Skin care and incontinence
It is vital to take care of your skin when you experience leaks from your bladder or bowel.
Urine and faeces are both factors that can affect the skin’s health.
To ensure healthy skin, care must be taken when cleansing and moisturising that the appropriate products are used to prevent damage. If damage does occur to the skin, it can take a long time to heal and recover.
It is important to wash the skin as soon as possible after any leakage and especially if this is from the bowel. When washing the skin, warm water and a non-scented, non-medicated soap should be used or a no rinse skin cleansing foam. Scented and medicated soaps strip our natural defences from the skin that protect from harm. It is also advisable to pat the skin dry, as opposed to rubbing vigorously, ensuring the skin is completely dry before replacing underwear and/or continence product.
If you are using a cream in this area, advice should be sought from your GP, nurse or pharmacist. Only water based barrier creams should be used, oil based barrier creams are not advised as they interfere with the performance of continence products. Only small amounts of cream should be used at any one time. It is also not advisable to use talc in this area as it can become clogged in the groin causing further irritation and again interferes with the performance of continence products.
The risk of skin damage is reduced by using a continence product that actively draws the urine away from the skin and locks it inside the absorbent core. This includes wearing the most appropriate product and underwear to help prevent leakage, reduce odour and increase discretion.
If the product that you are wearing has an adhesive strip, please wear within close-fitting underwear. This will provide optimum fit helping to ensure urine is locked into the product and does not leak on to underwear potentially causing the urine to sit close to the skin.
If the product does not have an adhesive strip, HARTMANN recommend fixation pants which hold the product in the right place and help prevent leakage so the that risk of urine sitting on the skin for any length of time is reduced.
In the case of bowel leakage, the continence product should be changed immediately. No continence product is designed to absorb faeces and contact of faeces on the skin increases the risk of soreness, incontinence associated dermatitis and other related skin conditions.
If you require further assistance with skin care for yourself or someone you are caring for, please consult your GP or nurse.