Channel Grease

LeadhyenaLeadhyena Member
edited August 2 in Beginner Questions
So last night I mixed up my first batch of channel grease, and from what I read on the internet, there were varying opinions on what the proportions should be between petroleum jelly, lanolin, and zinc oxide. Tried a mix of (by weight) 2 parts zinc oxide, 7 parts lanolin, and 3 parts petroleum jelly judged solely on desired SPF of next day's swim and consistency. Seems like the formula worked really well for a 6-hour swim in warmer water, but I had a heck of a time getting the stuff off. The only thing that seemed to work was dishwasher detergent. Will this mean that for my swim in late August (colder water) I need to bring dish soap or is there a better alternative? Maybe a different mix?

Comments

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 2013
    Leadhyena said:

    Tried a mix of (by weight) 2 parts zinc oxide, 7 parts lanolin, and 3 parts petroleum jelly

    @david_barra famously suggested a 10/50/50 formula, see here:

    http://www.marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/comment/819#Comment_819

    Because 110% is better than 100%, right? ;)
    DanSimonelliHelbe
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited July 2013

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • Dishwashing liquid is the best thing I've found, regardless of % mix. Once thing yiou can do is put a washing cloth liberally coated with dishwashing liquid & warm water in a tupperware box or tied plastic bag to clean afterwards. Or just have post-swim clothes that it doesn't matter if they get greasy. I prefer channel grease even for 2 hour swims, so I have a few older t-shirts on rotation for post-swim until I get home for a shower.
  • thanks for the links! very helpful. I won't scorch too badly if I drop the ZnO2 to 9%? (the 50/50/10 mix)
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    Leadhyena said:

    thanks for the links! very helpful. I won't scorch too badly if I drop the ZnO2 to 9%? (the 50/50/10 mix)

    It's unclear from your posting but are you using your Channel Grease mix as your primary sun protection?

    You only really need to use grease on whatever your personal "hotspots" for chafing are (e.g. for me that would be armpits, groin, neck), so you typically would be using a separate sun protection strategy. Having Zinc Oxide in the grease isn't going to hurt, but whatever you use for sun protection for the non chafing parts can also be applied to the chafing parts.

    If you are covering yourself entirely in channel grease + Zinc Oxide mix you are going to very very messy.

    Also worth mentioning that you can actually apply more grease while in the water, so you don't necessarily have to go overboard getting it on ahead of time.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • mmeadmmead Charter Member
    My personal opinion on the practice of greasing the entire body.........

    It has only a placebo effect on heat retention.

    Its messy and destroys suits, towels, goggles, and boaters hate cleaning it off their boats.

    In the event of an emergency it makes it very difficult to get a swimmer out of the water.

    I have found that a moderate amount of vaseline is enough to get me through anything 20 miles or shorter.
  • Good points, both of you... I did discover that it was incredibly messy. My concern with sun protection was that my sunscreen was dying about 2 hours into my practice swims (and Brighton Beach has been unforgiving in sun coverage this year). I've been quite okay with Vaseline only on 5k and under swims, but the longer practice swims I've done have scorched my body, save for this last practice swim, where I did an entire body grease. It didn't come off the entire swim, and after some consultation that may have to do with the excess amount of ZnO I used. Heck, the stuff is still on my skin in some places after two showers with dishwashing detergent. But I didn't burn at all!
    I am concerned now about the mess to be made on the boat taking me over... and that's a really good reason to back off (especially since 1/2 of the swim will be at night). And mmead, you are right in that it didn't provide any heat retention at all, but with the water around 70 this time of year, I really couldn't tell. Furthermore I'm concerned with ZnO possibly getting in muscous membranes where it's absorbed (not sure about TiO2).
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Leadhyena said:

    My concern with sun protection was that my sunscreen was dying about 2 hours into my practice swims

