What Is It?
I always like to start these reviews with what the company in question thinks they’re selling, whether or not I agree. So the RIPT skin system is largely described as a tool to repair, less for maintenance work or daily care.
RIPT Skin Systems has been specifically designed to repair your skin – fast. Broken skin on the hands (or anywhere) means potential downtime. Your hands are the tools you use to dominate your sport. RIPT’s 3 Phase Skin Reinforcement System gets you back in action as fast as possible.
More accurately, it’s a grind stone, and two tubes of balm, “Daily Dose” and “Quick Fix”. I don’t want to spend a lot of time going through all the ingredients in the tubes, but they can be found on the RIPT website. It actually reads more like a supplement than a hand balm, but is not that dissimilar to other balm products for workouts. I should also note, that despite the daunting ingredient list, it’s technically all natural, like you could eat the tube and be fine, so don’t be concerned with chemicals or medication. As an aside – you can also eat a tub of vaseline and be fine, but the results aren’t pretty so proceed at your own risk there…
A Bit About Skin
This section is probably a perplexing amount of detail for most, but I was curious how bad a rip actually is, and what level of rip should be concerning and what is more common place.
Let’s first start with what skin is, I’m sure you remember from middle school that skin is technically your bodies largest organ, and that its comprised of multiple layers, and its pretty important for keeping your body protected. That’s about all I remembered too. For the most part skin is 2-3mm thick, with added thickness provided by calluses, which we’ll return to shortly. Skin is comprised of 3 main layers, epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. Ideally you should never see your hypodermis.
The epidermis is what we are mostly going to focus on, because thats the outermost layer that gets the bulk of our attention. It has no blood vessels, so if you start bleeding, you’re into dermis. The top 25-30 layers of the epidermis are all dead cells, so most tears are somewhere between this dead tissue, built up callus, and maybe a little epidermis. The dermis is a layer of skin beneath the epidermis thats strongly connected to the lowest layer of the epidermis, it contains hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels. The worst tears we see, are down to the dermis layer. I’m not going to touch on hypodermis, because that’s not a tear, thats a cut, and you should see a doctor, and probably a psychiatrist…
So that’s skin, but what about calluses? Calluses are toughed areas of skin built up by repeated friction. Most normal people actually end up with calluses on their feet due to poorly constructed shoes, poor foot mechanics, or repetitive tasks (like long rucks in big boots). As all Crossfitter’s know though, we mainly get them on our hands. The purpose of a callus from the bodies perspective is simply to provide more/tougher layers to resist constant friction/pressure and protect the epidermis/dermis from harm. The problem most of us come to is that calluses while tough, end up being somewhat brittle, in that when one goes, it all goes at once. That’s where a lot of these products come into play, keeping calluses manageable and malleable/leathery plays a huge role in avoiding rips and maintaining healthy hands.
How Does It Work
It’s really a pretty simple thing. Maintaining hands is all about keeping callus’s intact but under control. Letting a callus get needlessly large is just giving it more opportunity to catch under friction and rip, like a long scarf in a convertible, it’s only a matter of time. Most hand care regimes will focus on trimming calluses, there are many tools for this pumice stones, callus shavers, or even just a pair of scissors or Xacto knife. One of several of these might be your ideal solution. Personally I use a pumice stone and an Xacto knife.
The second phase of hand care is keeping your hands hydrated, and keeping the callus leathery. I know most people don’t consider “leathery” hands something desirable, but when the other option is ripped, bloody, and wrapped in bandages at work, leathery starts to sound a bit more appealing. I think the biggest mistake people make is assuming big calluses and dry “man” hands are something to be desired, as a sign of “hard work”. Personally I’ll let the rest of my body speak for how hard I work, not the palms of my hands. The balms and lotions are the best for this second bit, ideally you want something that will hydrate and hold in moisture. Re-establishing a moisture barrier after a tear is a big step in allowing healing to begin. Similar to the first step, hydration has many options as well; balms, lotions and creams are plentiful in just about any drug store. I’ve tried several options, and the ones marketed specifically to Crossfiters tend to be my favorite, though in a pinch, REI does carry some rock climbing centered balms that do the job just fine.
The idea then is to finish your workout, get rid of the dead/excess callus. Then hydrate and replenish the live skin that remains. Over time the callus that remains becomes stronger and longer lasting.
Healthy happy hands!
- Inexpensive ($22 for 2 months of happy hands)
- All Inclusive Package
- Designed for Crossfit in mind
- Grind Stone doesn’t last as long as balms
- Mainly purposed around rips rather than prevention
- No mention of grips to avoid rips entirely
I had to clamor for some Con’s here, there really aren’t many. RIPT has nice inclusive package with a grind stone, and two balms for ~$20. I’m pretty sure there are just balms that are just that much. Yes the grind stone wears pretty quickly, but it does a great job on my hands. The whole kits lasted me about 2 months with semi-consistent use and in that time I didn’t tear once. I should also note though that I do wear tape or gymnastics grips most workouts, so being smart about what you’re attempting plays a big role in this equation as well. Further, I never used the product as a rip repair tool, but for prevention it works beautifully. I really can’t find much wrong with this product.
To purchase a RIPT and try it yourself – click here
Overall Rating: 96/100 A