Chalk Rebels encourages all climbers to use moisturiser

A common misconception among climbers is that you should avoid getting your hands wet, even when you’re not climbing. Many climbers shun moisturising creams and will go as far as avoiding the swimming pool or holding their hands out of the water in the jacuzzi.

The thinking goes that tough, dry, callused, and leathery skin will make your skin stronger. There is absolutely no truth in this idea except as an excuse to avoid doing the dishes. Well-moisturized skin is strong skin. Split tips, flappers, and cracked skin are far less common on supple, well-moisturized skin.

That’s why we recommend all climbers to use a moisturising cream in-between climbing sessions. You want to get your skin re-hydrated as quickly as possible after a rough climbing session. 

The ingredients in moisturizers tend to work in two ways. So-called humectants draw water from the environment into your skin. Common examples of humectants are aloe vera and shea butter. Occlusives on the other hand help the skin retain its natural moisture. A common occlusive in creams for climbers is beeswax. Occlusives tend to feel greasy. No good if you plan to climb after applying the cream.

A good moisturizer will contain water as the main ingredient (d’uh) and then a mix of occlusives and humectants to retain and attract water. What else do you want in a good cream for climbers?

Something that helps against inflammations. Climbing is rough on your skin. You don’t want to get those little cuts and scrapes infected. Common natural antibacterial ingredients in climbing creams include calendula and tincture of benzoin.

You also want something that actively helps repair damaged skin. Many climbing brands seem to seek inspiration from ingredients commonly used in creams against burns and dermatitis. Vitamin E and aloe vera are good candidates here.

We recommend using a beeswax-based ‘grasy’ balm after climbing or at night before you go to bed. It really helps keep in the moisture for maximum overnight restoring effect.

If you want to moisturize during the day, we recommend using any normal moisturising cream but if you want something that is extra effective against damaged skin, we recommend our repair cream.

Whatever you do, the important bit is to remember to moisturize frequently.

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