I was talking with a friend yesterday and asking if she’d tried ClimbSkin to keep her hands in good climbing shape. She had and didn’t care for the smell because she, like me, isn’t one for strong fragrances. I actually like the smell of ClimbSkin and can tolerate it. I mentioned to her that ClimbOn!, a different skin care product for climbers, was really too much for me and that they make ClimbOn! For Men, which smells much better. We laughed because there was actually one just for men, and of course it would smell better! Skin care is a huge deal in the climbing world, especially care of the skin on your hands and feet! I’ve tried a few products and I’ve stuck with ClimbSkin because it’s non-greasy. Truly. I’m not making it up and telling you this only to have you go and buy some and find that I was lying. ClimbOn! is greasy stuff. It gets all over everything and doesn’t do a thing for me. I’ve even tried the men’s version, which does, by the way, smell good. I really can’t stand the smell of the regular ClimbOn! stuff, and the smell of ClimbSkin is relatively neutral compared to that. Just rub the ClimbSkin in good (you don’t need much) and watch your calluses get conditioned before your eyes. It feels wonderful!
Dry skin is a hassle, and I’ve had dry skin all my life. When I was a kid, I had to rub Bag Balm all over my hands and put socks over them to sleep every night to keep my knuckles from cracking open and bleeding all over. I have dry skin to begin with, and then the climber’s dry skin angle on top of it all. I’ve tried several suggestions from others on non-climber-specific skin care products and I’ll share those with you so you can try them for yourself. My personal favorite, and another one I’ve used since I was a kid, is Corn Huskers Lotion. It, even more than ClimbSkin, is non-greasy (if there is such a thing!). It just takes a tiny bit, too, to get your hands back in shape. You may want to apply this several times over the course of an evening, and then regularly to keep the dry skin at bay. I’ve tried O’Keefe’s Working Hands, and Working Feet, too, but the stuff is just too greasy for me. My brother uses it, and he’s a mechanic, so there’s no harm in trying it out. Another climber friend of mine suggested Gold Bond Healing Lotion, which is what he uses. Again, too greasy for me, but it works for some, so try it out. I’ve found that Unfragranced Lubriderm Normal to Dry Lotion works really well. I can stand it because it doesn’t have any fragrance in it whatsoever, and it only takes a little bit. I still like Corn Huskers Lotion better, but Lubriderm is a close second in the non-climber-specific category.
Now, to tell you the truth, it takes both climber-specific and non-climber-specific skin products to manage the dry skin you get from climbing, especially in the winter in Montana. Some may disagree, and if you don’t need all this stuff, hats off to you because you are very fortunate! The dry air in conjunction with the chalk and soap that goes with climbing destroys my hands and my feet are always dry. I use the Lubriderm on my feet and around my ankle and Achilles region. ClimbSkin will be a welcome, immediate relief once you wash the climbing chalk off your hands with some mild soap and dry them well. It’s going to take more than that to get them back in shape for the next day of climbing, though, and if you only use ClimbSkin, you’re going to go through more than is necessary, I think. Corn Huskers is really good, as is Lubriderm Unfragranced, and these products are going to go a lot farther for the price for everyday maintenance of hopefully healthy skin. So there you have it! That’s my formula for healthy climbing skin on my hands and feet. That doesn’t mean I don’t still get splitters, hangnails, and all that, but it does mean that I’m not bleeding all over the place most of the time. Try out your own combination of some of this stuff. I’ve tried to offer some less-strongly fragranced or no-fragrance options for you to try, in case you’re sensitive to the strongly-fragranced (overly fragranced to the point of nose blindness, in my opinion) stuff you find everywhere you go. Hopefully some of this stuff will work for your needs!!! Climb strong and keep your skin in good shape!!!