Avoiding Skin Breakdown When Incontinent
Fecal and urinary incontinence can contribute to skin breakdown, from erythema to pressure ulcers, and more. The reasons incontinence causes skin damage and breakdown is that it leads to a change (usually an increase) in the pH of the skin, excessive hydration, and increased irritation due to friction.
When the pH of the skin changes, the skin becomes more susceptible to irritation, redness, and conditions such as ulcers. If the skin is not dry, due to incontinence, the individual has a much higher risk for developing skin problems. This is especially true for older adults, as they have a thinner epidermal layer, and produce less sebum than those with younger skin. And, those who are incontinent need their skin to be cleaned with a mild soap. The act of cleaning the skin can cause friction leading to further skin breakdown.
As you can see, prolonged exposure to urine or stool causes skin breakdown, putting incontinent individuals in a higher risk category for skin problems. But what can be done to prevent and treat skin breakdown? The best method is to clean, protect, and treat the skin.
Clean: The skin should be cleaned every time an absorbent product is changed, not just when there is fecal matter present. It is important to clean the skin with a pH balanced cleanser. It will help keep the skin healthier. Specially formulated cleansers will not only help the skin’s pH to stay where it should, but they will also aid individuals and caregivers in more easily removing urine and stool. Thus leading to less friction, and healthier skin. Regular soap and water should not be used. It can lead to drying out the skin, and further irritation. Try gently cleaning the skin with a Lantiseptic pH balanced cleanser – Lantiseptic Perineal Wash Spray or Foamer.
Prevention: The next step after cleaning and letting the skin air dry is to prevent further skin damage or future skin damage by applying a protective barrier ointment. Doing so will help the skin to maintain integrity, and remain healthy, by shielding it from bacteria, wetness, and more. A great option for preventing skin damage is Lantiseptic Daily Care Skin Protectant.
Treat: Treating the skin is also important, especially if the skin is already compromised, or skin breakdown has occurred. A zinc oxide based ointment will help to treat the skin, and protect it from wetness and further breakdown. Lantiseptic Multipurpose Skin Ointment is a great option.
As you can see, Lantiseptic provides a line of products to help clean, protect, and treat the skin. Learn more about the Lantiseptic line of products.
Skin breakdown is uncomfortable, and a hassle for both caregivers and the individual sufferer. Choosing the right incontinence products, regular changes, and good skin care regimen are all key to avoiding skin breakdown in an incontinent individual. In order to find the right products for your needs, consider using this handy Incontinence Product Finder, which makes sorting through the over 600 options, fast, easy, and convenient.