    Try SolRx. There's also a version with zinc oxide.
  • In regards to getting it off, as people have mentioned, dish soap is the best way to get it off. When I worked underground in a coal mine, we had to shower with dishsoap, otherwise, we just wouldn't get clean. The dishsoap worked incredibly well.
  • bcobbbcobb Member
    I have found that shampoo works well on grease and sunscreen. You have to leave it on for a few minutes.
  • megrenmegren Member
    I've been planning to use channel grease hoping that it would reduce jellyfish stings since safe sea wears off quickly and channel grease doesn't - I figured it would block some nematocysts from firing... It seemed to help in my practice swims as my worst stings were on my forearms where there's the most friction and the grease wore off sooner. I plan to try re-applying in the water on my forearms. Might that work?
    Or is it just my imagination that it minimizes stings?
    -M
  • mlkma1mlkma1 Member

    Apologize if this question has a a prior discussion elsewhere (could not locate one). What suggestions and recommendations are there for grease or other products to apply prior to a swim?

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    evmo

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • mlkma1mlkma1 Member

    Thanks for the info. Where do I find channel grease or is it homemade?

  • Homemade proportions according to personal taste.

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember

    Firstly the "Channel Grease" formula that used to be supplied and used is 90% lanolin + 10% Vaseline -- heat gently and stir together (do not overheat, just enough to allow the two to be mixed together). Defrost setting on the microwave is one method. You can use any % mix you want that suits your needs and trials.

    When applying get a helper with latex gloves to cover the places required liberally but do not overdo it as in 16°c , or there abouts the lanolin tends to go hard and form lumps which cling to the body hairs, or are washed off. Removal usually requires getting dressed in old clothes (including a hoody of some sorts for the neck and head) to allow the body to warm up then finding and standing in a shower with a scrapper of some sorts and a large bottle of washing up liquid. It may take 2 or 3 applications to make any inroads. Finish with a shower gel with a strong perfumed additive.

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • mmead said: My personal opinion on the practice of greasing the entire body.........

    It has only a placebo effect on heat retention.

    Its messy and destroys suits, towels, goggles, and boaters hate cleaning it off their boats.

    In the event of an emergency it makes it very difficult to get a swimmer out of the water.

    I have found that a moderate amount of vaseline is enough to get me through anything 20 miles or shorter.

    Agree 100%. Greasing ip is highly overrated. Spend the time to train in cold water is the only way to defeat it when it matters.

    LeadhyenaJenAMvG
  • mlkma1mlkma1 Member

    Thanks for all responses. Very helpful.

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    @mlkma1, I would say that something like grease is beneficial if you, like me, rash up. My pits and inner thigh rash up something fierce. I get what my wife and I lovingly call "baby butt cream," aka Desitin. I slather it in my pits, inner thighs, some on my neck, and it takes care of the problem.

    Now if you're thinking grease for heat retention, then see above. ;)

  • swimmer25k

    Agree 100%. Greasing up is highly overrated. Spend the time to train in cold water is the only way to defeat it when it matters.

    I use Bag Balm, but I'm not under the illusion that it retains any heat. I am fairly prone to chafing, even sometimes for a long pool workout, so i apply fairly liberally, but only to areas that are prone to chafing (armpits, shoulders because of my chin, groin because of my suit)

  • timsroot said:

    swimmer25k

    Agree 100%. Greasing up is highly overrated. Spend the time to train in cold water is the only way to defeat it when it matters.

    I use Bag Balm, but I'm not under the illusion that it retains any heat. I am fairly prone to chafing, even sometimes for a long pool workout, so i apply fairly liberally, but only to areas that are prone to chafing (armpits, shoulders because of my chin, groin because of my suit)

    Sport Slick is my choice for chafing protection.

  • swimmer25k said: Sport Slick is my choice for chafing protection.

    Hadn't heard of that before. The Mission 5 hour stuff I sometimes use in the pool doesn't come in a roll on fashion anymore, which I find unfortunate, and body glide doesn't last very long. How long does this stuff stay on?

    I may have to experiment with this in the coming weeks/months.

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