By YouTube standards, the game of Who Wore It Better is actually called Who Skeeved Out The Internet More, and most people would agree that Dr. Pimple Popper's videos beat out the rest. That is, unless you've watched any of the clips uploaded by Never Ending Callus, because if there were ever anyone that could challenge the reigning dermatologist to a binge-watching match and win — it's him.
Like the D.A.R.E. films you watched in class growing up, the videos of this guy (he has not yet released his name) shaving off his thick, yellow-tinged heels each week are gruesome and shocking, and yet we can't look away. It's as if an extraction video met Baby Foot at a bar one night, and had a grotesquely beautiful baby named Never Ending Callus. (Which, of course, could not physically happen — but let that draw you a picture.) "I have always had crazy calluses," he tells Refinery29. "I figured I would post a video once a week and use it as a way to make trimming my feet a little more fun while spreading some awareness and shocking others."
When commenters asked what causes the excess growth, Never Ending Callus responded simply, "genetics." But dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD — who has not treated the man in the videos — tells us his symptoms look consistent with the condition pachyonychia congenita. "It's a really rare genetic disorder that only affects 5,000 to 10,000 people worldwide," she says. "It's caused by a defect in the keratin gene, which is the most important protein to healthy skin and nails."
This condition causes thick calluses to grow on the soles of the feet, "Where you experience a lot of the trauma. The skin becomes quite thick, and it can be quite painful," Dr. Henry says. When we asked him if he does, in fact, have the disorder, he responded in the affirmative.
"Not a lot of doctors have experience with the disorder," he says. "My dentist was actually the first person to point us in the right direction after seeing a formation on my gums and calluses on my hands. She had a piece of paper printed out with the condition the next time I went in. I got in touch with a non-profit working on understanding the genetic disorder, but right now trimming and maintaining the growth is the only treatment until they can fix the mutated gene or silence it."
In the videos, he switches off between using a foot grater and a razor blade to slice through the dead skin on his feet, which makes watching them particularly cringe-worthy. Not to mention risky: "It's important to be able to use the appropriate angle so you're only taking off more skin than is safe, which is really hard to do yourself," Dr. Henry says. Instead, she recommends exfoliating creams to help encourage the skin to shed — or go to your podiatrist or derm.
"You might not have the appropriate tools and antiseptic cleansers at home," she says. "Because the skin is building up so frequently, and he is shaving it so frequently, he's giving himself a lot of opportunity for infection."
At the end of the day, if just watching the videos — and not DIY-ing at home — adds a little pep in your step (sorry, had to), we won't stop you. Just make sure you hold onto your lunch, because you're in for a bumpy ride.
This story was originally published August 14, 2017.