Lately my hands have been taking a real beating from rock climbing and surfing. They’ve just been getting super dry and peeling, almost feeling like my skin’s stretching and you probably know the feeling. I’d typically pump some natural lotion in my hand, but it feels like that stuff just rubs off really fast and never really allows my skin to absorb the ingredients to moisturize it. Luckily I found this nifty little skin salve by SKINourishment, Inc. called the Climb On! Bar.
It’s packaged in a nice little metal canister which makes it easy to keep in your pocket which make it easy to take with you to work, rock climbing, hiking, or even to the beach. Anytime you feel your skin starting to get to dry, pull this little bar out of the canister and apply sparingly (seriously, a little goes a long way). Once I apply the salve, it feels like my skin starts absorbing the synthetic free (more on this in a minute) ingredients on the spot.
The simple bar shape makes it easy to apply and it even looks cool. There’s a little indention at the top which makes it easy to moisturize your fingertips. The other side is flat, which makes it easy to apply on burns, scrapes, poison ivy, etc. Have I mentioned that it works on bug bites to? I’ve been getting lit up lately by all these bugs we have in Florida and this stuff makes those pesky bug bites stop itching in seconds.
I take it with me to work almost every day because after I get done washing my hands, I feel them starting to get dry again. It’s weird because the soap we have at work claims to have natural moisturizing ingredients in it. So how come my skin keeps getting dried out when this soap claims to have natural moisturizing ingredients in it?
The folks over at SKINourishment enlightened me that what sets them apart from most brands is that their products are synthetic free. If you read the label on most other skin care products, they claim to use natural ingredients (like the soap at my work). The reason they can make that claim is because they use synthetics to reproduce the natural oils used in their products. For instance, when you see “Cetyl Alcohol” listed as an ingredient on a bottle of lotion, the manufacturer essentially recreated the chemical makeup of coconut oil in a lab and used it in their lotion. Instead of recreating the chemical make up of coconut oil, SKINourishment will use the actual coconut oil in their product (if the recipe calls for it).
Using synthetic free natural products is better for your skin because it’s actually from that ingredient, but it comes with a cost. I’ve seen natural skin salves cost about half the price of synthetic free skin salves because it’s cheaper to make the ingredients compared to using the synthetic free ones. When SKINourishment makes their product, their recipe changes every time depending on the season. For example, a blueberry delivered in the spring is going to have a different chemical make up than a blueberry delivered in the winter. That means every time they get a new batch of ingredients, they have to slightly alter their recipe to get a product that’s presentable to their customer. That takes time and money, resulting in a higher price point.
Why should you pay a couple extra bucks for the Climb On! Bar rather than saving some money and getting some natural skin salve at the grocery store? Like I already said, the natural stuff just doesn’t work for me and the Lotion Bar does and I’d rather pay a couple extra bucks for a product that will actually give me some results. There are other synthetic free skin care companies out there that’d be willing to sell you their skin salve, but I doubt they have as good of customer service as SKINourishment. I’m a huge fan of good customer service and these folks have exceeded my expectations. It’s so easy to get in touch with them on Twitter, but if email’s your thing, they get back to you in less than a few hours (during business hours, of course) to answer all your questions and then with some answers to questions you didn’t even think about. Heck, if you don’t love what you get, you can return it and they’ll give you a full refund. To top it all off, they’re a very respectable company. Even though they make a better product (in my opinion) than their competitors, they only give the facts and never bash their competition.
The next time you’re looking for a skin salve or if you’re starting to stock up for that dry winter air that’s just around the corner, give the Climb On! Bar a try. And if you want to familiarize yourself more with the difference between natural and synthetic free products, go read their blog where they answer a lot of questions and dish out all the facts.
Addition from September 5, 2013
I typically don’t add additions to my reviews, but there was a situation this past weekend on my climbing trip to The Red River Gorge that warranted an update.
Long story short, I got a massive rope burn on my left hand. I mean within seconds I had blisters forming across the pads of my four fingers and on the upper palm of my hand. This happened on Saturday afternoon and we still had all Sunday left to climb. Luckily it was raining so I was able to cool my hand down a bit with some fresh rain drops. Once my hand cooled down a bit, I smeared some of the ClimbOn! Bar on my hand. The burning sensation did come back, but within an hour or so, the pain started to subside. Later that day I was even able to belay again and was feeling like I could possibly climb, but I didn’t, just to be safe. I kept reapplying the ClimbOn! Bar to my burns for the rest of the day and night and it felt like it was helping.
Sunday morning rolled around and my hand felt great. I could still tell I had a rope burn, but didn’t really have any pain, only a tiny bit of sensitivity. My friends were surprised to see how my hand looked and even more surprised to hear that I felt good enough to climb again.
I had planned on taping my fingers to prevent the rock from scraping my burns, but once I got to the wall, I was feeling pretty good. I got on the first climb of the day, didn’t tape up my fingers, and did just fine. Granted I chickened out about 20 feet from the anchors, but the biggest win was that my fingers felt fine. I didn’t have to tape up at all that day.
I guess it’s safe to say that the ClimbOn! Bar somewhat saved my climbing trip and because of that, this is always going to be my go-to skin salve.