How are your hands looking?

Hopefully callused! Unfortunately though, it takes awhile to get there and even then, sometimes our skin gets pretty thin. Here are some tips and tricks brought to you by personal experiences, an article by Climbing magazine, and a video from EpicTV Climbing Daily.

Thin & Rough Skin

First things first, be honest with yourself: how many days on are you? When was your last rest day? Thin, torn skin and blisters tends to come from too many days climbing in a row, repeated use of certain textures of holds (indoor and outdoor), and/or a lack of hand skin care treatment.

Develop a schedule where you climb certain days of the week and have a rest day or two in-between. Avoid newer holds if you’re climbing inside since they’re likely to be rougher in texture and harsher on your skin. Another common occurrence is that perhaps you’re using the same hold type a lot, therefore that part of your hands/fingers is getting more wear and tear than the rest. Try switching it up if you notice that you’re sticking to certain hold types and your skin is starting to feel thin (this also helps you become a more well-rounded climber anyways, it’s a win-win!).

And finally, skin care. There’s all sorts of stuff out there on the market that can help with split tips, cracked hands, thin skin, and whatever else you can think of. I recommend applying the cream, gel, or balm at night before you go to bed that way you give it time to set in to work its magic and you’re typically not using your hands for much during this time. Everyone has their own regiment and brand of hand repairing remedies but a few that have personally stuck out to me are: Rhino Skin, Climb On, Climbskin, and Badger Balm for Working Hands. If you’re looking into a quick fix during a session or choose to ignore said advice (we’ve all been there) you can always tape up and hope for the best.

Blisters and Flappers

It happens to the best of us, so what can we do about them? Well I would first recommend reading the section above because they outline key things you can do to prevent them from developing in the first place! Prevention > Reaction.

  • Another thing to add to your hand skin care routine is filing down callouses to prevent them from becoming blisters and/or flappers
    • Some climbing companies even sell specialized files for climbers
      • Ex) Climbskin Double-Sided Hand and Finger File
    • Be careful to not sand them down too much though!

Even with preventative steps in place, these buggers can still form and take a chunk of skin. So you’re in the middle of your proj and get a flapper, here’s the recommended procedure:

  1. Take a break
  2. Wash your hands and clean the exposed area
  3. Either trim away the already peeling skin (very carefully! ) or place the flap back over the wound
  4. Apple an antibiotic ointment and cover with a Band-Aid
  5. Tape over Band-Aid
  6. Send the proj

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