allochthonous: (then you can tell if it's summer)
[personal profile] allochthonous
So I have recently got back into climbing, and it's great, and I have a group of friends who I've managed to get hooked on it as well, and I'm saving up for a climbing holiday later in the year, and it's all wonderful. Except that I appear to be steadily losing the skin on the inside of my fingers. Last time I realised that I had ripped all of the skin off the bottom third of my fingers on my left hand and was bleeding (nice). I never ran into this problem when I climbed before, and I guess it's just because I've been out of the game for a while, but is there anything I can do until my hands harden up? Loads of lotion? No lotion? Just tape it up? It's not particularly painful, but I don't want the scrapes to get infected. If you climb regularly, do you just expect calluses? Or do everything to avoid them?
rydra_wong: Lisa Rands' chalky hands on the sloper on the route Gaia (climbing -- hands)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Since this came up tangentially in the Everything You Always Wanted To Know ... thread, I thought I'd open it up into its own post:

How do you look after hands that are shredded/scraped/blistered, and avoid having your climbing hampered by a skin shortage?

For what it's worth, my chief weapons are fear, surprise, and a fanatical devotion to The Dawes:

*Climb On Bar or Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I haven't picked a favourite yet; in my experience, either works very well for healing blisters and scrapes.

(There are various products on the market, especially in the US; what you want is a mildly antiseptic grease or goop, that will help heal the skin without softening it in the way that a water-based lotion can.)

The latter is a known trick of the trade for boulderers, and it never ceases to amuse me that I can have chats with hardcore rugged climbing boys about Elizabeth Arden.

*Finger tape! Very handy for covering up blisters, flappers, and abraded or frayed bits.

*Those Ped-Egg microplane grater things sold for shaving dead skin from your feet. Yes, it's disgusting (in a very satisfying way), but they're perfect for smoothing down callouses that have become hard or ridged, so you avoid them ripping off or having blisters develop underneath them, without losing the toughness of the skin.

What works for you?


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