Looking after hands that lift

One of the things that surprised me when I started lifting heavy stuff on a regular basis was the toll that it took on my hands. I have relatively sensitive skin on my hands to start with and occasionally suffer with mild contact dermatitis, but I was not prepared for the rough patches, callouses and chafing that sometimes occur.

Some people recommend wearing gloves but I think they interfere with grip and long term aren’t a great idea. Someone once told me that I’d learn to embrace the callouses and even become proud of them. In some ways I have, but I still like to try and keep them under control.

I’m not someone who spends a lot of money on fancy lotions and potions. I use Kiehls Ultimate Strength Hand Salve as my regular hand cream to keep my hands hydrated but it soon became apparent that unless I started to do more for my hands they were going to end up in a bit of a state.

20150820_064324I noticed that I got a particularly bad callous and sometimes a bit of pinching at the bottom of the finger where I wear my engagement and wedding rings. I’m not keen on taking my rings off each time I lift so I’ve invested in a Ring Cozy which protects my jewelry but also reduces the pinching at the same time. It’s been an absolute godsend and definitely worth the shipping costs from the USA.




I was recently sent a Carnation Hard Skin Remover Pen, which is made for dealing with hard skin on feet but I have found does a pretty good job of softening up the callouses as well. The pen allows you to put the product just on the areas that need it – it’s small enough not to take up too much space in my gym bag.





Did you know that a side effect of Olympic Lifting, well any prolonged use of the barbell can be cracked and even split skin? I didn’t, but I sure do now. One way to stop this is to tape up the affected area but once it’s happened it’s pretty painful and my regular hand cream didn’t really help at all.


small_20141114124329_58b2f7e47c51788b7e20267d227bbc09Enter What Skin Needs Cracked Skin Cream. A product made for cracked skin on heels, elbows or knees. I was sent some to try out and it turns out that it does quite well with cracked skin on the hands too. It contains the patented active ingredient Plantolin® which according to the What Skin Needs website has proven anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to soothe, re-hydrate and repair rough, dry and damaged skin.


small_20141114124814_63878e6e8f123cc5d65341af8e248fbbI was also sent some What Skin Needs Skin Soothing Gel which claims to be great for soothing sun burn. It’s pretty doubtful that I’ll get to test out that claim during the British Winter but it’s also supposed to be good for windburn – that’s a more likely issue for me to encounter in the next few months!




The effects of the barbell and other heavy weights on my skin may be difficult to avoid but at least help is at hand!

I was sent the Carnation Hard Skin Remover Pen and the What Skin Needs products for free. All opinions callouses and cracked skin are my own. 







3 thoughts

  1. Hey Becca – Might sound like a complete idiot here, but how do you find chalk on your hands? I know a couple of guys in my old gym used to use it. Admittedly I wasn’t oly lifting. I used to just file callouses down (attractive, right?) and moisturize loads. E45 cream works wonders!

    1. Hey – yes chalk is good for helping with grip but it doesn’t stop the chafing and cracked skin unfortunately. I’ve heard of people filing callouses down – perhaps I’ll add that in if they get bad. Not tried E45 – good shout!

      1. Ah I see. Thanks 🙂 I knew about grip but no idea if it made any difference to callouses. Good luck!

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