I have awful skin on my hands. It sweats a lot, gets moist and soft, then tears easily when climbing. When I’m on a long trip I end up in the same horrible cycle. First my fingertips wear off, the skin gets super thin, and then they get close to splitting (or split, depending on how careful I am). After that, I’m forced to take a rest day or two and my finger tips heal back into a rock hard callus. I get excited about how hard and solid my skin is, then I go out climbing and rip the callus off to reveal baby-soft, pink flesh beneath and the cycle begins again.
I’ve tried a lot of things to make my skin grow back perfectly overnight and the truth is; nothing short of a breakthrough in stem cell research is going to make cuts and abrasions heal in just a few hours. Part of the reason a climber’s skin splits is because of how dry it gets. Who else would stand out in the baking desert sun, in a 0% humidity environment, and then willingly and obsessively rub chalk on their hands to dry them out even more? Maintenance is the key to keeping good skin on your fingers. You’ve got to take care of your skin and moisturize it after a day of chalk immersion.
Joshua Tree Skin Care is a small company that was born near the harsh desert environment of Joshua Tree, California. J-Tree is famous for being one of the sharpest and most abrasive places to climb in the world! The granite rock is comprised of millions of large crystals that thrash both shoe rubber and skin. The founders of Joshua Tree Skin Care created an array of products to address the needs of outdoor recreationists that were subjecting themselves to that environment daily. They sent a few products to DPM for a test run.
Joshua Tree Healing Salve: This is the foundation product of the company and the one that started it all. It’s for your hands. I’ve known many crack climbers that swear by it. After a long day of jamming hand cracks in Indian Creek, you’re going to have some gobies on the backs of your hands. This stuff rubs on and immediately soothes the pain. It’s has more of a ‘waxy’ consistency than a lotion and stays put for longer. Don’t put this on and then plan to immediately type away on your keyboard. My personal experience with it: It keeps my fingertip calluses from forming up too hard. If I rub it on at night before bed I think it helps skin to grow without drying out and getting too hard. That said, it doesn’t ruin the good calluses I have. By morning, of course, there is no trace left and my skin feels ‘normal’ but definitely less dry.
All the ingredients in J-tree Healing Salve are natural and organic including beeswax and a variety of essential oils extracted from organic herbs. Click here for the complete ingredients and more info on Joshua Tree Healing Salve.
Joshua Tree Lip Balm: All J-Tree lip balms are made from a base of cocoa butter and beeswax. They come in a variety of different flavors and some offer sun protection. I personally preferred the ‘healing mint.’ I let my wife try out the lip balms from the ‘desert shimmer’ line-up. The ‘desert shimmer’ lip balms offer SPF 10 sun protection and also add a little ‘sparkle and shine’ to your lips. It is important for hardened, dirtbag, manly-men to realize this before you apply and then traipse around Camp 4 with a subtle ‘lip-gloss’ look…unless you’re into that. My wife liked the ‘Nolina’ best because it “smelled good.” Click here for info on the lip balms.
Joshua Tree Sun Stick: J-Tree sun stick is kind of like ‘chap stick’ for your face. It comes in the shape of a little deodorant and you can rub it on. It’s clear and has a pleasant beeswax smell. This product also has sun protection but at a higher level: SPF 33. J-Tree advertises that the product is sweat proof, water proof, and freeze proof. Great for climbing in the desert sun and wind, surfing, or skiing. I can’t lie though, we weren’t able to test this product. We live in West Virginia and the sun hasn’t come out for a long time. It’s been rainy and sunburned faces have not been a problem recently. Try this one out yourself and leave a comment on it for us! More info on Joshua Tree Sun Stick here.
Overall, I get the sense that these products are manufactured with great care. Nearly every ingredient is organic and all natural so if you’re into keeping chemicals off your body, that will be a huge selling point. J-Tree also has a long list of testimonials by pro-athletes on their website. Click here for some persuasive testimonials by top notch climbers like: Alex Johnson, Jeremy Collins, Leslie Timms, and Karissa Dunbar.