Keller: Soft and Hard skin adaptation

EDITORIAL

Thursday, 26 November

Martin Keller, one of the first who started with fans in order to optimize friction for outdoor bouldering, gives some advice also in regards skin treatment.

If you suffer from sweaty and soft skin you can try some of the following tips:
- Use liquid-chalk as a base before you apply your regular chalk.
- Try Antihydrahl when you have really sweaty fingers and/or use a product from Rhinoskin as these are not as strong as Antihydrahl.
- Make sure to not apply these products in between the finger-joints otherwise you will get splits!
- When you are using Antihydrahl (or similar products) use sandpaper to sand off old and hard skin. Especially make sure to take care off the sides off the fingertips to avoid splits!
- Before you start to climb cool your fingers down on a piece of cold rock. Make sure to just cool down your fingertips. You don't want your joints to cool down too much!
- Stay outside your gym for a few minutes, use some doorframes (metal) to cool your finger-tips down (not recommended in corona-times though!).
- You can use a fan to cool your fingers down before and while bouldering as well!

For thick and hard elephant skin and when you climb in cold and very dry conditions you can try the following:
- Experiment by slightly moistening your fingers before you start to climb (use a water spray or RhinoSkin-Spit) and then apply your regular chalk and wait for one to two minutes before you start to climb
. - When you climb on very polished rock (like “Bruno-Boulder” in Magic Wood) you can also try to slightly moisture the holds with your brush or use a water-spray (DO NOT DO THIS on sandstone and/or fragile rock as it may breaks!).
- Sand down excessive skin so your skin does not get too thick. But while sanding you also generate harder skin so you have a trade-off here!
. - Solve this trade-off by still sanding excessive skin off and then applying a cream containing "urea" (5%-25%) which will enable you to conserve more moisture deeply in your skin. This will make your skin more elastic and softer!

Here some other reflections by Martin:
- The older the less (young) elastic the skin!
- Soft skin (but not too soft) is better indoors and on comps
- Soft skin is better on a rock type with less friction especially on polished holds.
- Elephant skin is generally better on positive and incut hold and on granite and more aggressive rock.
- Clean your hands from chalk after climbing and then use a hand cream of your choice to give your skin some moisture back to kick-start the recovery process.

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