Causes for Splitting Skin in Rock Climbing

Causes for Splitting Skin in Rock Climbing

Posted by Maya Matthews on 2021 Jun 6th

My skin keeps splitting open when I climb! What gives?!

Well, first of all, I’m sorry to hear that. That's brutal! You wanna go crush your climb but your skin seems to keep tearing apart like tissue paper. Super frustrating!

There are two main causes of splitting skin. Too much callus, and too little callus.

Too Much Callus

'But Maya', you may ask, 'why would too much callus be a bad thing? I've been working for years to develop my perfectly glossy, hard-as-glass layer of skin, now you’re telling me that I have too much callus?!

First off, it's not necessarily the quantity of callus, but the quality of callus that is causing your skin to split. If you naturally tend towards dry skin and haven’t been using a climbing hand balm, then you probably have dry and unyielding calluses that can't stretch and bend the way normal skin can. 

If you can gently tap your fingers on the table and it sounds like someone is annoyingly tapping their pen on the desk at work, then perhaps it's this type of callus you have. This can lead to skin splitting, especially around the flexy knuckle area.

Imagine climbing in Cinderella’s glass climbing shoe (yes, of course she has climbing shoes!) vs. climbing in that soft moldable rubber of your fresh Five Tens. That moldable rubber is gonna be great at forming around the hold and giving you the most amount of surface area to grip on to. Whereas Cinderella’s glass climbing shoe won't be able to form around the hold and may even shatter.

That lack of elasticity in your calluses is likely from under hydration and is causing your skin to split. 

But honestly, theres a super simple solution to this issue. Skin hydration! 

You need a climbing specific hand balm that contains beeswax like Bomber Climbing Balm

First of all, it's gotta be a climbing specific product, ain’t no Aveeno gonna help ya out here bud! You need a product that is meant for tough hands that you want to keep tough. Not a product meant to make your poor rough elbows as smooth as a baby’s bottom. 

Secondly, beeswax is a magical ingredient that acts as a humectant which seals in moisture to help make your calluses supple but doesn't actually get rid of them. Some beeswax heavy products that are sold as a ‘puck’ can make your hands feel sticky or tacky, but since Bomber goes lighter on the beeswax, you still get enough of the goodness to do the job, but not too much that your hands feel like they’re covered in chapstick.

The best practice for tough, firm calluses is to apply Bomber Climbing Balm daily. This will bring moisture and life back into your hands. Since Bomber is non greasy, you can even apply it up to an hour before climbing and don't run the risk of slipping off the holds.

Too Little Callus

Now, this one is a little more self explanatory, but still sucks! Your might be new to climbing, coming back to climbing after a year of quarantine, or have naturally clammy mitts that just cannot develop calluses to save your life!

But don’t fret, Bomber can help ya out too! With this, we’ve gotta treat this issue from both sides. 

First, lets get you some more callus! Ease yourself back into climbing, don’t push your skin too much but be patient. Eventually your calluses will blossom into the beautiful climbing hands you’ve always dreamed of. 

And for the second approach, while you are building your calluses, you need Bomber Intense Repair to heal your skin issues at the same time. Intense repair is packed with super cool herbs that are used specifically to heal wounds, promote skin growth, and toughen skin. Herbs have been used to treat diseases for thousands of years, you might even recognize this one called Plantain (not the banana...) that loves to grow in sidewalk crack,s and is awesome at healing skin.

The best way to use Intense Repair is to apply it to your open cuts or split tips 3 times daily for several days as your skin heals. The herbs need some time to work their magic, but magic indeed will happen if you’re patient!


I hope I was able to help clarify a few things about split tips for you. Just remember, give your hands some love and credit, you put them through a lot while you climb.

Keep crushing!

Maya