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Grip with Confidence: 5 Effective Tips for Climbers Hands

Climbers hands are a vital component of the rock climbing experience. They withstand the pressure of gripping onto rough surfaces and support the climber’s weight. Over time, this constant stress can lead to calluses, blisters, and even injuries. But with proper care, climbers’ hands can become strong, resilient, and an asset to any climbing journey.

Calluses are a badge of honor for climbers. They are a sign of dedication and hard work put into the craft. However, neglecting to moisturize and protect the skin can cause calluses to become rough and painful. The repeated friction between the hands and the rock can also lead to the dreaded flapper, a painful injury that can take weeks to heal.

Taking care of climbers’ hands requires a balance between building strength and maintaining suppleness. Using hand balms or creams can help keep the skin soft and prevent cracking. Additionally, using a hand skin file to smooth out rough calluses can help prevent flappers and other injuries.

climbers hands

What are the effects of climbing on climbers hands?

1. Loose and dry skin

climbers balm

Rock climbers frequently deal with dry, cracked skin. Dry skin can facilitate grips and holds but can also lead to unintended cracks and tears. A drying agent can quickly deplete your hands’ natural essential oils. The skin needs to be kept hydrated consistently to stay flexible and less vulnerable to damage.

A blister can develop when there is constant friction combined with sweat. This may result in a flapper because the extra skin may catch on objects before tearing open. You can stay away from these uncomfortable circumstances by taking good care of the skin on your hands. Your vulnerability to this problem will naturally decrease as your calluses grow.

2. Flapping Skin during rock climbing

Large, loose pieces of skin that have been torn away from the surface of the hand are known as flappers. They sting and expose sensitive skin, increasing the likelihood of infection or bacteria. Wrapping a flapper tightly and giving it enough time to heal is the best way to fix one. Prevention is preferable to dealing with flappers after they occur.

Climbing Skin Care Tips to keep your skin healthy

Because everyone has a different skin type, every type of skin reacts differently to products and care. When determining the skin care regimen that is best for you, these elements must be taken into account. Regardless of the type of skin you have, follow these tips to keep it clean and maintain healthy skin.

Prior to Climbing


Wash and moisturize your hands frequently. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Keep your nails short and carry nail clippers in case you need to adjust the length because long nails can tear more easily and make it harder to grip things.

Moisturize your hands an hour or two before you climb longer, but don’t use wax-based cream because it might make you slip. Additionally useful is climbing tape, particularly on climbing holds or rocks that are particularly sharp or rough. Tape your fingers and palms to add extra protection.

During Climbing

Your hands will probably become dry from using chalk. Look out for any tears, ridges, or cracks. If they do, use a nail file, pumice stone, or sandpaper file to remove them. To remove any dead skin when working with more delicate pieces, use clippers. Never pull the skin or use a nail clipper because this can further harm the skin. Stop climbing as soon as your skin begins to crack or bleed, and wash your hands immediately to avoid spreading infection.

Apply antibiotic cream, then bandage the affected area and cover it with climbing tape. It’s better to leave and come back when the wound has healed or when you have the right skin protection if you don’t have bandages or tape.

Following a climb

After the climb, make sure to look for any damage, cuts, or cracks. Be sure to wash your hands after finishing the day, and then use salve. To combat bacteria, it’s always important to keep your hands clean. Every trip should include a first aid kit, water, and soap. Bandages should also be changed frequently. It is best to take extra care of your skin before, during, and after climbing.

– Hand Salve or Hand Cream


Skin that is dry or brittle is more prone to cracking and peeling. At least once per day, apply climbing salve. In order to find the products that are most effective for you, try out various brands. You should know that salves can keep calluses moist and in place, while many prefer lotion because they are more likely to soften them.

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Minimize Time In Hot Water

climbing skin care tips

You may be tempted to jump in a hot shower or bath within a few hours of a tough climb. Try to avoid lengthy exposure to hot water and try to take cold showers, as keeping your hands wet for too long may cause calluses to peel off. Minimize time in the shower, keep your hands out of hot tubs, and wear rubber gloves when washing dishes to avoid wet hands. Hot water softens your wound healing and it takes much time to heal.

Maintain Your Digits

Wash and dry your hands completely after your workout, whether it was in the gym or outside. In addition to keeping germs and bacteria at bay, this is a wise move because it gets rid of the chalk that will only dry out your skin throughout the day. Check your hands for microtears and abrasions, and treat any wounds with antibacterial gel or ointment and bandages. Then, put some salve on your hands.

Care for Calluses 

climbers with calluses on hands

Calloused hands can be very annoying even though they don’t pose a health risk, especially if you lift weights frequently. The fitness pursuits that are most likely to result in gym calluses are weightlifting and CrossFit training. Although some people take pride in their calloused gym hands, if they hurt, others might not.

Method 1: Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Method 2: Use special callus removal creams.

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“All men dream, but not equally.” Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity. “But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes to make them possible.” 

– T.E. Lawrence


In conclusion, a rock climber’s hands are an important tool, and taking care of them is important for a successful and fun climb. Developing calluses through consistent climbing is a sign of dedication and hard work, but it’s important to also maintain the health of the skin to prevent painful injuries like flappers and splits. I hope this article helps you in the best way possible. However, if you continue to have any inquiries, kindly leave a comment below.


Is climbing bad for my hands?

A) While climbing is bad for your hands, how well they function as a whole will depend on the precautions you take before, during, and after exercise. It is possible to have “good skin,” which is tough and flexible.

Should climbers moisturize their hands?

A) Usually! Moisturizing is the key to preventing flappers, cracks, splits, and tears. Rub on climbing salve or hand cream before bed to moisturize overnight. The salve will be more effective on your calluses as a lotion or hand cream will tend to soften the calluses. Try out a few different options to see what works best for you.

Do climbers have rough hands?

A) Since other climbers’ hands get beat up a lot, it’s a common mistake for new climbers to put moisturizer on them. However, you should allow those calluses to develop, as they will eventually protect your skin.

What does climbing do to your hands?

A) For climbers, the hands and forearms show the most noticeable changes. The muscles that flex the fingers do expand in response to exercise, but so do the bones, ligaments, and tendons, which after each rigorous workout session race to produce more cells and thereby gain strength.

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