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As a female who like to rock climb but also try to keep up with my manicures, it can get a little tricky!
Rock climbing can lead to rough hands, particularly for women. The skin on the palms and against the back of your hands is unlike that on your fingers or any other part of your body. This makes it prone to abrasions, which are painful and difficult to heal without proper treatment.
There are many ways you might try to deal with this issue, but when you’re new at rock climbing it may be difficult for you know what will work best for your particular case.
With that said, here’s a guide on how you can effectively deal with dry cracked hands from rock climbing:
Use A Moisturizing Cream Liberally (But Not While You Are Climbing!)
A lot of climbers use Vaseline to help with dry, chapped hands, but this is very bad for your hands. The Vaseline problem is that it dries out the skin in harsh conditions and can even cause irritation. Instead you’ll want to consider cream or lotions – not creams that are extremely heavy (like petroleum-based) or ones that contain alcohol (like hand sanitizers).
I personally love this stuff that I get on Amazon from a company called Rhino. They have a couple options that you can get – one being their Rhino Skin Rock Climbing Repair Cream for Hands. But what I really like is their “Skin Abuse Specialist Pack” (which you can see a pic of to the right here) that includes the same moisturizer but also adds a full kit that has products for before, during and after climbing. If you are interested, you can check it out here.
Keep Your Hands Well Hydrated
Keeping your hands hydrated is vital for climbers, and this goes for before, during (if you can) and after climbing. If you know that you have a hard session at the gym coming up in the evening, try to be sure to get in plenty of water by midday. This will help keep your skin nice and pliable.
Be Sure To Wash Your Hands Regularly
It’s important to remember that like all skin, your hands are susceptible to bacteria. This is amplified in the gym and on the wall. You should always try wash your hands before you climb and after climbing, if possible. If you don’t have time for a shower after a session at the gym, be sure to use hand sanitizer – but only use it once in a while because it dries out the skin too often.
Don’t Pick At Your Cracks!
This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that as tempting as it is to pick or squeeze at your dry hands, this only makes the problem worse. You’ll want to find something that you can apply directly onto the cracks and chapping (other than your fingers!) and then leave it alone. Think of it like a band-aid – only use for emergencies.
Consider Climbing Gloves
Actually, I personally don’t care for using gloves but there are those who do. If you have particularly sensitive hands, try to play around with some different types of gloves.
When I first started climbing and used gloves, it took me a while to find the right pair! In the beginning I tried things like synthetic climbing gloves but they were way too tight (didn’t fit over my nails) and I also didn’t have a lot of grip with them on my fingers. This is why I eventually went back to my old favorite – no gloves. Unless it gets cold and the climbing isn’t too challenging.
But, if you want gloves, I have a pair of the Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger Climbing Gloves and do use them sometimes. Honestly don’t have a whole lot of experience with gloves but I would recommend them.
What Is Your Experience?
Feel free to comment below on your own experience with dry hands or rough hands. Maybe you have a great tip or trick that I can add to this article. 🙂