Incontinence can lead to a lot of health issues, but did you know it can also affect your skin? There are several ways in which being incontinent can make your skin more vulnerable to problems.
Keep reading to learn more about how incontinence affects the skin care tips for preventing and treating this condition.
How Incontinence Affects the Skin
One of the most important functions of the skin is to act as a physical barrier against the outside environment. If you suffer from incontinence, exposure to liquids too long is one of the most common causes of skin break down.
Human skin has an acidic pH to help protect the body from germs and harmful substances. Bacteria that are normally present on the skin can change urine to ammonia. This makes the skin surface more alkaline, making the skin susceptible to irritation and infection.
Maceration can occur when the skin has been exposed to liquid or moisture for too long. The skin becomes wrinkled and soggy, damaging the skin barrier.
How Can You Protect the Skin?
Some medications increase the risk of skin breakdown from incontinence. Antibiotic medications may cause diarrhea that is particularly damaging to the skin. Long-term use of steroids can cause the skin to become thinner and less able to heal.
Incontinence of bowel and bladder is especially dangerous for the skin. Stool contains enzymes that damage the skin barrier, especially liquid bowel movements.
Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis (IAD) can develop if skin is exposed to urine and/or stool for long periods of time. The skin becomes red and inflamed, sometimes with blisters. IAD can be very uncomfortable so it is important to keep the skin clean and dry.
Skin Care Products
It is important to clean the skin with a gentle cleanser after each episode of incontinence. Regular soaps are too alkaline and can damage the skin barrier. Disposable wipes have a soft texture and are better than washcloths for cleaning the skin.
Perineal cleansers are moisturizing, non-irritating and pH balanced. No-rinse cleansers are convenient and leave a protective barrier on the skin.
Moisturizers and Barrier Creams
Barrier creams should be applied after cleaning to prevent urine and stool from coming into direct contact with the skin. A thin layer of cream should be applied after each episode of incontinence. Zinc oxide is a common moisture barrier that can also help soothe red, irritated skin.
Lanolin is a fatty substance from sheep’s wool that can be used as a skin barrier. Some people are allergic to lanolin and it should not be applied to blistered areas. Talcum powder and baby powder should be avoided. They can cause skin irritation when the powder cakes and accumulates in skin folds.
A healthy diet with plenty of liquids is important to help protect the skin. Well hydrated skin is better able to protect itself. Concentrated urine is especially damaging to the skin.
People who wet the bed at night should drink plenty of liquids during the daytime and restrict fluid intake in the evening.
One of the best ways to protect your skin from incontinence is to keep the skin dry. Disposable incontinence products contain polymers that absorb fluids and wick them away from the skin.
Linens and incontinence pads should be changed frequently to prevent skin breakdown. Reusable cloth incontinence pads should not be used with air mattresses as the pressure protection is lost. Breathable disposable underpads should be used instead.
Having healthy beautiful skin is important for everyone. However having incontinence can mean that you need to take additional steps to protect your skin. You’ll be glad you do.
If you or a loved one is incontinent, just know your skin can be protected with proper treatment. It is important to speak with your doctor to prescribe you proper treatment for your incontinence. At SaniSnooze, we offer the best waterproof incontinence mattress options and accessories for every age group and incontinence issue.
Our SaniSnooze customer support team is here to help guide you through your incontinence solutions. Please call (844) 510-0100 if you have any questions or concerns.