5 Simple Skin Care Tips
Blog By Monkey Fist
1. Think Skin
‘Think Skin’! Try to limit skin damage before it occurs, the old adage ‘prevention is better than a cure’ is spot on for skin care and climbing injuries in general.
Before you climb take a look at your hands, inspect and evaluate your current skin condition. Take into consideration any existing skin damage before you start your climbing session and climb appropriately.
When warming up, indoors or out, try to prevent using holds that are damaging to the skin. This may be sharp holds that are likely to split or cut our skin, or holds that may result in a slip causing a thinning of the skin’s surface (hand slips on rough or coarse rock can be very damaging to the skin).
Remember ‘Think Skin’
Pre Taping! If you have identified existing skin damage and have decided you are still going to climb it is important to prevent further damage or exacerbation of any damage. This can be done through pre taping.
Taping of split tips (Split Tip: cuts across the top pad of the finger, caused from sharp holds or high pressures on small holds) or of thin skin can prevent the problems being worsened.
Remember to periodically remove the tape to allow air to the skin. Airing the skin prevents our skin becoming saturated with sweat, puffed up and more prone to easy damage.
If you’re on a project or a trip you can use taping to prevent damage from occurring in the first place. During the ‘Think Skin’ phase of your climbing (before you even warm up) you may have had a look at your project or ascertained some information on your climb, of course this isn’t always possible. However, if you know there are some sharp holds it may perhaps be wise to tape before you start. Tape can of course be removed for those ‘send’ goes as the friction on a taped digit is never as good as a fresh skin (unless skin is so damaged the tape is necessary)
Staying well hydrated is important for all aspects of our health, especially when climbing. Proper hydration results in a more elastic skin surface (This is a simplistic way to put it). A more elastic skin surface is less prone to splitting and ripping, and, as such less likely to become damaged. It is important to remain well hydrated throughout and after climbing sessions. Be sensible with your hydration, and drink enough appropriate fluids (not just those post session beers).
Hydration means getting plenty of fluids, it doesn’t mean getting your skin wet. We all recognise that wrinkly skin we get after a long time in water; perhaps we stayed a little too long in the Jacuzzi (or washing up our plates, less fun, more real). Climbing with skin in this saturated condition is highly likely to result in skin damage. Saturated skin is much softer with less tension between the layers, resulting in easier damage of the top layers of skin (again put simplistically)!
So, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids but don’t be soaking those hands pre climb. Prevention of overly wet hands, resulting in saturated skin is something some climbers try hard to prevent. There are numerous stories of climbers wearing gloves in the shower or even donning bright yellow marigolds to apply sun cream.
If you are suffering from the opposite issue, overly dry skin, then using a climbing balm with moisturising ingredients is a good fix . Dry skin is often identified through peeling of dry outer layers, or larger areas of thicker skin (this will be looked at in a later blog).
Look objectively, dry skin maybe because you are using chalk with drying agents, which are sapping the moisture from your skin. It may be due to your daily work or things our skin is coming into contact with (the type of soap you use may be effecting it). Dry skin can also be down to not washing hands quickly enough after climbing; meaning chalk residue is sitting on your hands and drying your natural oils out. If you are suffering from dry skin then wash your hands soon after your session and moisturise (use a balm). We will look in more detail at dry skin in later blogs.
Rest! Rest! Rest! This maybe hard on a short trip or on that one day of good conditions, but it’s crucial. Our skin is not made of armour! No matter how much you stare at your hands pleading for them to heal you cannot do better than a good rest.
Give yourself the best chance to extend good skin conditions by allowing your skin to rest and recover. If you continue to trash your skin it can become a recurring point of weakness, as with any repeated injury! Skin takes time to heal, this does not mean no climbing, it means ‘Think Skin’ and climb appropriately. Skin is our first contact point with the rock (except climbing shoes of course, wearing climbing shoes on trashed hands does not work!), better skin conditions contribute to a better performance and less painful experience.
When Prevention has not worked and we are in need of a cure, then skin care balms are a great way to go, (We were using them at Monkey Fist long before we started perfecting and manufacturing our own)!
Of course we want to do anything we can to get our skin back to prime sending condition in radical fast time so why not get some help from a balm. Climbing Skin Care balms are packed full of skin friendly ingredients aimed solely at helping your skin heal quicker!
We tried, changed and tested Monkey Fist balms for a year to find the best mix of ingredients. All Monkey Fist ingredients are aimed at aiding the skin healing process; it is something we take very seriously. Click the image below to find out a little more about what goes into our popular Monkey Fist Balms
On a last note, people are all different!
People vary hugely in their skin needs and responses to climbing. We need to take some time to learn our skin. For some people loads of balm is the key, others a little balm and plenty of rest. Your skin will respond differently to the varying types of climbing you put it through and will need to perform and be in differing conditions for differing rock types and climbing styles! A little trying and testing is the way to find a skin healing routine that works best for you.
Monkey Fists next skin healing blog will look deeper into some more advanced areas of the skin and some of the slightly more radical and quirky ways climbers and athletes prep and heal their skin.
To show your skin some love grab some Monkey Fist, just click the image below
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