough to remove my corn, so I had to purchase another packet. And then another. The instructions warn you not to use the product for more than two weeks, so I guess Scholl know that four plasters isn't going to be enough and do intend for you to buy more. A bit of a swizz, I think.
After my twelve days of corn plastering were up, my corn still hadn't fallen off, but it was looking very white. I decided to leave it for a while, and sure enough, while walking a few days later it fell off. It wasn't a pleasant sensation, I did know that it was happening, but it didn't hurt.
Two weeks later I have a patch of shiny red skin where my corn was, with a ring of broken skin around it. It still isn't really presentable, so I would recommend removing your corn(s) in winter. I haven't been able to wear open-toed shoes or sandals for over a month now, and some of my shoes which are usually comfortable do still irritate the skin where the corn was. Scholl Corn Removal Medicated Plasters turned out to be quite expensive, but they did the job in the end. See my review on Carnation Footcare Corn Caps for my review on the alternative.
From time to time, I get corns on my toes - usually the little toe. Anyone who has had corns will know what surprising pain these pesky little things can bring. I can get some relief from a corn cushion or plaster but that's not getting to the root of the problem and removing them.
The Scholl corn removal plasters come in a little cardboard pack, with 4 plasters and 4 teeny medicated discs, little more than 1/2cm in diameter. The active ingredient in the disc is Salicylic acid which is a keratolytic (whatever that is!) which apparently breaks down corns.
The plaster bits are a padded circle with a hole in the centre of the padding, a bit like a polo with a skin on one side. They then have a narrow adhesive plaster strip coming from each side of the circle to attach more easily to a tricky place like a toe.
So, you place the medicated disc directly over the corn, then position the padded circle on top of this and attach firmly in place using the strips. Therefore, while the disc is doing it's work, the padded plaster is also giving relief from pressure points.
The instructions say to replace daily but I have found these take a while to work completely and if I replaced it every day I would be getting through packs of the things. In practise I generally replace it every couple of days as long as it has stayed in place, which it invariably does.
Each time I remove the plaster to replace it, I can see that under the medicated disc there is an area of dead skin which gets deeper and thicker day by day. I have found it takes around a week or more to get right in under the corn.
I am a little sceptical about this 'breaking down the corn' as to me what it seems to do is to deaden the skin all around the corn and then when eventually there is enough dead skin there, the whole thing comes off, corn and all. Difficult to explain in words, but in essence what you end up with is a small, but quite thick, circular piece of totally dead skin. It's obvious to me when it's 'ready' to come away as it can do this without affecting any healthy skin around it. Before it's ready you would be tearing healthy skin to get to the corn.
The first time I used one of these successfully it was a bit of a revelation to be honest. (Don't read if you're a bit squeamish). I removed the plaster for the last time, along with the piece of white, dead skin, within which was contained the offending corn. Upon inspection, I discovered a tiny, rock hard little 'nugget' dead centre of the bit of discarded skin. So hard, it's like a little diamond. No wonder it causes so much pain - this was in my toe!
This is the reason I'm a bit sceptical about them 'breaking down' the corn, as to me it seemed to break down the skin containing the corn to enable the corn to be removed whole. However, either way, job done so I'm not complaining!
As I mentioned earlier, there are just 4 in a pack which although not expensive at around £1.80-£2 are not enough to do the job in my experience. In the instructions on the pack it says 'do not use for more than 2 weeks except on medical advice'. If they expect it to take up to 2 weeks, why only put 4 in a pack? I have found it to take as long as that on a few occasions although sometimes it can be a bit quicker.
That's the only reason I give this 4 stars not 5, as I feel you should be able to buy one pack to get rid of your corn completely and so it's a bit misleading. Apart from that it's a great product and has worked a lot better than the couple of other brands I have tried.
(Also posted on Ciao)