CNN  — 

Sandal season kicked off a few months ago, and to say I was ill-prepared would be an understatement. The toes, heels and balls of my feet were callused and crusty, which I realize is incredibly gross. But the thing that brought me solace as I stared at my feet in mild horror was that I wasn’t alone.

What is a baby foot peel?

Meet Baby Foot. A chemical foot peel that has been a cult favorite since it debuted in the US in 2012, Baby Foot reached new levels of pandemonium-like success during the height of the pandemic, contributing to the popularity of at-home self-care solutions. With more than 30,000 positive reviews on Amazon, the exfoliating chemical peel is primarily known for two things — being equal parts disgusting and effective.

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This $25 treatment is like a science experiment for your feet. It will give you all the feels, from dismay and revulsion — while the skin on your tootsies molts — to gratification and total and utter devotion when the end result is a pair of baby-soft feet.

If you need visual representation of the shedding that’s both delighted and horrified the internet, don’t say we didn’t warn you:

Intrigued? Read on. Grossed out? Read on.

How the Baby Foot peel works

Baby Foot comes with two plastic booties that are lined with a gel of 16 natural extracts, plus glycolic and lactic acids, that work over time to remove dead skin cells. The brand — and thousands of reviewers — recommend soaking your feet prior to putting the booties on to boost your results.

Once on your feet, the booties must stay there for one hour. For the duration of the hour (or more, some reviewers claim an additional 20 to 60 minutes increases the product’s efficacy), while your feet are immersed and sealed into the booties, the sensation you can expect is mainly one of cold, gooey gel. While I anticipated tingling or even burning, the experience was more akin to a bath. I found the included tape didn’t work well at keeping the plastic sealed, but slipping a big pair of socks over the booties stabilized the process.

And then, you wait. And you wonder if it’s working. And you wait some more. To show you how well this works, here’s a picture before Baby Foot, with crustiness on the heels, toes and balls of my feet.

My feet before Baby Foot

The peeling began four days after my treatment, and from that point, the sloughing of my skin was fast and furious, shedding in snake-like sheets.

Starting at my heels and working up to the balls of my feet, the peeling didn’t stop. It occurred everywhere from my arches to between my toes, peaking about a week after the application, but lingering for another one.

My feet during Baby Foot

Are Baby Foot peels worth it?

The Baby Foot hype is real. You’re going to be slightly horrified when the peeling process begins. As a journalist who did a deep dive into the reviews about Baby Foot ahead of time and who fully understood the good, bad and ugly of the product, I was still taken aback when the skin on my feet came off in large swaths.

While the product’s side effects are decidedly not for the faint of heart, the good news is that the sloughing period is pain-free. And the results were totally worth it.

My feet after Baby Foot

Baby Foot achieves what it purports to do: It completely metamorphosed my feet from rough and unsightly to insanely smooth and, dare I say, pretty. My feet are officially ready for summer.