Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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On my recent great white shark adventure aboard the M/V Nautilus Explorer, I was asked to "demo" a new product named WaterGlide™, which is a skin (pump) spray used to facilitate entry into a wetsuit. The major components are a silicone gel and a silicone copolymer. It also has a small amount of cyclomethicone. It contains no alcohol. All of the ingredients are completely inert and hypoallergenic.

According to the manufacturer, High Desert Pharmaceutics, Inc., WaterGlide™ is a multi-sport topical skin lubricant designed to aid the donning and removal of all types of wet suits, dry suits and associated accessories. It is advertised to prolong the usable life of neoprene, latex and other synthetic and natural rubber. It is also advertised to eliminate chafing, abrasion, and uncomfortable rashes on the skin.

I used the product, which most definitely gave my skin a dry, yet extremely slippery sensation. I applied it to my feet, lower legs, hands and arms. It was a tremendous help for me in donning a tight, dry wetsuit. However, it was not nearly as helpful when I used it and attempted to don a wet (and therefore much more "sticky") wetsuit, which was necessary between shark cage entries when I came to the surface to briefly warm up, then re-donned my wetsuit for a repeat entry into the water. I don't believe that WaterGlide™ is really intended for that purpose, so this observation is not a criticism.

I used WaterGlide™ on three successive days for my first entry into the water. Each day, I was underwater for at least 6 hours, and on one day for nearly 8 hours. During the course of those days, I was wearing a full wetsuit with hood the entire time I was underwater. I didn't suffer skin rashes or chafe anywhere that I applied the product. It's not possible to say whether or not the application of WaterGlide™ contributed to that good fortune, but it's worth noting.

Given the difficulty that I usually have pulling on my tightly fitted wetsuits, and the quite noticeable improvement in ease of donning the suit when using WaterGlide™, I intend to continue using the product, and can recommend it to others.

photo by Peter Riekstins

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.